ESHOWE sugarcane farmer, Simon D’Aubrey has been announced as the winner of the 2019 Kwanalu Young Farmer of the Year award for 2019.
The competition is open to farmers under the age of 40, male or female who are full members of their province’s agricultural unions.
D’Aubrey, the third consecutive generation of his family to farm on Arcadia Estate in Entumeni in Eshowe, joined the family farming business in 2013, and today is the sole director and is a 33% shareholder in the property company, a 100% shareholder in the operational company and is responsible for all farm operations of both Arcadia Estate and his other neighbouring farms. He holds a B-Tech Degree in Agriculture and a Degree in Property Development, with Honours in Construction Management.
Describing himself as “not your typical farmer”, D’Aubrey has travelled extensively and worked in many places around the world before settling, at the age of 32, on the farm he grew up on, together with his wife Emily and their twin daughters.
Ninety percent of his farming enterprise is sugarcane, with eight percent dedicated to timber, and one percent to contracting and bottled water, firewood and cash crops on fallow lands respectively. D’Aubrey is currently working on diversifying the business’ income stream away from sugarcane to alternate crops. He also runs an indigenous tree nursery together with his brother on the farm.
“The challenge, and the goal as a farmer today, is to remain relevant, while maintaining positive cash flows and ensuring bank balances remain healthy. Pending a cannabis licence to grow hemp for CBD oil, we are ready to plant our first hemp crop.