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Plaas Media hosted its second Veeplaas Climate-smart Ambassador project this year. This follows a successful first round in 2022 in which well-known farmer, James Faber, was announced the first ambassador. This project is presented in collaboration with specialist agricultural consultant, Dr Louis du Pisani, an expert in the field of veld, grazing, livestock and agricultural economics.
The purpose of the Veeplaas Climate-smart Ambassador project is to identify livestock producers who implement climate-smart farming practices on their farms. They should also be passionate about the conservation of their land and resources. In addition, these are individuals who are willing to impart their knowledge to other livestock producers who share the same passion for conservation, and to teach them how to implement these practices.
Entries and finalists
To enter, participants had to complete a questionnaire on www.agriorbit.com that considers six focus areas: veld management, herd management, the management of bare areas, erosion and bush encroachment, drought management, financial management, and knowledge regarding climate change. The questionnaire was revised after the 2022 project and additional questions were added to place more emphasis on grazing systems and veld management,
Nine climate-smart livestock producers entered the 2023 project. They are Zippo Lamprecht, Casper Slabbert, Brendan Kingwill, Joe van Wyk, Pierre Thirion, Piet Roux, Lochner Eksteen, Gerrit van Zyl and Matthys Grobler. Of the nine entries, three were announced as finalists: Piet Roux, a farmer in the Prieska area in the Northern Cape, Matthys Grobler, a crop farmer with a livestock component on the farm, and Gerrit van Zyl, a well-known and respected Bonsmara farmer.
Dr du Pisani visited the three finalists in May and June, and was accompanied by Plaas Media journalists, Izak Hofmeyr (editor of Stockfarm), and Koos du Pisanie (Northern Cape regional representative). During the farm visits, the marks were revised, information verified, more questions asked, and Dr du Pisani took an in-depth look at their veld, soil, herds and farming practices. The final marks were verified by himself, Lynette Louw, CEO of Plaas Media, and Prof Frikkie Maré, editor of Veeplaas.
Hofmeyr conducted interviews with Matthys Grobler and Gerrit van Zyl, and Koos du Pisanie spoke to Piet Roux. To watch these interviews, click on the button below.
And the 2023 winner is …
After many kilometres, discussions and verification of the marks, it is an honour for Plaas Media to announce the 2023 Veeplaas Climate-smart Ambassador. Congratulations to Piet Roux of the farm Biega in the Prieska area. Piet is a well-known farmer in the agricultural sector and has been farming for many years. His veld knowledge, and especially his drought management practices, are such that other producers have a lot to learn from him.
Read the September issue of Veeplaas to find out more about Piet’s drought management strategy. Watch the announcement of the winner here:
The farmer’s day
A farmer’s day will be held on Piet’s farm later this year during which he and other experts will address climate-smart farming practices. Dr du Pisani will give some feedback on this year’s entries and finalists. Part of this day will include a field visit, led by Piet and Dr du Pisani. The project’s sponsors will also be there to network with producers. Keep an eye on the press for more information about the day.
This year Plaas Media received the support of three sponsors. Two of the sponsors, Zoetis and Nedbank, were already involved in 2022. Elanco joined the sponsor line-up this year. Plaas Media thanks these sponsors for their support without which the project would not have been possible.
Feel free to watch some Farm TV interviews conducted with sponsor representatives in which they explain their involvement in and commitment to climate change and climate-smart farming practices. Click on the button below to visit the Farm TV YouTube channel.
Contact: Deidré Louw, marketing co-ordinator, for more information about the project, sponsorship opportunities and 2024 entries.