Henna du Plessis, a vegetable farmer from the Koedoesrand district at Maasstroom in Limpopo, was declared the winner of the TLU SA/Old Mutual Insure Agri/Manitou/Mahindra Young Farmer of the Year award at TLU SA’s annual congress dinner on 18 September. He walked away with a trip to France and a generous cash prize.

A well-deserved achievement

“It was tough to decide on a winner this year,” says Bennie van Zyl, general manager of TLU SA and one of the judges. “Henna’s teamwork on the farm as well as his passion for agriculture, community involvement and his loyalty towards TLU SA makes him a worthy winner.”

33-year-old Henna, who has been farming for almost half his life, also farms with game on the farm Rockferry.

Leaving a legacy

Family is very dear to Henna and his biggest dream is to own another farm and expand his business to ensure a good life for his family. He and wife Candice recently welcomed their first child. 

“I want my legacy to be that of an honest person who is always willing to help and who wants to be involved,” he says.

Community involvement

Henna is a member of the dynamic TLU SA Young Farmer committee, which raises funds for the Trauma Fund. The committee presented more than R30 000 towards the fund at the congress.

Henna says his father is his role model, although their methods for planning differ completely. He always has a measuring tape and toolbox in his bakkie and prefers a mutton chop over a steak.

Asked what cannot be fixed with pliers and wire, his answer is quick and straightforward: “Love”.

The finalists

AJ Wohlfahrt, of Wohlfahrt Poultry near Magaliesburg in Gauteng, is the runner-up. He farms with poultry.

Lukas Eksteen from Buffelsfontein in Mokopane (Naboomspruit), Limpopo, took third place. He farms mainly Bonsmara cattle.

The other finalists were:

  • Neels and Azelle Uys from Suikerbos in Platkoppie near Heidelberg. He is a grain farmer and she farms cattle and sheep.
  • George and Stephan Cloete from the farm Holbank in Ermelo, Mpumalanga, who farm sheep, maize and soybeans.
  • Stefan Landman from Dagwacht in Groenvlei in the north of KwaZulu-Natal. He farms sheep, cattle, soya beans and maize.
  • Wynand Louw from Nooitgedacht in Limpopo in the Soutpansberg district, who farms Boran cattle and macadamia nuts.

“These young farmers fill us with hope for the future of agriculture in South Africa,” says Bennie. “The excellence displayed by all of the finalists is significant, and they thoroughly proved themselves in their respective industries.” – Press release, TLU SA