Several excellent agricultural shows and a large number of farmers’ days are held around South Africa every year. Some of the shows include the recently concluded Nampo in Bothaville, arguably the largest agricultural show in the southern hemisphere, and the Royal Agricultural Show in Pietermaritzburg, the oldest agricultural show in the country, dating back to 1851.
When looking at farmers’ days, one must distinguish between those hosted by a single company trying to convince farmers that its specific products are the best, and the more informative ones hosted in collaboration with several partners.
One example is the FNB/Voermol/BKB Sheep Farmer of the Year farmers’ day, where I had the privilege of presenting an address recently. Hosted by the 2016 winner, Julian Southey, on Manor Holme near Middelburg in the Eastern Cape, it was attended by more than 180 farmers, some from as far afield as Vrede, more than 700km away.
The Sheep Farmer of the Year competition has three broad objectives: to recognise the important role that livestock farmers play in the sector, to gather information about the industry (on-farm information, not just guesstimates), and most importantly, to disseminate information on best practice to farmers.
SMALLER SHOWS DISAPPEARING
In the past, most smaller towns in South Africa hosted shows with a strong focus on agriculture in that region, but only a few of these still exist today. This