Free State Young Farmer of the Year’s optimism is infectious

Free State Agriculture’s 24th Young Farmer of the Year Herman Janse van Rensburg and his wife Huibrè.

Free State Agriculture’s 24th Young Farmer of the Year Herman Janse van Rensburg and his wife Huibrè.

The unwaveringly positive attitude to life expressed by Free State Agriculture’s Young Farmer of the Year for 2019, Herman Janse van Rensburg, is infectious.

This 39 year-old farmer from Arlington, about 220km from Bloemfontein, believes the power of positivity. He says young farmers should look for opportunities locally and stop using Google for potential opportunities abroad.

Janse van Rensburg was recently named Free State Agriculture’s 24th Young Farmer winner in Bloemfontein and will represent the province at the Toyota Agri SA National Young Farmer of the Year competition later this year.

He farms with maize, sunflowers and livestock. He also runs a business, Arlington Staalwerke, where he builds farming implements. His message to young farmers is: “Think positively and have hope. Hope is very important. If you don’t have hope, there is no life.”

Receiving the award was overwhelming, he says. “To be honest, one actually feels very humbled and small. It’s a great privilege.”

He believes it is important, however, to stay humble: “I can only thank the Father up there, and my own father who gave me the opportunity to farm and carry on.”

Finalists were judged on a variety of criteria, including their future vision, budgeting and finances, production, marketing, maintenance, personnel management and community engagement.

He believes young farmers are important, because improvement must take place continuously to ensure, among other things, food security. He believes adaptability is essential. “There is a great future for every farmer in South Africa. The important thing, however, is to be positive.”

5 rapid-fire questions to Herman Janse van Rensburg

If you weren’t a farmer, what would you do? I was born a farmer. I can’t think of myself as anything else and even if I wasn’t a farmer I would still want to work in the agricultural sector.

How do you use modern technology in your day-to-day farming operations? I’m very reliant on GPS technology and we make use of mobile phones, especially when I need to contact my agri-workers while they’re busy on the farm.

South Africans are crazy about a lekka braai. What’s your top secret braai tip for Mzansi? A sheep rib on the charcoal braai on a rotisserie with Aromat, coriander and lemon juice on low heat for five hours with a lekka brandy and Coke.

Are you a two-toned, veldskoene or skinny jeans kinda young farmer? (Chuckling) I’m neither two-toned, veldskoene nor the skinny jeans type. I’m always dressed neatly, because I believe the way you dress reflects your business.

What is your vision for South Africa? I have hope for this country. We need to stay positive, think clearly and take opportunities with an open hand.

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