Quirindi's Craig and Clint Charters, and Spring Ridge's Nick Beer are among the finalists for this year's Australian Cotton Industry Awards.
The Charters of Gabo Pastoral Co are one of three finalists for the AgriRisk High Achiever of the Year award but the father and son pair are no strangers to accolades, winning the Upper Namoi Cotton Growers Association's Innovator's Award in March.
Craig said they were surprised to be chosen for the Australian Cotton Industry Awards because "we're sort of quiet farmers; we don't enter a lot of things".
Their agronomist John Nott said he nominated them because "they're extremely hands-on farmers who are very innovative and they deserve to be recognised for their achievements".
Craig and Clint are sixth and seventh generation farmers who are passionate about growing high-yielding irrigated and dryland crops at "Gabo" and "Craiglea".
Seven years ago, the farmers shifted from corn and soybean crops to predominantly cotton with the aid of water injection, which has resulted in year-on-year yield increases on both properties, achieving an average of 13.5 bales per hectare across farm in 2017/2018, with a similar outlook for this year.
"When we work in the fields, we can get a feel of how we can make improvements with our techniques," Craig said.
Craig and Clint have a shared passion and talent for building bespoke machinery to suit the unique needs of their farming operations, including an on-the-go water filling system and custom planter to increase accuracy. Their work has achieved impressive results, including improved germination, yield, operational and water efficiencies on farm.
"We're always building stuff in our workshop for the farm and modifying equipment to suit," Craig said.
Together they consistently seek to improve production efficiency while employing environmentally-friendly practices including sustainable water use and prevention of soil degradation.
Nick Beer from Spring Ridge is a finalist for the ADAMA Chris Lehmann Trust Young Cotton Achiever of the Year award and said he was "surprised and excited" to make the cut.
Nick manages "Merrilong" in Spring Ridge, heads up the Upper Namoi Cotton Growers Association (CGA) and is a committee member for the bi-annual Australian Cotton Conference.
Nick has built a reputation among his peers for his enthusiasm and commitment to knowledge transfer and implementation, and identifying and forging synergistic partnerships and networks across the cotton industry and the greater community.
He said he was "surprised and excited" to make the finalist cut and is unsure of who might have nominated him.
Nick focuses on developing young people's interest in the cotton industry by encouraging their involvement in the broader industry, and facilitating their participation in the local CGA.
He said the association would start to focus more on educating people outside the industry "on what we do and how we do it".
"[The CGA] is the strongest it's been since I've been there, which is three years," Nick said.
"We've got a good group of people involved and they're passionate about the association, and the industry and ag in general."
Nick participated in the Australian Future Cotton Leaders program last year and said he "took a lot out of it".
"One of my goals to get young people more involved was to improve my public speaking. I had a few mentors after I finished the program... [and] it's come a long way from where I started," he said.
"I hope to further myself by doing more public speaking; you only get to learn by doing.
"Something the cotton industry does quite well is having programs to educate people in the industry and being able to better themselves and the people around them."
The winner for each category of the Australian Cotton Industry Awards will be announced at a gala event in Griffith on July 24.