WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
You need to understand your farm’s environment, then you’ll know what
works and what doesn’t.
YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESS SO FAR?
Keeping farm records and my credit record spotless.
WHO HAS MADE THE BIGGEST CONTRIBUTION TO YOUR SUCCESS?
Dr Hendrik Smith. He is very persistent and keeps feeding me with information.
WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR NEIGHBOURS LIKE?
Very good. Most of them are white commercial farmers and they respect me as an equal.
THE MOST IMPORTANT MACHINERY ON YOUR FARM?
No crop farmer can do without a good planter. It’s the engine of this business. It must always be clean and in good condition and serviced regularly.
WAS FINANCING A STRUGGLE?
Yes, it is a big problem. My advice is to build and maintain a good credit record. Always service your debts. Develop and maintain a relationship with your financier at branch level. Talk to them about any issues you might be facing. Keep good records and work hard.
WHAT ROLE HAVE INPUT SUPPLIERS, LIKE SEED AND FERTILISER COMPANIES, PLAYED IN YOUR SUCCESS?
They’re very important to one’s business. They give technical advice and training, and help with soil tests. They’re the ones with all the information on the products I use, so I maintain good relations with them.
ANY ADVICE FOR THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE?
Train your staff, especially extension officers. Some are shy and lack the confidence to assist us commercial farmers. They can only work with subsistence and very small farmers. I’d encourage the minister to upskill them, as we still need their support. Funds to help us to the next level would also be welcome.
HOW IMPORTANT HAS ORGANISED AGRICULTURE, LIKE GRAIN SA, BEEN TO YOUR BUSINESS?
We have strong commodity groups in the country. By being part of structures like Grain SA, one immediately plays at the heart of the industry. You know what and how everyone is producing, and that’s how you keep abreast of the very latest developments.