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25 Oct 2019

Grain SA celebrates South Africa’s distinguished grain producers with the announcement of the 2019 Grain Producer of the Year

Grain SA celebrated the successes of its grain producers during a prestigious gala event, held at Birchwood Hotel on Friday, 25 October 2019. Honouring the achievements of fellow South Africans who have excelled in the art of growing grain crops, the event, now in its 20th year, once again proved that hope, inspiration and faith – above all, still resonates with every farmer in South Africa as the organisation showcased the art of grain farming. Attended by the who’s who in agriculture, the gala awards acknowledge grain farmer’s perseverance and strength of purpose.

The Grain Awards give recognition to grain producers who farm with excellence. South African agriculture has many facets and farming in the 21st century is more than a career, more than a science. It is truly an art. 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 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 2019 Grain SA/Syngenta Grain Producer of the Year was awarded to Haasjeskop Boerdery from Caledon in the Western Cape run by Tonie Linde and Willem (Willie) Beukes. Tonie studied BCom Accounting and after gaining some business experience, returned to the farm with a big picture perspective on the strategies required to run a modern farming operation. Willie Beukes, who joined the team at Haasjekop Boerdery in 2005, is in charge of the daily operations at the farm, which allows Tonie time to focus on the strategic planning for the business and to attend to his responsibilities as partner in a local accounting firm. Clearly marked roles and solid relationships with expert advisors, Tonie and Willie have sustainably grown their dynamic grain and livestock operation.

They plant wheat, barley, canola and Lucerne on approximately 2 950ha dryland, with just about 1,5% under irrigation. Their 12-year rotation system entails seven years of cash crops, and five years of lucerne. This combination allows for a healthy feedline to their sheep and cattle. Their integrated approach to farming, drew an increased focus on soil health and biodiversity, collecting data on the impact of stimulating microbial life in the soil – with a belief that this will pave the way to an increase of yield average of up to 25% in a natural, sustainable way. Their livestock comprise commercial sheep for wool- and meat production. For Tonie & Willie diversification remains important, they dislike being stuck in a rut, are wary of too smooth a path, but live by a truth that Tonie learned from his father; it's not about the people who can open doors for you, but about decisions you take that closes the least doors for you.

The other finalist in this category were Bernard Rabe from Raby Boerdery in Fochville, North West.

The 2019 Grain SA/ABSA/John Deere Financial New Era Commercial Farmer of the Year was awarded to Andries van der Poll from the farm Kliptdrift in the Riebeek West area, Western Cape. Andries, this year’s worthy recipient of a brand new John Deere 5075E MFWD tractor sponsored by John Deere Financial, started his farming career in 2012 attaining a government lease on the farm with his wife Jacky. They farm on 450ha of which 300 ha can be cultivated. Apart from wheat and Lucerne, they plant maize under irrigation and farm with livestock. Future plans include diversification, whilst ensuring job creation in the community. The other finalists in this category were Paulus Mapota Mosia vrom Edenville in the Free State, and Alfreda Stephanie Mars, from Moorreesburg in the Western Cape.

The 2019 Grain SA/Bayer Potential Commercial Farmer of the Year was awarded to Sabatha Ewart Mthethwa from Dannhauser in KwaZulu-Natal. Having to take up the responsibility of the farm, following the passing of their father, Sabatha and his two siblings plant maize and dry beans and farm with livestock. Planting 250ha of maize they plan to enlarge the farming operation by processing produces on the farm. Now in its third year, this category recognises farmers who plant on more than 35ha and produce less than 250 tons. The other finalist in this category was Elias Mtimkulu from Harrismith in the Free State.

The 2019 Grain SA Smallholder Farmer of the Year was awarded to Mdumiseni Welcome Hadebe from Winterton in KwaZulu-Natal. He started farming in 2014 on 2jha and has since increased his maize production to 4ha – managing harvests of eight tons per hectare. Placing high value on training received from the Farmer Development programme, he believes applying what he has learned has provided many solutions to his problems as a farmer. This category recognises farmers cultivating 3 ha to 35 ha of land. The other finalists in this category were Zamokwakhe Nathaniel Khoza from Bergville in KwaZulu-Natal and Bheki Isaia Mabuza from Piet Retief in Mpumalanga.

The 2019 Grain SA/ABSA/John Deere Financial Subsistence Farmer of the Year was awarded to Mazonya Elijah Dhlamini from Volksrust in Louwsburg. Mazonya planted 2 ha of maize and switched to no-till farming practices, decreasing his diesel expenses substansially. Ascribing his success to good management and keeping an eye on fertilisaiton as well as weed and pet control, he has plans to grow his farming business with leaps and bounds. The other finalists in this category were Amos Mfaniseni Kubeka from Oshoek in Mpumalanga and Velile Madikizela from Bizana in the Eastern Cape.

In addition to these awards, Grain SA also used the opportunity to honour Dr René Uys and Harry van der Merwe, directors of Thinking Fusion AFRICA and the facilitators of the very successful Grain Academy, with the 2019 Grain SA Inspiration Award. They were honoured for their leadership in establishing a platform giving many remarkable South Africans the opportunity to tell their stories of empowerment and land reform successes, to the world. The Grain Academy is programme, with an exclusive focus on leadership, equips young leaders in agriculture to lead, think and behave differently in order to make a profound difference in their enterprises and communities as well as in organised agriculture.


Issued by:
Grain SA Communications

Further enquiries:
Alzena Gomes, Public Relations Officer
086 004 7246 | alzena@grainsa.co.za