Hard work results in best year ever for farmers, despite drought, says CMW manager
Passion and hard work was rewarded at the weekend when a number of mohair producers walked away with top honours at the OVK Livestock and Fibre gala dinner and prize giving.
The region’s top mohair producers came together at the Lake de la Vie conference centre where agricultural services provider OVK, in association with Cape Mohair and Wool (CMW), honoured standout producers of the fibre.
Cradock farmer Wentzel Lombard’s 20 ton mohair production not only secured him the title of largest producer of the season but also made him the largest producer in the past 20 years.
“I am truly humbled by this award. This was only possible through grace and the support of my family,” the owner of Waterval Farm said after receiving the award.
“This award is not about me. This award is about promoting the product and showing the world what an amazing product we are producing here in South Africa.
“We hope word spreads, and we hope to increase the production demand so that the industry can keep growing.
His wife, Lanie, said her husband’s passion and love for his animals and mohair was the secret behind his success.
Despite challenging conditions and persistent drought, Lombard produced record figures. Some experts at the gala dinner estimated that had conditions been better, Lombard could possibly have produced an additional six tons.
Van Hasselt Farming, from the Prince Albert region, was also honoured for setting a world record auction price for a single bale of mohair.
Gay van Hasselt, who took the reins of their family operation after her husband, Clive, died nine years ago, also achieved third place in the Ermenegildo Zegna Mohair Award last month, honouring summer kid mohair of exceptional quality.
After receiving her award on Friday night, Van Hasselt said this record-setting price was a tribute to the foundation her husband had laid in their family business, as well as a sign of things to come as their son, Jordi, takes a more active role in their mohair production.
“I was stunned when our mohair sold at such an unbelievable price,” she said.
“This was the first year since my husband passed that we really put in a conscious effort at the Zegna Awards, and to be honoured twice is amazing.
“It is an amazing feeling to see the other people recognising the hard work we put into this business, and we are truly humbled and thankful for their support.”
Boksfontein Farming, near Murraysburg, was awarded for the season’s best average clip price, at R262 a kilogram, while Monethi Ramakalima, from Lesotho, received the award for the largest mohair trader of the season.
CMW mohair manager Pierre van der Vyver said the awards were a tribute to the passion and hard work of mohair producers across the country.
“Earlier when I said this was our best year ever, someone reminded me that I said the same thing last year,” he said.
“But we are working with an incredible group of people who are pushing this industry, which just keeps improving, to new heights every year.”