Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Plaas Media launched its new project, the Veeplaas Climate-Smart Ambassador, at the start of 2022. This project is presented alongside Dr Louis du Pisani, specialist agri-consultant in rangeland, livestock, and farm economics.
The purpose of the project is to identify livestock producers who implement climate-smart farming practices on their farms, and who are passionate about the conservation of their land and resources. “These are also individuals who are willing to share their knowledge,” explains Lynette Louw, chief executive officer of Plaas Media, “and who want to help other livestock producers, who share the same passion for conserving their land, to implement these climate-smart farming practices on their farms. Sharing knowledge and information is a unique and unselfish characteristic of livestock production in South Africa . We therefore view this project as a mentorship initiative, rather than a competition.”
Because climate change is such a hot topic worldwide, the first instalment of this project drew the attention of a number of agricultural companies. The 2022 project welcomed five exceptional sponsors: Metos SA, Nedbank, Nutri Feeds, Pioneer Seed, and Zoetis.
To find out more about these companies and their take on climate change and climate-smart farming practices, follow this link to watch their Farm TV interviews on YouTube. There are still more to come so be sure to keep an eye on this platform: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWJpN39Xw5Y5B_gR5JJQnruRry8SKn9-e
Entries and finalists
To enter, participants had to complete a questionnaire on www.agriorbit.com in which they had to answer various questions regarding their management practices. Six topics were covered namely veld management, herd management, the management of bare areas, erosion and bush encroachment, drought management, financial management and knowledge regarding climate change.
Eleven farmers from across South Africa entered for the 2022 project and based on the marks awarded for their answers to the questionnaire, four finalists were announced. They are James Faber, Matthew Morgan, Stefan Erasmus, and Willie Storm. Farm TV viewers and Agriorbit readers had the chance to get to know these finalists better. Follow this link for more information: https://agriorbit.com/ontmoet-die-2022-veeplaas-klimaatslim-ambassadeur-finaliste/
The two judges, Dr Louis du Pisani and Kobus Marais, visited each of the finalists on their farms to verify the information provided in the original questionnaires. The judges posed more questions and gained a deeper insight into the finalists’ veld, soil, herds, and farm management practices. The marks were adjusted based on the information gathered during the farm visits, followed by further verification and discussion by a special panel consisting of Dr du Pisani, Prof Frikkie Maré, editor of Veeplaas, and Lynette Louw, CEO of Plaas Media. And finally, the winner of this year’s project was confirmed.
Prof Maré stated that although there is only one winner, it is important to understand that each participant and finalist has a massive contribution to make, and that other livestock producers can learn a thing or two from them. “The six categories in which entries were judged, saw some participants standing out more in some categories than in others. The overall winner showed the most balance throughout all the categories, but the project’s format allows us to give recognition and exposure to each of the finalists in respect of the areas they excelled in. There are valuable lessons to be learned from them.”
Two of the finalists, James Faber from Glenn Ross Farming in Barkly-Wes and Willie Storm who farms in Olifantshoek and Postmasburg, were neck in neck and their marks differed with a mere fraction of a percentage (0,3%).
Dr du Pisani elaborated: “James fared very well in respect of herd and financial management. He also employs an exceptional record-keeping system which he uses to continuously evaluate his farming practices and to make necessary changes as and when needed. Willie stood out when it came to veld and water management, as well as managing bush encroachment. His observational skills are exceptional.
“The two other finalists, Stefan Erasmus from Middelburg in the Eastern Cape, and Matthew Morgan from Tarkastad, also received very good marks in the category for herd management. Both finalists make use of irrigated pastures to stabilise the impact of an inconsistent climate on their farming enterprises. Stefan follows an intensive reproduction programme whereas Matthew places strong emphasis on culling ewes that don’t produce well. Both finalists also put a lot of emphasis on improving the condition of their veld and how they utilise it.”
And the 2022 winner is …
After many kilometres, conversations, and verification processes, it is an honour for Plaas Media to announce its very first Veeplaas Climate-Smart Ambassador. Congratulations to James Faber of Glen Ross Farming. James is a worthy winner, and the judges were especially impressed with the manner in which his farming enterprise is managed, systems are maintained, and his ability to manage and substantiate everything through good record-keeping. Watch the announcement of the winner on Farm TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfExcpSp0gc
The farmer’s day
A farmer’s day will be held on James’s farm later this year, during which he will talk about and demonstrate the climate-smart farming practices that he implements on his farm. The project sponsors will also be there to meet with producers. Watch the press for more information. – Press release, Plaas Media
For more information on the competition, sponsorship opportunities and 2023 entries, contact Deidré Louw via email on email@example.com.