Every year the agricultural sector takes the time to acknowledge and celebrate the industry’s younger generation of farmers with the search for an exceptional farmer to be named the Toyota Young Farmer of the Year. The KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union, Kwanalu, has launched their hunt for a farmer under 40 years old to represent the province at the national competition, to be held in October in Pretoria.
Encouraging as many young farmers from KZN to enter, CEO Sandy La Marque said: “This competition highlights the great skills and entrepreneurial spirit required to be a successful farmer. We know we are blessed with a very high calibre of farmer in our province but this competition is more than just how much a farmer is able to produce or how pretty their farm looks. It’s about sound business acumen and strong agricultural practices among a whole range of other criteria.”
The annual contest will see the most promising young farmers from all nine provinces compete for the coveted title, currently held by Northern Cape farmer Jaco Strauss, and drive away in a brand new Toyota Hilux Single Cab vehicle.
Young farmers, under the age of 40, whether they are owners or partners in a farm, male or female and full members of their provinces’ agricultural unions are eligible for entry.
The judging and evaluation of the farmers and their agricultural practices, takes place at provincial level with the applicants being evaluated on all aspects of their business including their overall vision for the future of their farm/ business.
The main feature on which the entrants are judged is their management/ business philosophy as well as the technical competence with which this philosophy is applied. Judges, who visit the farmers on their farms during the selection process, consider all facets of the farmers’ business from financing, budgets, investment policy, to the technical aspects of livestock breeding systems, disease control, pasture systems and plans, to the fertilization, weed control and cultivation practices of crops and orchards. Labour philosophy and housing, attitude, and reaction towards land reform and black economic empowerment, as well as personnel practices, involvement in organized agriculture and the community, and even layout and appearance of the farm and farmyard are all areas in which the potential future Young Farmer of the Year is judged.
“We encourage all of our young farmers to enter this year; they are the future of this country’s food security and should be honoured. This competition highlights the great skill and entrepreneurial spirit required to be a successful farmer and we have no doubt that in KZN, we have hundreds of potential candidates,” said La Marque.
Entries for the KZN Young Farmer of the Year competition close on 31 July 2018.