Hamlin Stephenson, a member of the Cayman Islands Agricultural Society and owner of Hamlin’s Farm, has been awarded Farmer of the Year 2015 by the Agricultural Society.
Paul Bodden and William Chisholm tied for Livestock Farmer of the Year award.
The awards function took place on the evening of March 14 at Stacey Watler pavilion on Lottery Road, Lower Valley, where the Agricultural Society named the winners for the 48th annual Agriculture Show, which took place last month.
Speaking at the event, George Smith, president of the Agricultural Society, said the night was about awarding the farmers for all of their hard work and their contributions to Cayman. Throughout the night, 155 awards were handed out.
The Agriculture Ministry’s deputy chief officer, Leyda Nicholson-Makasare, brought greetings from Minister Kurt Tibbetts, who was unable to attend because of a prior engagement in Cayman Brac, and congratulated the farmers on their achievements.
“I was very happy to be recognized as Farmer of the Year for my efforts, but I give a lot of credit to the guys that work with me and their perseverance in trying to do their best,” said Mr. Stephenson, who also received the award for Crop Farmer of the Year.
Before coming to Cayman, Mr. Stephenson grew up on a farm in Jamaica, where he developed his love of farming watching his father grow vegetables and raise livestock and poultry.
He did not follow in his father’s footsteps right away. Instead he chose to go into construction, but his love for agriculture was always there. “I started my first garden in 1970 when I was living on Crewe Road, and in the small garden plot I would grow things like watermelon, pumpkin and gungo peas,” he said.
It would not be until 1988, after Hurricane Gilbert, when a farmers market opened in George Town that Mr. Stephenson started selling his produce. At that time, he had only one farm helper; today he has several. After retiring from his job seven years ago, he started farming fulltime.
His farm produces sweet potatoes, butternut squash, pumpkins, bananas, plantains, peppers, eggplants, lettuce, tomatoes, kale, calaloo, bok choy, arugula, avocados, mangoes, sweet sops, star apples and goat meat, all of which Mr. Stephenson sells at the Market at the Grounds, Godfrey Nixon Way and Camana Bay.
“Just by putting the seeds in the ground, the production, reaping them and seeing the satisfaction on people’s face that we provide gives me joy. I just love to farm. No matter what it is, I love to grow it,” he said.
- Hamlin Stephenson – Minister’s Award for Most Outstanding Farmer of the Year
- Paul Bodden – Livestock Farmer of the Year
- William Chisholm – Livestock Farmer of the Year
- Hamlin Stephenson – Crop Farmer of the Year
- Clifford Powery – Most Improved Livestock Farmer of the Year
- Bruce Mico – Most Improved Crop Farmer of the Year
- Geoffrey Ebanks – Champion Livestock Farmer of the Year
- Clifford Powery – Local Butcher of the Year
- Lazarus Moraes – Champion Exhibitor Crop Farmer
- Clifford Powery – Grand Champion Bull
- Smith Brothers – Grand Champion Cow
- William Chisholm – Grand Champion Buck
- Willie Chisholm – Grand Champion Doe
- Smith Brothers – Champion Exhibitor – Cattle
- Willie Chisholm – Champion Exhibitor – Goats
- Geoffrey Ebanks – Champion Exhibitor – Pigs
- Donovan Ebanks – Champion Exhibitor – Poultry
George Town – District Awards
- Elio Clarke – Pole Bending Champion – Rodeo Awards
- Elio Clarke – Barrel Racing Champion – Rodeo Awards
- John N. Lutz – Western Trail Beginner Champion 5-7 years – Rodeo Awards
- Vennessa Johnson – Western Trail Beginner Champion 8-10 years – Rodeo Award
- Kathryn Klienworth – Western Trail Beginner Champion over 10 years – Rodeo Award
- Ethan Smith – Western Trail Intermediate Champion over 10 years – Rodeo Award
- Melody Allenger – Horseman Intermediate Champion 10 years – Rodeo Award
- Jade Smith Panton – Extreme Cowboy Race Champion – Rodeo Award
- Acelia Davis – Cook-off Winner – Cooking Awards