LEETON brothers Frank and Sam Amato have taken out an honour recognising not just a year of hard work, but 50 years of toil.
At the second annual Lion Dairy and Drinks Grower of The Year Awards on Monday night, passionate orange growers Frank and Sam Amato were named the company’s Growers of the Year.
The brothers were recognised for their commitment to the industry over the past 50 years and their strong performance throughout the 2017-18 Valencia season.
The award recognises the highest performer of the season and was established in memory of the late John Davidson, a long-term member of the Lion Dairy and Drinks family.
It is to remember Mr Davidson’s dedication to the orange industry and to inspire current and future growers who supply the business.
Originally from the town of Cinquefrondi in the Italian region of Calabria, Frank arrived first in Australia in 1952 at the age of 19, and was followed in 1960 by brother Sam at age 23.
Both had tried their hand at growing produce in Italy with their own vegetable plots and settled quickly into the community of citrus growers in Leeton.
The brothers were self-taught, picking up the trade from locals within the Leeton area and bringing over orange and olive growers from Italy to build the skill-set within their team.
When the doors of their orchard opened in 1973 they partnered with Lion Dairy and Drinks, and have remained in partnership ever since.
Together, the brothers’ careers in the industry have spanned half a century, weathering the storms of the trade together.
“We believe that communication, hard work and dedication has been the secret behind working together for the last 54 years,” Frank said.
“It is a fantastic honour to share this award with my brother and a special way to end our careers in the industry.”
Lion Dairy and Drinks agricultural procurement director Murray Jeffrey presented the award to the pair at an awards ceremony in Leeton on Monday night.
“We wholeheartedly respect the contribution they have made to the industry and wish them well in their well-deserved retirement,” he said.
As well as spending time with family and friends, the brothers said they planned to devote more time to their beloved veggie plots and continuing to keep their passion for the outdoors alive throughout their retirement years.
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