Tarkastad sheep farmer Matthew Morgan has recently been named the Toyota Eastern Cape Young Farmer of the Year at an awards ceremony during the Agri EC annual congress.

Morgan feeling positive about his win

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.

Agri Eastern Cape president Doug Stern (right) congratulates the newly crowned EC Young Farmer of the Year, Matthew Morgan (centre), along with sponsor Toyota’s Ricky Pillay, at the Agri EC awards ceremony in Jeffreys Bay on Wednesday evening. (Image: Anneli Young)

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.”

Value adding is key

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.

“I am always trying to add value to my farm, and make it a better place for all who live there – my family, my staff, and my livestock. 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 chairperson of his local Winterberg Agricultural Association, inherited his farm, Redcliffe, from his father ten 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.

Farming is so much more than just a job

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.

“Farming has become so precise and tight that you have got to make every bit count. We work very hard to produce what we do.”

Morgan said farming was much more than a job to him, and he is involved in various community projects, such as the farmers’ association cattle project and organising the annual sheap shearing competition at the annual Tarka Agricultural Show.

“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!” – Press release, Agri Eastern Cape

Read more about day one of the Agri Eastern Cape congress by clicking here.