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2019 winners of Agricultural Writers SA’s Farmer, Agriculturist and New Entrant to Commercial Agriculture awards

Photo credit: Helenus Kruger

South Africa’s top contributors to agriculture have been recognised at the Agricultural Writers SA Awards. The event, sponsored by Bayer, Rovic Leers, Santam Agri and Sanlam gives recognition to the work of those that seek to elevate food security and rural economies.

Nick Serfontein from the Free State has been named the Farmer of the Year, Buks Nel from the Western Cape is the Agriculturalist of the Year and Dirk Louw from the Northern Cape is the New Entrant to Commercial Agriculture Award winner.

Speaking at the gala event held in Pretoria on 15 November, Agricultural Writers SA chairperson Liza Bohlmann congratulated the winners and said that the awards recipients were not only recognised for excellence in their respective fields, but for their outstanding
leadership in agriculture. “We are proud to be associated with you and thank you for your
dedication to this higher calling that is agriculture.”

“This evening is about more than celebrating excellence. It is also to acknowledge the vital role agriculture plays in every human’s life. Our very existence as a species relies on the expertise, grit and determination of big and small farmers as well as farm workers to remain in agriculture and to do so successfully.

“We also acknowledge the role of the men and women nominated as agriculturist of the year. With their support and knowledge, this battle against the odds can continue. It is our members’ privilege to report on the stories of these heroes of agriculture.”

THE CANDIDATES:

Nick Serfontein – Agricultural Writers SA Farmer of the Year 2019
Headed up by Nick Serfontein, the Sernick Group is a diversified agricultural business that owns the whole value chain, from farm to fork. They are based in Edenville and Kroonstad in the Free State and farming operations include a Bonsmara stud, feed factory, feedlot and a deboning facility.

The Group provides employment to 615 people and the economic impact of their activities is estimated to be R2,37 billion per annum. Serfontein has been appointed to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s advisory panel on land reform.

Dirk Louw – Agricultural Writers SA New Entrant to Commercial Agriculture 2019
Dirk Louw manages his farming enterprise, Silver Moon Investments, in the district of Groblershoop. He was awarded Raisins SA’s Upcoming Farmer of the Year award last year.

Currently Louw farms on 68ha of which 21ha is rented. His farming enterprise comprises of 30ha dry grape vineyards, 1ha of wine grape vineyards, 24ha pecan nut trees and 14ha of interchangeable crops. He also farms with Dorpers and Meatmasters. He strongest farming enterprise is raisins, and Louw had a record harvest of 200t this year. Most of his raisin harvest is exported to the Middle East.

Buks Nel – Agricultural Writers SA Agriculturalist of the Year 2019
Although Buks is an industry and globally recognised expert on Integrated Pest Management, he went on to focus on new and improved cultivar development at Tru-Cape. At present he is the New Variety Specialist at Tru-Cape, where he has worked since its inception in 2001.

After many years of walking orchards, Buks received the Plant Breeder’s Rights for the improved Gala and Fuji strains, Bigbucks and Fuji Royal.

While looking ahead to the new, he has also made an enormous contribution to finding and preserving old apple and pear varieties – including heading the search (with Tru-Cape colleague Henk Griessel) for the first recorded apple at the Cape.

JOURNALIST AND COMMUNICATOR AWARDS:

During the event members of the Agricultural Writers SA were honoured for their role in communicating issues of interest to the agricultural sector and aiding in responsible communication of the sector.

The winners of the respective categories are:

CropLife SA Crop Protection Article Award:
Lloyd Phillips

FNB Communicator of the Year Award:
1. Werner Scholtz
2. Lloyd Phillips
3. Charl van Rooyen

BKB Photo Competition:
Agricultural Photographer of the Year: Charl van Rooyen
Agricultural Photo of the Year: Johan Norval

Bayer Technical Article Award:
1. Petru Fourie
2. Lindi Botha
3. Ursula Human

Santam Agriculture Farmer of the Year Best Coverage Award:
Johan van der Merwe

Agricultural Writers SA Provincial Winners

On October 18 both regions of the Agricultural Writers SA announced their provincial winners for Farmer of the Year, Agriculturist of the Year and New Entrant to Commercial Farming.

The !Xhariep Region (Western, Northern and Eastern Cape) and Northern Region (Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Northwest, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and Free State) hosted two spectacular events to announce these candidates for the national award ceremony 15 November 2019.

NORTHERN REGION WINNERS

Farmer of the Year

  • Tom van Rooyen (North West)
  • Alan & Jill Whyte (Limpopo)
  • Nick Serfontein (Free State)
  • Simeon & Jarren Hurwitz (Mpumalanga)

Agriculturist of the Year

  • Prof. Esté Van Marle-Köster (North West)
  • Prof. Juaneé Cilliers (North West)
  • Dr. Merida Roets (KwaZulu-Natal)
  • Dr. Antonie Geyer (Free State)

New Entrant to Commercial Farming of the Year

  • Khulile Mahlalela (Mpumalanga)

 

Back: Dr. Antonie Geyer, Kobus Steenekamp (Bayer), Tom van Rooyen, Simeon Hurwitz, Jarren Hurwitz and Nick Serfontein
Front: Prof. Esté Van Marle-Köster, Magda du Toit (on behalf of prof. Juaneé Cilliers), Khulile Mahlalela, Lindi Botha (on behalf of Alan & Jill Whyte) and dr. Merida Roets.

!XHARIEP REGION WINNERS

Farmer of the Year

  • Francis Visagie (Northern Cape)
  • Mark Harris (Eastern Cape)

Agriculturist of the Year

  • Willem van der Aarde (Northern Cape)
  • Buks Nel (Western Cape)

New Entrant to Commercial Farming of the Year

  • Dirk Louw (Northern Cape)
  • Andries van der Poll (Western Cape)

 

 

Back: Daneel Rossouw (Nedbank), Koos Nel (Old Mutual) and Andries van der Poll.
Front: Jacquline Kriel (Old Mutual Insure), Willem van Aarde, Dirk Louw, Mark Harris, Francis Visagie and Buks Nel.

Winners of our 2018 Farmers and Agriculturist of the year awards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At a gala event held in Stellenbosch on 16 November the Agricultural Writers SA announced the winners
of the 2018 National Farmer, New Entrant into Commercial Agriculture and Agriculturist of the Year.
The main sponsors of the event was Bayer, Santam Agriculture, Sanlam and Rovic Leers.

The three national winners are:

  1. The 2018 National Farmer of the Year is Pieter Graaff, a farmer from Ceres in the Western Cape.
  2. The 2018 New Entrant into Commercial Agriculture is Leonard Mavhugu, a farmer from the former Ciskei region of the Eastern Cape.
  3. The 2018 Agriculturist of the Year is Wandile Sihlobo, an agricultural economist from Gauteng.
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South Africa hosted the International Agricultural Conference

South Africa hosted the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists’ (IFAJ) congress in 2017.

View the video ‘South Africa is different’ which was flighted during the bid.

Click here to view the gallery

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