Farmer’s Weekly sets the bar high


Farmer’s Weekly staff members excelled on the world agricultural stage in 2019, scooping a number of prestigious local and international awards for quality journalism.

Denene Erasmus and Lindi Botha

FW editor Denene Erasmus (right) and FW freelance journalist Lindi Botha.

Denene Erasmus, Farmer’s Weekly editor, received the inaugural International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) and Alltech international Award for Leadership in Agricultural Journalism. This award recognises excellence and leadership by young journalists across the globe, and is an outstanding achievement.

Denene was announced the winner of the award during ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference in Lexington Kentucky, in the USA recently.

Denene has been an agricultural journalist since 2009, and has won numerous international and national awards for her reporting on the farming and agribusiness sector in Africa, including the Agricultural Writers South Africa/Agri Securitas Agricultural Journalist of the Year award in 2012 and 2014, and the IFAJ/Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism Award in 2013.

A joint effort

Lindi Botha, a freelance journalist for Farmer’s Weekly, won the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists’ Star Prize for Print Journalism for her article, ‘Growing Tomorrow’s Farmers: A Win-Win for a Top Fruit Producer and a Community’ (FW, 3 August 2018). According to IFAJ, this award recognises the best article of the year among journalists in IFAJ member countries.

Lindi’s article focused on the co-operation between one of South Africa’s largest subtropical fruit producers and the community, and proves that land reform can be a success when all stakeholders work together.

Lindi’s article was described by the judges as “a brilliant presentation” and “insightful, well-written and

She also received second prize for the Bayer Technical Writer of the Year.

The personal touch

FW - Sabrina award

FW senior journalist Sabrina Dean accepting her award.

Sabrina Dean, a senior journalist at Farmer’s Weekly, won the regional award for the Vodacom Journalist of the Year award for her article on the impact of the drought on farmers in the central Free State.

There is often much focus on the financial impact of the drought, but few articles focus on the emotional impact of drought. Sabrina’s article, ‘Face to face with the drought in the Free State’ (FW, 15 March 2019), looked into this in detail, and turned an article about the practical and technical effect of the drought into a story about its emotional impact on hardworking farmers and their families.

Winning battles one story at a time

Lloyd Phillips, a senior journalist at Farmer’s Weekly, won the CropLife South Africa/Agricultural Writers SA Best Crop Protection Article for his feature, ‘How to win the fight against the eldana sugar cane pest’ (FW, 28 September 2018).

Eldana has had a major negative effect on the yield and quality of sugar cane crops in South Africa.

In his article, Lloyd spoke to Dr Des Conlong, senior entomologist at the South African Sugarcane Research Institute, about how farmers can reduce the impact of this pest on their crops. He also explained the cost impact of the pest, as well as ongoing trials and experimentation into limiting the effect of eldana.

Lloyd also received second place in the FNB/Agricultural Writers SA Communicator of the Year Award for a series of articles he wrote on sustainable agriculture.