2016 Free State Agriculture Young Farmer - a proud Senwes supporter

The sixth generation Van der Linde, JD, was crowned as the provincial winner at the Free State Young Farmer event at Monte Bello Estate in Bloemfontein on 21 April 2016. Here Senwes was also the proud co-sponsor of the Free State Young Farmer Conference. DJ is motivated to follow in his ancestors' footsteps en tells us that his grandfather, DJ van der Linde, was the 1984 Maize Farmer of the Year. “I want to be part of a good farming history”, he said ambitiously.  “I never thought I would win the competition up to this stage.  There are a number of good farmers out there and I do not regard myself as the top farmer in the area.  However, I try my best and I am proud to be able to compete on equal footing with the others". 
DJ grew up on the farm St. Helena near Vierfontein and is currently the third generation on the farm.  He is a proud farmer:  “Everything I know about farming I learned from my father". DJ has a B.Ed. Tech with main subjects Mechanical Technology and Fitting-and-Turning, which he attained from the North West University in Potchefstroom.  “I built all sorts of things and used my hands from an early age, but I also knew that I wanted to be a farmer.  I only went to study to find a wife", he adds jokingly.  He met his lovely wife, Rianette, at university and they are blessed with two beautiful children, Divan (6) en Suhanri (4). “Without my family, and in particular my wife, I would not have been here today.  She supports me at every level of the farming operations". 
DJ really started farming in 2012 when he inherited the farm from his late father, DJ van der Linde.  He systematically expanded the diversified farming operations to 750 hectares of  cultivated land and 150 hectares of grazing.  The farming operations include 60% white maize, 10% yellow maize, 25% sunflower and 5% cattle (Simbras). One thing which DJ learned from his father and which he really took to heart, is: “do something once and do it right”. DJ likes to know exactly what happens on his farm.  "I am painfully neat and tidy", which is why he has refined his planting techniques and why he precisely manages his crops.  DJ is a proud Senwes supporter.  "I wlll always do business with Senwes.  They look after us farmers". 
DJ always manages to make a plan - he uses equipment, implements and skills available on the farm in order to adjust to changing conditions. “I don't have the latest implements, tractors and equipment, but I adjust what I have in order to keep up with technology and the developing industry". DJ has an old threshing machine which dates from the thirties and which is in a 100% working condition.  He also has 70's and 80's John Deere tractors.  "These tractors really last forever", JD proudly said.  His planter, which he uses year after year, is 40 years old and he adjusts it every now and again with the latest technology. 
Prof. Pieter Fourie, Associate-Professor at the Central University of Technology (CUT), Free State Department of Agriculture and convener of the judges, says that the drought conditions made the judging very difficult.  DJ says that the drought brought him closer to his Creator and made him realise once again where everything comes from.  He and his team of workers, (10 male and 3 female), worked very hard as a team in order to deliver a successful crop.  "I don't farm to make money.  I farm for 10 other families".  DJ is a kind-hearted man who is involved in his community.  He is involved with Grain SA and Free State Agriculture.  He also works on the Vierfontein road and acts as mechanic for a number of SA Police Service vehicles.  He started a community shooting range and a soccer field for his employees and he is always offering his services to the school and church. 
“I go to the Senwes Bothaville branch a lot.  I really like the people there", DJ said with a smile.  He is involved in the Senwes customer forum and would like to take a production loan at Senwes.  He also enjoys the Grainlink App and thinks it is "very smart". Senwes supported DJ during the competition. 
With Senwes firmly behind DJ, we wish him every success with the last leg of the competition.