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#BizSoeknBoer: Meet DJ van der Linde

DJ van der Linde recently took the title of Young Farmer of the Year at the 20th Free State Agriculture Young Farmer of the Year competition. Let's find out more...

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Van der Linde: I am a 31-year old SA farmer on the farm St Helena, Vierfontein. I studied B.ED Technical at NWU. I've been married to my wife for eight years and have two children, Divan (6) and Suhanri (4). I started working on the farm in primary school days and on holidays. After eight months in teaching, I went back to my dream - the farm.

2. Favourite thing about being a farmer.

Van der Linde: Seeing your hard work growing into a wonderful plant. I love making my own plans and as Colonel Honeyball from A-team also says “I love it when a plan comes together”.

3. Least favourite thing about being a farmer.

Van der Linde: Being seen as a racist and it’s all but true. Living in fear for my family with all the farm attacks and political remarks.

4. Favourite farm to table dish?

Van der Linde: Lamb chops chargrilled with rough salt and dipped with lemon juice on each turn. With a nice “braai broodjie” stuffed with cheese and chopped onions.

5. Name three things you must have on a farm.

Van der Linde: A plan for every situation. Good bookkeeping of all expenses and stock. Good relationship with employees and seeing to their needs.

6. What is your biggest concern about the agriculture industry currently?

Van der Linde: That a lot of my fellow farmers might not make it this year. Political gestures being made daily about farms, farmers and agricultural ground that is threatening food security.

7. How has the drought affected you, your farm workers and your farm?

Van der Linde: It has made me stronger spiritually. My farm workers saw that things can easily go wrong in a year and my farm has a lot of work and rehabilitating. I saw that very good planning and record holding can help a lot during a drought and save money.

8. What are you doing to farm more sustainably?

Van der Linde: I will look into more moisture saving ground working methods. I will still hold a close eye on all expenses and, most of all, try do all things right the first time.

9. What has been your greatest achievement as a farmer so far?

Van der Linde: Being appointed as Free State Agriculture Young Farmer of the Year 2016 and being able to take care of my family and my workers. Being able to farm for another year and making a success of my farming with the equipment I have.

10. Words to live by?

Van der Linde: Great miracles happen to people who know that God loves them.
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About Cari Van Wyk

Cari Coetzee is a contributor to Bizcommunity Tourism, Agriculture and Lifestyle.