For years, Toyota South Africa Motors has sponsored two coveted awards in the Agriculture industry. The Agri SA Toyota Young Farmer of the Year and Toyota New Harvest of the Year awards were presented to the winners at a gala event held in Johannesburg on 27 October 2016. Each winner drove away in a brand new Toyota Hilux. The vehicle is worth just under R400 000.
Toyota Agri SA Young Farmer of the Year
Jacques Beukes, a table grape and pears farmer from the De Doorns region of the Western Cape received the 2016 Agri SA Toyota Young Farmer of the Year award.
The competition starts with regional competitions which saw all nominated farmers put through an arduous process of evaluations. Once the regional winner – one from each province – has been chosen, they then compete against each other in the national competition.
“We would like to congratulate Mr Beukes for his outstanding performance in this year’s Young Farmer competition. Farming, as a profession, is very difficult and requires full commitment from farmers as they tackle all areas of the business including administration, sales and marketing and the complete supply chain in addition to the day-to-day running of the farm. Extraordinary businesses require extraordinary management and visionaries to elevate the business to the next level. Mr Beukes is a sterling example of exactly that,” says Kerry Roodt, General Manager of Marketing Communication at Toyota South Africa Motors.
Finalists were nominated based on their performance in their respective region. They also have to be are between 18 and 35 and must have been a member of Agri SA’s provincial organisations for at least two years. All finalists were nominated by their respective Agri SA provincial councils and were tested on a multitude of aspects, including their financial and business skills, farming skill and proficiency in management focusing specifically on their own contribution, independence and decision-making authority.
Beukes farms with table grapes and pears in the De Doorns region of the Western Cape. He has also purchased several farms in the Hex River valley area since 2012, which he has optimised to their full potential. Beukes is both technically inclined and environmentally friendly which has enabled him to install a dripper irrigation system, implement improved water control through the installation of electronic scheduling systems as well as add various energy saving mechanisms including the installation of solar geysers to all staff houses, underground drainage systems and the use of environmentally-friendly products.
Beukes regards his workforce as the foundation of his business. He is focused on their development and regularly supplements their internal training with formal training courses. He has also ensured his staff has hygienic and adequate housing, a creche situated on the farm for their children, safe transport to and from the farm for staff and some of his long-serving staff have been awarded shares in his farm and received dividends every year.
Beukes is also actively involved in organised agriculture by being the Deputy Chairperson of the Hex River Table Grape Association, the regional representative of Agri Western Cape and Chairperson of the Producers’ Forum of the Breede Valley Municipality.
“In witnessing the scientific, meticulous and professional way in which Beukes performs the functions in this farming business, he is a prime example of a farmer who is dedicated to ensuring intrinsic success and sustainable farming and profitability,” commented Prof van der Westhuizen.
The evaluations were done by a panel of well-known agricultural specialists led by Prof. Carlu van der Westhuizen, Agricultural Production Economist, Department of Agriculture and Central University of Technology; Prof John Annandale, Agronomist, Department of Plant Production and Soil Science and University of Pretoria; Prof Louw Hoffman, Distinguished Professor in Meat Science, Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Stellenbosch.
Toyota New Harvest of the Year
André Cloete, a farmer from the Overberg area in the Western Cape, won the 2016 New Harvest of the Year award. The New Harvest competition recognises the most promising young farmer from a previously disadvantaged background. All entrants are nominated by various businesses or associations in the Agricultural sector.
Cloete farms with apples, pears, oats, barley, sheep and cattle on the Klein Ezeljacht farm situated close to Greyton.
Cloete was nominated by the Western Cape branch of the African farmers’ association of South Africa.
Cloete, who has 28 years of practical farming experience, started as a farm manager until he entered into a rental agreement with the Klein Ezeljacht to farm and manage the land himself. After this change, Cloete introduced a few changes to the farm including a revised irrigation system as well as a new crop protection strategy.
The farm’s main pear varieties are Forelle and Packham’s Triumph, while the apples include Golden Delicious and Royal Gala. Through his many changes and consistent hard work, Cloete now exports his fruit through Tru-Cape and delivers fruit to Elgin Fruit Juices.
Cloete is also actively involved in the farming community and is the chairperson of the Caledon North Farmers’ Association, a Director of Deciduous Fruit Development Chamber (DFDC) and the South African Apple and Pear Producers’ Association (SAAPPA). Furthermore, he is a mentor for other upcoming farmers in the area and often looks for opportunities to employ more people and uplift their social status.
“We commend Cloete for his dedication, motivation and determination to succeed. He and so many farmers are challenged everyday by factors out of their control and instead of giving up, they rise to the challenge and feed our nation. Farming, and agriculture as whole, is a very important sector in the South African economy as it provides sustenance and contributes to the country’s GDP,” adds Roodt.
AFASA describes Cloete as “a professional farmer who understands all the different facets of business. He manages his business like a corporate business and takes great care of his product and people. He is recognised by the industry and government as a role model for other farmers.”
“We congratulate all the finalists who were nominated in both categories. That in itself is a huge achievement. We wish Jacques and Andre all the best for the future and wish them many happy journeys in their Hilux,” concludes Roodt.
The finalist list
The finalists in the Agri SA Toyota Young Farmer of the Year competition were:
KwaZulu-Natal: Neville Schefermann farms with maize, wattle timber & bark, pine timber, cattle and pastures in the Vryheid region in the KwaZulu-Natal.
Northern Cape: Vickie Bruwer farms with maize, wheat, peanuts, cotton, lucerne, beef cattle and game in the Douglas region of the Northern Cape.
Gauteng: CP Kriek runs a piggery with organic manure and pastures in the Fochville region of Gauteng.
Mpumalanga: Japie Landman farms with maize, soy beans and cattle in the Volksrust region of Mpumalanga.
Limpopo: PJ Strydom farms with citrus, wheat, soy beans and pecan nuts in the Marblehall region of Limpopo
Free State: DJ van der Linde farms with maize, sunflower and cattle in the Vierfontein region in the Free State.
Eastern Cape: Tshilidzi Matshidzula runs a dairy farm in the Alexandria region of the Eastern Cape.
North West: John Griffiths farms with maize, seed maize, popcorn, dry beans, oats, vegetables and game in the Brits region of the North West Province.
The finalists in the Toyota SA New Harvest Competition and their nominators were:
Prof. Thabo Mashihleho farms with chicken layers while running a lodge with various animals inclusive of lions, buck, zebra & sable in the Tweeling region. MJ Khunong Accountants nominated him.
Eric Ntlaba runs a piggery while also farming with beef cattle, sheep, broilers and maize in the Lindley area. He was nominated by the Agri SA Free State branch.
Buyiswa Ndyenga farms with citrus fruit in the Addo area. She was nominated by the Sundays River Citrus Company.
Patrick Cornelius farms with apples, peaches and pears in the Kareedouw area. He was nominated by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture.