Entries for the 2016 Toyota Young Farmer of the Year have officially opened and KZN’s Agricultural Union, Kwanalu, is searching for an outstanding candidate to, once again, do KZN proud.

In 2015, KZN’s provincial winner, 34 year old Anthony Goble, a sugarcane, banana and macadamia nut farmer from Tongaat, beat contestants from all over the country to become the Agri SA/Toyota SA Young Farmer of the Year – a first for the province.

This year’s national competition, set to take place in October in Pretoria, will see the most promising young farmers from all nine provinces compete for the coveted title Goble holds.

Goble is encouraging KZN’s young farmers to enter the local competition as he believes it gives them a chance to review their farming practices and identify their strengths and weaknesses.

“The way the competition is structured is great and the judge’s visit is like a free consultation,” he says.

“The added bonus is a great prize and the opportunity to compete on the national stage and maybe even win a bakkie. I encourage all young farmers to enter – let’s keep the trophy in KZN!” he adds.

Young farmers under the age of 35 who are owners or partners in a farm and are full members of their provinces’ agricultural unions can enter.

The judging and evaluation of the farmers and their agricultural practices, takes place at provincial level with the applicants being evaluated on all aspects of their business including their overall vision for the future of their farm/ business.

The main feature on which the entrants are judged is their management/ business philosophy as well as the technical competence with which this philosophy is applied.

Judges who visit the farmers on their farms during the selection process also look at all facets of the farmers’ businesses from financing, budgets, investment policy, to the technical aspects of livestock breeding systems, disease control, pasture systems and plans, to the fertilization, weed control and cultivation practices of crops and orchards. Labour philosophy and housing, attitude, and reaction towards land reform and black economic empowerment, as well as personnel practices, involvement in organized agriculture and the community, and even layout and appearance of the farm and farmyard are all areas in which the potential future Young Farmer of the Year is judged.

“We encourage all of our young farmers to enter this year. They are the future of this country’s food security and should be honoured. This competition highlights the great skill and entrepreneurial spirit required to be a successful farmer and we have no doubt that in KZN, we have hundreds of potential candidates,” said Sandy La Marque, CEO of Kwanalu.

Entries for the KZN Young Farmer of the Year competition close on 29 July 2016. For more information and to enter now, visit www.kwanalu.co.za or call 033 342 9393.