Farmer’s Weekly editor Denene Erasmus has been awarded the inaugural Alltech International Award for Leadership in Agricultural Journalism from the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ).
The award, presented in conjunction with animal nutrition and crop science company Alltech, recognises the journalistic achievements and leadership that agricultural journalists demonstrate within the IFAJ guilds of their respective countries.
Erasmus was nominated by Agricultural Writers South Africa.
Erasmus said she was honoured to have received this award and it represented an important milestone in her 10 years as an agricultural journalist.
She said receiving the award underscored the high standing that South African agricultural journalism enjoyed in the world.
Erasmus wrote her first agricultural article, about a Zimbabwean farmer who had lost his land due to politically motivated land reform, for Farmer’s Weekly in 2009. She had never looked back and the agricultural sector has become her passion, she said.
“Right now, I don’t think there’s any other industry that can have as far-reaching and meaningful an impact as agriculture on addressing the great problems of our century, such as climate change, food insecurity, unemployment, inequality and rapid urbanisation.”
She added that it was the job of agricultural journalists to inform the general public about the importance of the sector.
“In order to do this, we have to break through what I like to call the ‘grass ceiling’. Too often, the agricultural media is only influential amongst the limited audience of those who have a direct involvement in the industry. We must focus on taking our stories to the mainstream media.”
Erasmus has won a number of awards during her career as an agricultural journalist. This includes being chosen as one of the IFAJ Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism in 2013.