JIS News

Judging in the Young Champion Farmer Competition has been completed and the adjudicators are now meeting to collate their points to decide on the winner.
Derrick Vermont, Chairman of the National Champion Farmer Competition, told JIS News, that the winner would be announced and garlanded on July 30, the first day of the Denbigh Agricultural and Industrial Show. That day has been designated Youth in Agriculture Day.
He noted that the process of judging has gone “quite well,” with the only drawback being that not every parish had a young farmer.
The Chairman has however expressed optimism for the future of farming in Jamaica, “because we have seen good farms throughout the island.”
The Young Champion Farmer Competition was introduced in 1990 to encourage young people to get involved in farming and to reward those who practice the best farming techniques. While using the same judging criteria as the National Champion Farmer contest, the competition targets farmers between the ages of 18 and 35 years of age. To be eligible, the young farmer does not necessarily have to own the farm but can have a lease on it or it can be family owned. The Young Champion Farmer receives $35,000; the second place finisher gets $20,000; while third place collects $15,000. The victor has the option of entering Class A of the National Competition.
Although persons have intimated that the cash prizes should be higher so as to encourage persons to stay on the land, Mr. Vermont pointed out that, “there is scope for the Young Champion to progress and aim to become National Champion one day.”
This is the ambition of last year’s Young Champion Farmer, Marcia Clarke, who has entered the National Champion Farmer Competition this year. She is hoping to repeat the feat she achieved last year but this time, at a higher level.
While there has been concern about whether the Denbigh Show can in fact be held this year, in light of the already very active hurricane season, Mr. Vermont assured that the show would go on. “The Denbigh spirit is alive and well,” he told JIS News.
An initiative of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), the 53rd annual Denbigh Agricultural and Industrial Show will take place from July 30 to August 1, under the theme, “Grow What We Eat, Eat What We Grow”. The main objectives of the show are to promote the agricultural sector, display the best foods produced in Jamaica by each parish and highlight the importance of agriculture to the export sector in particular and the national economy in general.
While highlighting the latest developments in agricultural technology, the Denbigh show will also demonstrate linkages with other critical sectors of the economy such as research and development, entertainment, tourism and finance.