From left to right are Riana Grobler, marketing manager at Old Mutual, Pieter Theron of Stellenbosch University, Michelle Marais and Wian Visser, both from the University of the Free State, and Albert Loubser of Plaas Media.
The University of the Free State and Stellenbosch University remain unbeaten in the Old Mutual Agricultural Student of the Year Competition.
The competition offers agricultural students across the country the opportunity of participating in their particular fields of study. The three subjects covered are agricultural economics, animal science and crop production. Industry leaders from each of these fields are invited to act as industry partners and judges during the competition. These partners are Agbiz, Grain SA and the Red Meat Producers’ Organisation (RPO). Old Mutual has been involved as the name sponsor of this Plaas Media competition since 2018 and has played an active role in promoting and developing the competition.
Five universities took part in this year’s competition. They are the University of the Free State, Stellenbosch University, the University of Fort Hare, North-West University and the University of Pretoria. Students that entered first had to compete in an initial round at their respective universities, after which eleven finalists went through to the final round held at ALFA at the Afridome in Parys. The final evaluation and a special gala dinner was held on 18 September at the expo.
And the winners are …
This year’s overall winner in the animal science section was Pieter Theron of Stellenbosch University. Two studens from the University of the Free State, Michelle Marais and Wian Visser, won the agricultural economics and crop production sections respectively.
These universities also made a clean sweep in 2018, when Darren Maree of Stellenbosch University won the crop production section, while two students from the University of the Free State, Mario van den Heever and Chéri-Lynn Steyn, took the honours in the animal sciencs and agricultural economics sections.
This year’s judges were Dr John Purchase of Agbiz, Dr Dirk Strydom of Grain SA and Gerhard Schutte of the RPO. Dr Heinz Meissner assisted with the judging of the essays. They were all very impressed with the students that participated and all agreed that the right candidates won.
The elevent finalists each won R1 000 prize money and received an Old Mutual green blazer. The three national winners each also received an Old Mutual investment portfolio worth R5 000 as well as exposure on Grootplaas and RSG Landbou and in Plaas Media’s magazines Veeplaas, Stockfarm and FarmBiz.
Watch the press for details regarding the 2020 competition, which will be announced soon.