Reflecting on the competition, Van der Linde commented, “It’s always good to measure yourself against other farmers. It’s good to learn, and a bit of healthy competition is a good thing. They were all dynamic guys who participated, and you can see they have a passion for farming.”
The runner-up position was secured by Nets Turvey from the Tuinplaas Farmers Association in Limpopo, while Francois Prinsloo from Stoffberg in Belfast clinched third place.
Bennie van Zyl, the general manager of TLU SA, commended all 15 semi-finalists, noting the difficulty in selecting the finalists and eventual winner after extensive travels across South Africa.
“Each of these farmers has filled our hearts with pride with their positivity, innovation, and farming expertise, and we are confident about the future with these young farmers in the industry,” he said
Van der Linde's farming journey spans 17 years on the Cyrus farm of Geelbosboerdery. Taking over from his late father, who passed away from cancer in December, he has left an indelible mark on the farm, distinguished by his commitment to excellence.
Lourens Steyn, a judge from the Hatfield Motor Group, expressed admiration for his forward-thinking approach in the industry. “His vision to vertically develop the multi-dimensional Geelbosboerdery using technology and international best practices while maintaining a strong foundation built on generations of experience and community involvement were the standout qualities that earned him the overall winner title.”
Wannie Scribante, the deputy president of TLU SA, was equally impressed, emphasising his bold investment in grain silos, which promises benefits for both him and fellow farmers.
It was meticulous planning and attention to detail caught the eye of Clemens Senekal, TLU SA’s Young Farmer committee chairman, who commended the impeccable state of the farm and even Van der Linde's daily polished shoes as a testament to his respect for his surroundings.
In recognition of their achievements, each finalist received a prize from Introlab, with Van der Linde and wife Adri also receiving a trip for two to the Manitou factory in France. TLU SA extended their heartfelt thanks to the sponsors of the Young Farmer Competition for their invaluable investment in the future of agriculture.