Tarkastad sheep farmer Matthew Morgan has been named the Toyota Eastern Cape Young Farmer of the Year at an awards ceremony during the Agri EC annual congress in August.
Morgan (34) was up against Jaco Kotze, who farms boer goats and lucerne in the Elands River Valley, for the provincial title, which will see him representing the Eastern Cape at the national awards later this year.
Farming mainly with wool sheep and a smaller herd of Hereford beef cattle, Morgan described his win as “a great honour” and said it as “an absolute privilege” to farm in his district.
“I’m feeling very positive about where the farm is at. I run a quality sheep flock and our clean air and good ground cover enable us to produce a beautiful, clean white wool.”
Morgan said he was fortunate to be farming on land that yielded high production with great potential for further developments – if resources were managed with maximum efficiency.
“We as young farmers need to raise the bar, and be in a position to hand it over to the next generation in a better condition than what we received it in,” he said.
Morgan, who is also chairman of his local Winterberg Agricultural Association, inherited his farm, Redcliffe, from his father 10 years ago. Since then, he has grown production by developing the lands under irrigation, increased its carrying capacity through effective veld management, and lowered mortality rates through strict vermin control.
In addition, he attributed his success to the efficient work ethic of his employees and the mutual respect earned through a “firm but fair” management approach, which he said he also inherited from his father.
“When you know you are happy and enjoying what you are doing, when you are excited for Monday, that’s when you know you are in the right place!”