Beverage company Lion Dairy & Drinks recognised Australian orange growers Frank and Sam Amatos as Lion’s Growers of the Year at an awards night in Leeton on Monday.
The brothers were recognised for their commitment to the FMCG industry for over 50 years and their strong performance throughout the 2017/18 Valencia season.
“We believe that communication, hard work and dedication has been the secret behind working together for the last 54 years,” said Frank. “It is a fantastic honour to share this award with my brother and a special way to end our careers in the industry. We have been happy to partner with Lion for over 45 years and have felt supported throughout as we’ve developed and grown our business, including updating the farm with drip irrigation and introducing contract pickers.”
Frank arrived in Australia from Italy in 1952 at 19 years old and his brother, Sam, came in 1960 at 23. They opened their own orchard in 1973 which led to their partnership with the Australian drinks business. Together, their careers in the industry have spanned half a century, weathering the storms of the trade together.
Lion Dairy & Drinks Agricultural Procurement director Murray Jeffrey presented the award to Frank and Sam at the Leeton ceremony.
“It was fantastic to present Frank and Sam Amatos with this award,” he said. “It acknowledges their exceptional performance over the past season, and throughout their partnership with Lion. We wholeheartedly respect the contribution they have made to the industry and wish them well in their well-deserved retirement.”
The Lion Grower of The Year Awards was established to recognise the orange growers that partner with the beverage company to supply fruits for its juice brands including Berri Australian Grown, Daily Juice, The Juice Brothers and Nourish. It also 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 & Drinks family. The award is to remember Davidson’s dedication to the orange industry and also to inspire current and future growers who supply the business.