Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen encouraging residents to nominate locals for prestigious NSW Farmer of the Year and NSW Young Farmer of the Year awards

UPPER Hunter MP Michael Johnsen is encouraging local communities to nominate farmers in the electorate for the prestigious NSW Farmer of the Year and NSW Young Farmer of the Year awards.

However, applications close next week.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture said the awards were judged on the innovative tools farmers are using to prepare for the future, techniques being used to boost productivity and yields and initiatives being implemented to keep farmers, their families and their workers safe and well.

"These awards - a joint initiative of the NSW Department of Primary Industries and NSW Farmers, with the support of Safework NSW and The Land - are a chance to recognise excellence in the NSW primary industries sector, and the ingenuity and professionalism of our farmers," Mr Johnsen explained.

"The Upper Hunter is well-represented in primary industries.

"And, even in drought we are home to some of the most resilient and innovative farmers in the world.

"It's important we celebrate the achievements of our local industry leaders, so I strongly encourage people to get involved and nominate yourself or the people you admire in the sector."

The NSW Farmer of the Year Award is open to all farmers, fishers and foresters; while the NSW Young Farmer of the Year Award is open to all farmers, fishers and foresters aged 18 to 35.

Winners of each category will receive $4000, while runners up will pocket $2000.

Judges will conduct a farm visit with each of the finalists before the winners are announced at an awards ceremony in Sydney on Wednesday, December 11.

Nominations close next Monday, September 23.

For more information and, to nominate, visit www.nswfarmeroftheyear.com.au