JIS News

The National Champion Farmer Competition is one of the highlights of the annual Denbigh Agricultural and Industrial Show, which is scheduled to take place from July 30 to August 1 in May Pen, Clarendon.
Chairman of the competition, Derrick Vermont told JIS News that judging of the farms was almost complete, with only Kingston and St. Andrew still to be judged.
The Champion Farmer award is given based on a number of criteria, including the layout of the farm, quality of record keeping, efficiency, innovations in farming, capital management and marketing.
Farmers competing for the prize are grouped into categories according to the size of their properties. For example, Class A includes farms of one to 10 acres; Class B farms, 10 to 30 acres; Class C farms, 30 to 60 acres; and Class D farms, 100 acres and over. The National Champion Farmer and two runners-up are chosen from the winners of these four categories.
Any Jamaican national, male or female, may enter the competition. There is no age limit, but competitors have to own the farm or have a long-term lease on it.
There are prizes for the winners of each of these categories. The Champion Farmer will receive $60,000 and a trophy. In the different classes, first place receives $12,000; second place, $8,000, and third place, $5,000. There is also a special prize for the most innovative farm.
Mr. Vermont expressed the hope that “in years to come, someone will offer the type of money that will encourage more farmers to enter the competition. But we are trying our best”.
Corporate sponsors include Shell West Indies Ltd., Antilles Chemicals, Scotia Bank, Digicel and British West Indies Airways.
Also involved in the competition are the Commodity Boards, which sponsor sectional prizes, with first and second place receiving $12,000 and $8,000, respectively.
These are the Champion Cocoa Farmer, Champion Banana Farmer over 10 acres and under 10 acres, Champion Coffee Farmer and the Champion Pig Farmer, sponsored by Agro-Grace.
The judging team is comprised of personnel from the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and the Ministry of Agriculture. Parish judging is done by RADA’s extension officers and the JAS parish officers.

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