A senior manager of Agri-Expo has been elected as a trustee to the board of the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (RASC). Breyton Milford (33) is the second member of Agri-Expo, and one of only two persons from Africa, to serve on the board.
Milford, operations manager of Agri-Expo and chairperson of the National Agricultural Youth Society, has been a member of the RASC’s Next Generation forum for agricultural leaders younger than 40 years, since 2008. Only two seats on the board are allocated to Next Generation members, a position Milford was appointed to during the RASC’s annual general meeting on 10 Junie 2019 in Trinity, Jersey, the Channel Islands.
Promoting a positive image of SA agriculture
According to Milford, he is the first Next Generation member from Africa to serve on the board of trustees. He gives Agri-Expo the credit: “Agri-Expo, as an RASC member, has been developing this platform constantly for longer than a decade in order to promote a positive image of South African agriculture internationally.”
Milford follows in the footsteps of Johan Ehlers, chief executive officer of Agri-Expo, who was elected as a trustee to the board in 2017. Milford and Ehlers currently are the only two trustees from Africa.
Ehlers says the RASC is the sole voice of agriculture in the commonwealth. “The RASC works closely with the Commonwealth Secretariat and its associated bodies. The organisation represents about 60 agricultural societies, research institutions and agricultural associations from more than 20 commonwealth countries.”
Africa members of the RASC are from Botswana, Cameroon, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, Uganda and Mauritius, with Agri-Expo and the Royal Show in Natal the only members from South Africa. Agri-Expo is the trademark of Cape of Good Hope Agricultural Society, which was founded in 1831 and is the oldest agricultural society in South Africa.
Ehlers says the RASC creates valuable opportunities for international cooperation in agriculture. “Agri-Expo already hosted the first Next Generation Support and Understanding Mission to South Africa in 2018. Milford was the leader of this mission to South Africa with the theme ‘bridging the gap between emerging and commercial farmers’.”
Global recognition for SA agriculture
The commonwealth’s biennial agriculture conference is, according to Ehlers, the RASC’s main platform. Both Milford and Ehlers were speakers at the most recent conference in November 2018, in Edmonton, Canada. The 29th congress will be held at the end of June 2020 in Norwich, Norfolk, England and the 30th Congress from 13 to 18 November 2022 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).
Dr Ivan Meyer, Western Cape minister of agriculture, says Agri-Expo’s appointment as host of the commonwealth’s 30th agriculture conference in 2022 – the first in Cape Town – creates an ideal opportunity to focus the world on South African agriculture. “I am very proud of Milford’s appointment as a RASC trustee as this means South Africa’s agricultural community is internationally recognised for their contribution, passion and commitment to our agriculture.” – Press release, Agri-Expo