SA’s bright young farmers

Boeta, how I wish you could have attended this year’s Free State Young Farmer conference with me.

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I returned from the conference inspired. And all because of the calibre of young men and women who hold the future of SA agriculture in their hands. Seldom have I come across such a bunch of dedicated, clued-up and motivated young people.

Please don’t think that they are naïve. They know exactly what challenges they’ll have to face as commercial food producers in this country of ours. They know about the hostile political environment, about climate change, and about increasing input costs and dwindling profit margins. But they have taken a conscious decision to remain positive, to be the best farmers they can possibly be and to become creative farming business people.

Ouboet, with such exceptional ‘future farmers’, how can you and I not be positive?

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They made it clear that they will not even remotely entertain the notion of negativity. And, said their chairperson, Wessel Hatting, it is their responsibility to make friends across all political and cultural divides.

How clever is that? Wessel made it clear that the farmers of tomorrow, all of them, will have to join hands in order to take the agriculture industry forwards.

And, said Wessel, the young ’uns should not lend their ears out to all the messengers of doom who believe the days of commercial farmers are over. I was so proud of him I nearly choked up. What wisdom from such a young man!

And this positivity, motivation and innovation – these qualities are not limited to the Free State’s young farmers. I’ve dealt with young farmers in virtually all of SA’s provinces and found the majority to be plucky and daring.

The new generation fully understands that farming is a business and should be managed as such. Although they love the land, they are farming for the right reasons. Not because of some or other ‘calling’, or out of ‘sentiment, but to make money. Which is how it should be.

Nee wat Boet, we ancient ones can rest assured. The future is in good hands. May God bless them all.

Missed out on the event? Click on the link to read tweets #FSYoungFarmer

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