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Surprised that Wudinna’s been crowned 2023 Ag Town of the Year?

No way!

Despite a small population of 548 residents on the Eyre Peninsula, Wudinna shines brightly in the agricultural world. Whether you’re a local or connected to the town through the ag industry, it’s easy to see why Wudinna claimed a prestigious award from the Government of South Australia and Solstice Media, celebrated at the Vale Brewing Restaurant and Bar at Beresford Estate, McLaren Flat.

Outshining finalists Bordertown and Eudunda in a tough contest, Wudinna impressed the judges with their exceptional agricultural practices from skilled dry-land farmers and strong community backing.

“The pride we feel in our town is immense,” said Wudinna Mayor Eleanor Scholz. “We’ve seen incredible resilience, from our early settlers to our present- day residents, all driven by a determination to succeed. It’s important to take a moment to reflect and celebrate our district and the hard work that defines us.”

Festivities peaked in March when Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Clare Scriven visited Wudinna to commemorate the achievement with new signage, and locals came together to celebrate. “It’s clear to see why the town is affectionately known as ‘wonderful Wudinna’, with its leadership in the agriculture sector complemented by strong community support,” Minister Scriven said.

“The town is a major service hub for the Eyre Peninsula’s agricultural sector and a significant contributor to the region’s GDP through grain and livestock production, as well as a centre for research innovation.

The Wudinna community is to be commended for its resilience, its track record of using the ‘good times’ to prepare for the ‘bad’ by putting together strategic plans and for leading from the front to leverage its natural advantages to address challenges.”

Road to victory

Local resident Megan Lister submitted the initial application for the awards, sparking incredible teamwork from the entire town to secure the win. Out of 49 nominations, a public vote narrowed it down to 11 towns — three were then visited by the judges.

“We wanted to add a little excitement to the judges’ visit, so we arranged for our local fire service to greet them and drive them into town,” Eleanor said. “The school kids lined up along the road, welcoming the fire trucks with their lights and sirens going … it set the scene for a fantastic day!”

And the announcement was even better. “Listening to the accomplishments of other towns, we were amazed, wondering how we would measure up! When Wudinna was announced, the sheer excitement and joy were indescribable! It was a moment of pure celebration for our incredible community, which always gives so generously. It’s fantastic recognition,” Eleanor reflected.

Chart Toppers - Wudinna | Ramsey Bros | Partner Mag
Photo: Supplied.
Chart Toppers - Wudinna | Ramsey Bros | Partner Mag
The Australian Farmer. Photo: Robert Lang Photography.
Photo: Bec Smart Photography
Chat Toppers | Partner Mag | Ramsey Bros
Minister Claire Scriven, Deputy Mayor Naomi Scholz, Mayor Eleanor Scholz, Megan Lister, Craig Midgley and Nicolle McKinlay. Photo: Frankie The Creative.
What puts the wonderful in ‘Wonderful Wudinna’?

Agricultural businesses are the heart of Wudinna, with a whopping 73.5 percent of exports stemming from this sector and nearly half of the workforce employed in agriculture. The town’s proactive approach to research and development, driven by farmer-led grower groups, ensures continuous innovation and relevance in agriculture.

The judges were also taken with the town’s dedication to investing in the next generation of farmers through top-notch agricultural education programs, like the outstanding school ag program, backed wholeheartedly by local farmers. But Wudinna isn’t just about agriculture; it’s a welcoming haven for both locals and visitors alike. “Wudinna is a close-knit community where newcomers quickly feel at home. Visitors are often surprised by the range of services available here, and people are drawn to our friendly atmosphere. Just look at the couple who stumbled upon Wudinna and decided to retire here; and the coffee shop, which is thriving under new ownership — it says a lot about our town.”

Efforts like Apex Park’s transformation and the greening of the highway have paid off, attracting travellers — and iconic attractions like the Australian Farmer Statue honour the rich agricultural history. Wudinna’s sports scene is thriving, and the community-owned pool is a hit with its splash pad and park. Of course, there are also natural wonders like Mt Wudinna and the captivating rock formations that add to the town’s allure.

But if you ask Mayor Scholz what really sets Wudinna apart, her answer is clear. “The people here are like nothing else. The town’s resilience shines through in how we’ve secured vital services like medical care, showing our community’s initiative and drive. Now, we’re focused on improving childcare services, driven by the determination of locals who refuse to let challenges hold us back. It’s a testament to the strength and unity of our district. And the sense of pride in what we’ve built is incredible.
There are quite a few people who’ve been successful in farming, and they are keen to invest back in and see the services keep going or grow. That’s a real highlight.”
The mayor has noticed a change in recent years with locals immersing themselves in the long-term beauty of the small town. “It used to be common for people to retire on the coast at either Tumby Bay or Port Lincoln, but we’ve noticed some are building retirement homes here in Wudinna, so they can still work with the next generation on the farms. It’s a wonderful place — a very safe place and people know and look after each other — it’s wonderful.”
Our biggest congratulations to all of our friends, family and team members in Wudinna — it’s an exciting and well-deserved honour to see your name in lights.

Chart Toppers | Partner Mag | Ramsey Bros
Photo: Bec Smart Photography.



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