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The rules of the game are the same for everyone. It just depends on how you play it. This approach is one that Nelius Ferreira applies to his farming and forms part of his success recipe.
The new Free State Agriculture (FSA) Young Farmer of the Year also believes that hard work is important. “Our farm’s success lies in: What you put in, you will get you out.” It therefore makes sense when he describes himself as hardworking, purposeful and a good planner. He also believes he is someone who “keeps the bigger picture in mind”.
Ferreira (37) was crowned FSA’s 22nd Young Farmer of the Year on 12 April 2018 at a gala event in Bloemfontein. The other finalists in the competition, in collaboration with Standard Bank, were Hendrik Theron, Reece Dedwith and Wessel Hattingh.
Ferreira, who is responsible for the stud and commercial Bonsmara herds, apples and feedlot, of the farm Grootdraai near Harrismith has been farming for 15 years as part of a family business. He is someone who always stays positive and you can see this in his outlook: “I have not failed yet. I’ve only found 1 000 ways that do not work,” he says.
Young farmers are irreplaceable
He believes the young farmer is irreplaceable, “because every person needs him three times a day.” According to him farmers are also the cornerstone of any economy. “Without a strong agricultural sector, a country’s sustainable existence is in jeopardy.”
Ferreira has served on the Eeram Farmers Association and is chairman of the Red Meat Producers Organization in the Free State.
Make a difference in the future
He has already made a significant contribution to their business. Under his leadership, the Bonsmara stud herds started with production auctions, the name of the business (Ferrero Bonsmaras) was established and the quality increased. In addition, he also expanded the feedlot, planted pastures, and improved the production and fruit quality of the apple orchard.
His vision for the future is to take everything that is done to the best level by sustaining world-class and healthy food production. “In the process, the farm must make a difference in the agricultural sector, as well as contribute to the environment.”
Ferreira’s contribution to Grootdraai looks as follows:
% contribution to farming turnover
Size (ha or LSU)
|Stud Bonsmara herd||8% joint herds||1290 LSU|
|Commercial Bonsmara herd||4777 LSU|
|Natural pasture||13368 ha|
|Planted grazing||774 ha|
Source: Free State Agriculture