Agri Kultuur December / Desember 2018 - Page 46

National Farmer of the Year 2018: Pieter Graaff Brian Berknam A t a gala event held in Stellenbosch on Friday evening, November 16, 2018 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 were Bayer, Santam Agriculture, Sanlam and Rovic Leers. The three national winners are: The 2018 National Farmer of the Year is Pieter Graaff, a farmer from Ceres in the Western Cape. The 2018 New Entrant into Commercial Agriculture is Leonard Mavhugu, a farmer from the former Ciskei region of the Eastern Cape. The 2018 Agriculturist of the Year is Wandile Sihlobo, an agricultural economist from Gauteng. Annually, the Agricultural Writers SA acknowledge outstanding achievements of commercial farmers, new entrants into commercial agriculture, and agriculturists. One of the aims of these awards is to give prominence to the role that farmers and agriculturists play in the agricultural sector in South Africa. It is also important to note that the award recipients also impact on the broader economy of the country and the southern African region. This year’s candidates were: Agriculturist of the Year • Gauteng – Wandile Sihlobo • Limpopo – Frits van Oudtshoorn • Mpumalanga – Johann du Preez • Western Cape – Prof. Eugene Cloete New Entrant into Commercial Agriculture • Eastern Cape – Leonard Mavhugu • Gauteng – Mbali Nkabinde • Western Cape – Wayne Mansfield AgriKultuur |AgriCulture Farmer of the Year • KwaZulu-Natal – Joseph Baynes Estate (Pty) Ltd (Myles van Deventer) • Limpopo – Mahela Boerdery (Edward Vorster & seuns) • North West – Johan Styger • Western Cape – Pieter Graaff “Every day we are met with the challenge of feeding a growing world population. With these awards, Agricultural Writers SA acknowledges the role that farmers and agriculturists play in the agricultural sector and in addressing food security. I am sure, that although we will not hear the words, future generations will thank you for your contributions and efforts to create an enabling environment that facilitated growth, success and food security in our lovely country,” said Magda du Toit, chairperson of the Agricultural Writers SA. “The ultimate measure of a person is not what they do in moments of comfort and convenience, but rather what they do during times of challenge and crisis. That shows resilience and that is the match that ignites hope, excellence, innovation and forward thinking. And that is what all our regional winners managed to do.” The 2018 Farmer of the Year in the Western Cape and National Farmer of the Year Pieter Graaff took over the farming business, Witzenberg Properties, just outside Ceres from his father Dr Jan Graaff, in 1984. Under his leadership five farming units were added to the original farm resulting in better productivity and an increase in the total turnover and profit. Pieter Graaff also expanded his farming business vertically into the complete value chain. 46