Sakkie van Zyl was awarded the coveted 2014 Agri SA Toyota Young Farmer of the Year award. Van Zyl was handed the keys to a Toyota Hilux 2.5D-4D at an awards ceremony held in Johannesburg on 31 October 2014.
Van Zyl was chosen as the derived winner through a gruelling process of regional competitions, where he was chosen as the North West regional finalist. Further to that all regional finalists compete against each other in the national competition which included finalists from all provinces.
“We would like to congratulate Mr van Zyl on his achievement and for winning this coveted award. We are proud of you and all the finalists for their contribution to South Africa. Toyota aims to award young farmers for their business acumen, marketing strategies and above all their tenacity and passion for this industry. Toyota South Africa’s roots are firmly placed in the Agriculture industry and this award is our way of saying thank you for the continued support,” said Glenn Crompton, Vice President of Marketing, Toyota South Africa Motors.
In winning the award, van Zyl successfully competed against finalists from all other provinces in South Africa. Finalists were nominated based on their performance in their respective region, and were subject to the rule that they 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.
Sakkie van Zyl farms in the Wolmaranstad region with maize, sunflower, groundnuts and commercial beef cattle and sheep. Van Zyl holds a BSc Agriculture degree in Animal Science and an MSc Agriculture degree in Agricultural Economics, both Cum Laude, from the University of Pretoria. Van Zyl started his career working for Grain SA and Syngenta before farming fulltime.
Van Zyl is very active in his community and the industry. He is actively participates in organisations such as the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP), the Syngenta Grain Academy at the UFS School of Business, his local agricultural farmer union/association and study group, commodity organisations and with the local farm security and fire committees. Van Zyl’s business strategies are creative and effective and are set to overcome the limitations and challenges of the industry.
“The calibre of farmers for this competition rises every year. We understand the challenges that the Agriculture industry faces and applaud your perseverance and resilience. These qualities make all farmers very important not only to Toyota but South Africa as well. We are proud to be associated with this competition and look forward to continue our support,” added Crompton.
The evaluations were done by a panel of well-known agricultural specialists. They are 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.
Van Zyl was awarded a Toyota Hilux 2.5D-4D Single Cab as his prize. The vehicle is worth over R300 000 and will be fitted with accessories to the value of R18 000.
“Sakkie van Zyl is a positive and energetic person, with a passion for what he is doing and for the people around him. His responsibilities within the farming business are clear, and his involvement in the community is extensive. Notwithstanding the fact that Sakkie is still implementing and adapting his business philosophy, he is regarded as an outstanding young farmer of whom the South African farming community can be very proud,” concludes Prof van der Westhuizen
The other finalists in the Young Farmer of the Year competition nominations were:
Northern Cape: Kolver Mulke is the 2014 Northern Cape Young Farmer candidate and farms with maize, groundnuts, potatoes, onions, seed onions and wheat under irrigation in the Plooysburg area.
Gauteng: Paul du Plessis farms with maize, cattle, sugar beans and soy beans in the Heidelberg area.
Mpumalanga: Charles Hodsdon farms with stud & commercial cattle, maize, wheat and soy beans in the Volksrust area.
Limpopo: Zander Ernst farms with bananas and avocados in the Tzaneen area.
Free State: Boeboe Louw farms with irrigation & dryland maize, wheat, lucerne, sunflower, sheep and cattle in the Wesselsbron area.
Eastern Cape: Boertjie Nel farms with citrus in the Kirkwood area.
Western Cape: Jaco du Toit farms with table grapes in the Hex River Valley.