The first ever Old Mutual Agricultural student of the year will be announced at the ALFA dinner on 20 September 2018 during #ALFA2018 at the Afridome in Parys.

The pioneering Old Mutual Agricultural student of the year competition aims to inspire and encourage students to consider pursuing careers in the field of agriculture.

Students participated in the competition in several phases. For the first phase, a 5 000-word essay had to be written on three topics:

Livestock science: Can the South African classification system be reformed to meet modern consumer demands on beef quality or should we adopt a proven international grading system?

Crop science: Sustainable crop production – Is it possible to balance yield, quality and environmental resources?

Agricultural economics: Will South Africa derive socioeconomic benefit from the proposed land expropriation without compensation?

Qualifying participants were selected from these entrants and had to do formal presentations at several regional final rounds. From this, the finalists were selected.

These finalists are:

Name University Category
Chéri-Lynn Steyn UFS Agricultural economics
Mario van den Heever UFS Livestock science
Keshveer Singh UKZN Livestock Science
Jessica Lubisi UKZN Crop Science
Lungani Mvelase UKZN Agricultural economics
Darren Maree Stellenbosch University Crop Science
Michaela Boshoff Stellenbosch University Livestock Science
Taaibah Miller University of Pretoria Agricultural economics
Dominique Tarr University of Pretoria Livestock Science


During the nationals at ALFA, the category winners of each university will compete with each other to determine the ultimate winner in each subject category. Each participant’s essay will be judged by a panel of experts, while the participants will each present a poster exhibition and deliver a five-minute presentation. This is followed by a 15-minute interview with a panel of experts regarding the application of their essay in the industry. General and applied agricultural and subject knowledge is also assessed.

The last leg entails an unprepared debate regarding new industry techniques and will take place in front of an audience. The final winner in each of the three subject categories is the student with the highest average in the four legs of the finals. Three national winners will be crowned.

Stay up to date with the competition by keeping an eye on and following the hashtag, #OMagstudent, on social media.

ALFA 2018 takes place from 18 September to 20 September 2018 at the Afridome Showgrounds in Parys. Click here for the full programme. Click here to buy tickets.