GYMPIE macadamia grower Les Gain has been honoured with the most prestigious award available to anyone in the Australian macadamia industry.
Mr Gain received the Norman R Greber OAM Memorial Trophy at the 2012 International Macadamia Symposium, particularly in recognition for his support and involvement in research.
"Les has always been willing to assist in research on many aspects of growing macadamias in his 20 years in the industry. While a smaller grower with 2000 trees, Les's commitment to research has been huge," Andrew Starkey, the Australian Macadamia Society chairman, said.
"Les has a reputation for developing, fostering and promoting innovation in our industry. Not only does he offer his farm for trials of both Queensland and New South Wales department horticultural researchers, he actively participates in the research collecting data, recording observations and monitoring results."
Mr Gain has been involved with projects trialling different chemicals, in the use of irrigation, innovative machinery, Huskspot control and integrated pest management.
Fellow Queenslander and AMS board member Mr Bruce Kaddatz said Mr Gain's irrigation trials represented the only definitive work in the macadamia industry making a true in-field comparison.
Researchers with NSW Department of Primary Industries, Ms Ruth Huwer and Mr Craig Maddox, said for 10 years Mr Gain had participated in the use of IPM to control fruit spotting bug and had been generous in the use of his property as a trial site and he was supportive of the research, monitoring and sampling for the government's researchers as well.
More recently, Mr Gain has had long sleepless nights, monitoring the habits and behaviour of feral pigs that have become an issue for growers in south-east Queensland.
"Les, strongly supported by his wife Jill, has quietly contributed to our industry for many years and the Norm Greber Trophy is one way for our industry to say thank you," Mr Starkey said.
The Norman R. Greber OAM Memorial Trophy is named after the pioneer of the Australian macadamia industry, Norm Greber.
Mr Greber was the first person in Australia to successfully graft macadamias, and the industry remains indebted to him for his work in plant breeding.
The trophy is constructed from macadamia wood crafted from a seedling tree grown from one of Norm's varieties that he planted more than 30 years ago.