“My first thought when I received the award was that I am neither a mega farmer, nor have I caused any agricultural upheaval. Most of the knowledge applied on my farm is that of other experts. As I am not a trained farmer, I rely on the knowledge of seed and fertiliser sellers because they know a lot more than I do,” he says humbly.
“It is thanks to them that we started experimenting with rotation, cultivars, technology and programmes which allowed us to operate a successful farming enterprise on a relatively small piece of land.”
Where it all began
Hilton is proud to be the fourth generation to farm on Zandbult, a farm of 150 ha. “The land initially belonged to my great-grandfather, who owned a large farm along the Vaal River. Over the years the farm was divided and sections were passed on to the children. Thankfully, 70% of the original farm is still in our family.”
He says neither he nor his father, Garth, had any academic knowledge of farming when they first started their enterprise. Garth was a reporter at the Diamond Fields Advertiser before he began farming in the 1980s. Hilton, who has a degree in sports management, joined his father on the farm 13 years ago.
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