Judy Rae Stuart

Ashoka Fellow
,
Fellow Since 2013
Future Farmers

Citation

This profile was prepared when Judy Rae Stuart was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2013.
The New Idea
Judy is training youth from disadvantaged backgrounds in rural areas of South Africa to become farm managers. The idea is to create rural youth employment by breaking historical barriers and stimulating farming interest in rural black youth to empower them to become competent farm managers. On the other hand, Judy also aims to solve the problem of poor farm management which is hindering production in the agricultural industry in South Africa.

Judy’s Future Farmers searches and selects aspiring individuals among rural youth and offers them an intensive apprenticeship on various farms. The idea is to train youth starting with the most menial jobs to managerial responsibilities, so they can develop a thorough understanding of how the industry works; as well as the confidence to perform as competent farm managers. The trainees may choose to train in a field aligned with their own interests. Through her vast network, Judy secures the interns a place with farmers who share her vision. Once the trainees complete two to three years in local apprenticeship, they take a compulsory 12-month internship on a farm overseas to learn new technologies and another farming culture. Upon finishing their training abroad, trainees return to take up employment as farm managers or found their own businesses as farm owners.

Through this model, Judy has managed to create a new crop of competent farm managers among people who would otherwise not have considered farming as a career; or would have simply been excluded. In just over two years the program trained 60 future farmers in the KwaZulu-Natal province, with another five undertaking internships overseas and six now working as farm managers. Judy is strengthening Future Farmers’s structure to allow for scale and has partnerships underway to spread to the Eastern and Western Cape provinces. She has also devised a licensing model to infuse her training model to other citizen organizations and agribusinesses interested in developing professional careers for youth in the agricultural sector.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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