WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
Create a good relationship with your neigbours, especially when you are new in a neighbourhood. These are the people who will help you. Also, always have a good planter and a sprayer on the farm – those are the two most important pieces of equipment for a grain farmer.
WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY IF YOU COULD?
I should have built good relationships with my neighbours and suppliers from the beginning. I made a lot of mistakes that I could have avoided by asking for help when I started farming.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR SINGLE BIGGEST SUCCESS?
Managing to get all my children involved with the farm and enjoying it. Now I have no sleepless nights about what happens when I can no longer farm.
WHAT KIND OF RELATIONSHIP DO YOU HAVE WITH NEIGHBOURING FARMERS?
I have a great relationship with my neighbours. Most of the farmers in my area, especially in Standerton, are white commercial farmers who are always helpful.
WAS IT A STRUGGLE TO GET FINANCING? DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE TO OFFER OTHERS IN A SIMILAR POSITION?
Finance is always a struggle. My advice is to keep your books clean – this attracts funding, especially from banks. Once you have a loan, make sure you pay the money back on time and build a good credit record.
WHAT ROLE HAVE INPUT SUPPLIERS PLAYED IN YOUR SUCCESS SO FAR?
My input suppliers are part of my business. I involve them in every step I take – we farm together. My chemical suppliers calibrate the chemicals for my operation. I don’t go to the company; we always meet here in the fields on my farm.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE?
Please work with real farmers. Visit farmers on their farms as often as possible. This way you’ll understand that they have unique challenges, depending on the size and type of farm. Do not spend all this time trying to figure out with your officials how you can help farmers. The farmers will tell you what they need.
HOW IMPORTANT HAS ORGANISED AGRICULTURE BEEN TO YOUR BUSINESS?
These are the most important structures in agriculture. They should be the link between farmers and stakeholders such as government.