In just five days from now the Free State will crown its new Young Farmer of the Year. Five finalists have been chosen to compete for, among other prizes, a cash prize and a spot in the Toyota Agri SA National Young Farmer of the Year competition.
Vying for the honour is Annalea van Niekerk, a Reitz cattle farmer who was also nominated last year.
The Sussex breeder, who was also featured on the For the love of the land television series, hopes to make a difference in people’s lives.
Also, she feels young farmers in South Africa have a responsibility to grow the agricultural sector.
Douglas Osler, an apple farmer from Fouriesburg, believes that “what you put in, you will get out”. He is especially excited about the potential of technology to take the sector forward.
To Louis de Jager, a livestock farmer from Wepener, the role of the young farmer is incredibly important, and includes developing people in order to make agriculture sustainable.
Embrace opportunities in agriculture
For Jimmy Roberts, a livestock, arable and game farmer from Hertzogville, a positive attitude is a young farmer’s best weapon. Roberts believes that “you have to spot every opportunity and make the most of it.”
Meanwhile fifth finalist Nants Yzel, an arable farmer from Marquard, feels that young farmers must provide food, create jobs, and ensure prosperity in the countryside. He finds that young farmers bring an energy to their role that is rarely found elsewhere.
The finalists were chosen by a panel of judges under the leadership of Professor Pieter Fourie, head of Central University of Technology’s department of agriculture.
The panel, having already visited the farms of the finalists in February 2020, based their decisions on a number of criteria, including future vision, budget and finances, production, marketing, maintenance, personnel management and community involvement.
The previous winner, Herman Janse van Rensburg from Arlington, encourages young farmers to farm with passion. “If you lose your passion, you lose heart. Therefore: Do what you have to do and seize the opportunities that come your way.”
This year’s winner will be announced on Tuesday, 13 April 2021.