The prestigious Mangold Trophy has been awarded to Tshilidze “Chilli” Matshidzula, a young black dairy farmer in charge of the Little Barnet Trust on the outskirts of Alexandria.
The trophy, presented to the most well conserved farm in the Bathurst area, is one of two annual prizes awarded by the Bathurst Conservation Committee (BCC). The other is for Most Improved Farm.
Simon Matthews, chairman of the BCC, described the trophy as the “ultimate prize” and hailed Chilli as a star farmer. “He is a very impressive guy and we salute him on this fine achievement.”
Chilli was the recipient of the Most Improved Farm prize previously and was also nominated for the Young Farmer of the Year award.
A graduate of Tshwane University of Technology, he did his practical learnership on Little Barnet under the guidance of Walter Biggs.
He then came on board as a share-milker before buying out some of the trust farm’s beneficiaries and acquiring ownership in the ground.
Chilli has been a prominent member of the Alexandria Dairy Study Group for a number of years and is a member of Agri Eastern Cape.
As the winner of the award, Chilli will hold a special Farmers’ Day on Little Barnet with the assistance of the BCC. Proceeds from the day will go to supporting an agriculture student through the Jas Clacey Bursary.
Clacey introduced burning into the BCC’s programme of grass cover and conservation, thereby improving carrying capacity.
Originally started by the Department of Agriculture more than 50 years ago, the BCC is comprised of representatives from Farmers Associations’ from the Eastern Border, Bathurst West and the Lower Albany and Bathurst Border.
Despite no longer receiving assistance from the Department of Agriculture, the BCC continues to play a vital role in helping farmers with planning, legal compliance, and problems of erosion, overgrazing and weeds.