The five finalists in the Free State Agriculture’s (FSA) Young Farmer of the Year competition all believe that there is a future for agriculture in South Africa, provided you are willing to work hard and meet the challenges.
According to Prof Pieter Fourie, convener of the judges and Head of the Department of Agriculture at the Central University of Technology (CUT), the finalists are strong candidates who will battle it out to be named FSA’s 25th Young farmer of the Year. The finalists were already visited by the judging panel on their farms in February 2020. Due to the Covid pandemic, FSA was forced to postpone the nomination of the winner and the young farmers will now compete for the title on Tuesday, 13 April.
Annalea van Niekerk, a cattle farmer from Reitz, wants to make a difference in people’s lives and also give hope to other young people in agriculture. Douglas Osler, an apple farmer from Fouriesburg, believes that “what you put in, you will get out”. Jimmy Roberts, a livestock, arable and game farmer from Hertzogville, believes that “you have to spot every opportunity and make the most of it.” Louis de Jager, a livestock farmer from Wepener, believes that the role of young farmers in South Africa is the development of people in order to make agriculture sustainable. Nant Yzel, an arable farmer from Marquard, believes that the most important tasks of young farmers are to provide food, create jobs and ensure prosperity in the countryside.
According to Prof Fourie, some of the sections on which participants are judged include future vision, budget and finances, production, marketing, maintenance, personnel management and community involvement.
The winner walks away with a FSA cash prize, as well as other prizes from various sponsors, and will automatically participate in the Toyota Agri SA national Young Farmer of the Year competition.
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.”
Videos of the finalists can be viewed here