Nelius Ferreira, Free State Agriculture’s (FSA) Young Farmer of the Year for 2018 says there are many other brilliant young farmers, who are better producers than he is, who must take the reins from him and help build the image of agriculture in South Africa.

Lees dit in Afrikaans.

The Bonsmara farmer from Harrismith says it is interaction with other young farmers such as his co-finalists of last year, Hendrik Theron, Reece Dedwith and Wessel Hattingh, that gives him hope for agriculture in South Africa.

FSA is looking for the 24th winner of the prestigious competition. It was held for the first time in 1996. The organisation appeals to all young farmers, their friends and family to make sure the best candidates are finalists this year. Entries close on 31 January 2019.

The winner walks away with a cash prize from FSA, as well as other sponsored prizes, and will automatically participate in the Toyota Agri SA National Young Farmer of the Year competition.

According to Professor Pieter Fourie, convenor of the judges and Head of the Department of Agriculture at the Central University of Technology, a finalist must set an example for others in the industry, especially for young farmers.

“It is not the size of a farm or the farming practices that make a farmer win,” he says. Fourie explains that it is more about how he or she do what they do and whether they make a unique contribution. How an example is set in things like the precision of a farm, what balance there is and how the management performance looks.

Divisions on which young farmers are judged include, among other things, future vision, budget and finance, production, marketing and community engagement. The most important aspects are management philosophy and how technical skills are used to put it into action.

FSA’s Young Farmer Conference, with the theme Accessible Resources in a Modern Agricultural Environment, will be held at Monte Bello Estate in Bloemfontein on 17 April 2019, after which the Young Farmer of the Year will be announced at a gala dinner.

This year’s finalists will be visited and judged by a panel of judges early in March.

Contact Elize Spence, Admin Officer at FSA, for more information and enquiries at elize@vslandbou.co.za or 051 444 4609. Or visit FSA’s website, www.vrystaatlandbou.co.za, to download an entry form. – Press release