12 Oct 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Grain SA celebrated the cream of the crop at its annual gala awards evening, held at The Theatre on the Track in Midrand on Friday, 12 October 2018. Honouring the country’s top grain producers, this year’s awards ceremony commemorated the 19th year of the accolades and was attended by Hon Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mr Sifiso Buthelezi, together with senior governmental officials, representatives of the various agricultural Trusts, organised agriculture as well as captains of industry and the grain producing guests of honour.
The Grain Awards give recognition to grain producers who farm with excellence. In addition, the finalists serve as excellent role models to the younger generation of producers whilst the image of the grain producer is enhanced. The judges were once again faced with a difficult task as all the finalists proved to be exceptional producers with diverse management styles. The Grain Producer of the Year gives recognition to successful grain producers who manage their businesses with such passion and dedication, so as to set an example and serve as inspiration to other producers.
The 2018 Grain SA/Syngenta Grain Producer of the Year was awarded to the Van As Brothers from Swellendam in the Western Cape. Johan and Dirkie van As have been involved in the family farm, Kinko, since 1985. Both brothers have approach farming as perfectionists, with Johan mainly seeing to the finances and livestock, and Dirkie in charge of the grain production. Even so, the different legs of this successful farming operations are transparent and all future planning and purchasing decisions are discussed and decided upon, as a team. The Van As brothers cultivate canola, barley, wheat and lucerne on approximately 8,700 ha. Their livestock comprise stud and commercial sheep, with about 11 000 breeding ewes and approximately a further 10 000 sheep for a wool-meat production system. The Van As Brothers believe that agriculture is the cornerstone of the South African economy and is assured that a strong agricultural sector driven by stability, sustainability and food security, is the key to success.
The other finalists in this category were the Van Zyl Family Trust (Theo, Theo Jnr & Cobus) from Ladybrand in the Free State and the Wilken-family (Louis, Louis Jnr & Jaco) from Middelburg in the Eastern Cape.
The 2018 Grain SA/ABSA/John Deere Financial New Era Commercial Farmer of the Year was awarded to Jeremia Makhosini Mathebula from Amersfoort in Mpumalanga. Jeremia, this year’s worthy recipient of a brand new John Deere 5075 MFWD tractor sponsored by John Deere Financial, started his farming career in 2009 with a herd of twelve cattle and planting only 40 ha of arable land on which he could only achieve about 4 tons of maize/ha. He currently manages over 400 breeding cows and plants a total of 450 ha of maize and 100 ha of soybeans. Growing year by year and renting more farms to plant more maize, Jeremia excelled independently and is progressing in leaps and bounds.
The 2018 Grain SA/Bayer Potential Commercial Farmer of the Year was awarded to Paulus Mosia from Edenville in the Free State. Receiving a farm, Sterkwater, in 2008 by the DRDLR on the PLAS Programme he was able to utilise the 60ha arable land for grain production and the remaining 140ha for grazing with the help of the Grain SA Farmer Development programme. Now in its second year, this category recognises farmers with access to more than 100 hectares of arable land, but currently not able to use all the available land. Yet they are in a position to become 250 ton New Era Commercial Farmers. The other finalists in this category were Anton and President Mabaso from Bothaville in the Free State.
The 2018 Grain SA/Syngenta Smallholder Farmer of the Year was awarded to Nhlanhla Sicelo Mngadi from Estcourt in KwaZulu-Natal. Joining the Grain SA Farmer Development Programme in 2015, this entrepreneur has his eyes on commercial yields, and with his brother are slowly working towards building farming capacity, and improving not only hectares and yields but also agricultural practices and efficiency. The other finalists in this category were Mduduzi David Mnisi from Breyton in Mpumalanga.
The 2018 Grain SA/ABSA/John Deere Financial Subsistence Farmer of the Year was awarded to Jenette Thembi Shoba. Jenette started farming with maize and cattle with her late husband Simon in 1994 and truly started enjoying farming after joining her local Grain SA study group. Gaining skills and knowledge to farm more professionally an productively, Jenette managed to produce 7,5 tons of maize for the first time on 1 ha. The other finalists in this category were Amos Mfaniseni Kubheka and Elliot Njeya Siyavuya.
In addition to these awards, Grain SA also used the opportunity to honour editor-in-chief of Landbouweekblad, Chris Burgess, with 2018 Grain SA Inspiration Award. The award was presented for the ground-breaking Bela Bela Grondberaad hosted by Landbouweekblad and Agri SA in August 2018. The Inspiration Award was in appreciation of his leadership to establish a platform giving many remarkable South Africans the opportunity to tell their stories of empowerment and land reform successes, to the world.
Grain SA Communication
Jannie de Villiers, HUB, Graan SA
086 004 7246 | firstname.lastname@example.org