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A (LAST) word from… Jenny Mathews

December 2023

It’s the end of the year and for many grain farmers around the country it’s the beginning of a new cropping season. For me, it’s the end of a season!

After 18 years of involvement with Grain SA, it’s now time for me to focus on other things. My heart is full of all the rich experiences that my involvement has given me. I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to meet dedicated personnel on the Grain SAteams, who inform and champion farmers and development. 

Hard-working farmers around the country have inspired me and made me passionate about development in the agricultural sector. I’ve written reports, articles and training manuals. I’ve served as a judge for the Farmer of the Year and found it increasingly hard to choose the best of the best – because so many farmers have become very good at what they are doing. I have spoken up on matters that affect developing farmers and have even spoken to politicians with some of you to tell them what our needs are.

I have taught – but have been taught more! 

I had a poster on my classroom wall with these encouraging words: ‘Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.’ Development work is not easy. It’s often two steps forward and one step back. Too often hidden agendas, politics and greed get in the way of good things happening. Development demands change and change is hard. But change is also good, and transformation is even better!

It is time for farmers from all corners of the grain-growing community to plug in, get informed and speak up. Farmers, please use your communication channels and make sure you are heard! Speak up for Grain SA/Phahama Grain Phakama. Tell your policymakers and decisionmakers about the integrity and value of the Farmer Development Programme. Tell them who you want to partner with on the development journey! As Martin Luther King said: ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.’ 

Thank you for the opportunities to serve the grain farmers of our country. May God bless us and the work of our hands.

– Jenny Mathews served on the Farmer Development Working Group from 2005 to 2023, chairing it for seven years. Her contribution to Pula will be sorely missed. 

Publication: December 2023

Section: Pula/Imvula