“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.”
Nicky van der Linde (36), a grain farmer from Standerton, is TLU SA’s Young Farmer of the Year 2023.
Nets Turvey (37) from the Tuinplaas Farmers Association in Limpopo has been named the runner-up, and Francois Prinsloo (36) from Stoffberg in Belfast has been placed in third position.
“This year, we travelled across South Africa to visit the 15 semi-finalists for our Young Farmer of the Year competition. It was just as challenging to fit in all the visits as it was to identify the three finalists and eventual winner,” says Bennie van Zyl, general manager of TLU SA. “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.”
Nicky joined his father in the Geelbosboerdery, who sadly passed away from cancer this past December, in 2006. He took over the grain section in 2012. The way he imprinted his mark on the farm has made him stand out.
One of the judges, Lourens Steyn from the Hatfield Motor Group – who awarded a double-cab 4×4 pickup truck for use during the next year as a prize – was impressed with Nicky’s excellence in his 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, observed the same qualities. “Although Nicky grew up in a well-established farming family, how he manages the farm has impressed me greatly. His project to invest in his own grain silos will be beneficial for him and a great advantage for his fellow farmers. Taking on something like this requires a lot of courage, belief, and careful planning.”
This meticulous planning has also caught the attention of other assessors.
“Everything on his farm is tidy and well-organised,” says Clemens Senekal, TLU SA’s Young Farmer Committee chairman. “Not only the farm and his office, but even his shoes are polished daily! Nicky’s respect for everyone around him also caught my attention. It shows something about the man.”
Wynand Erasmus from Santam Agriculture – Santam gave combined prize money of R50 000 to the winners – also noticed Nicky’s neatness: “The appearance was very neat, from top to bottom, and even shining on the underside,” he says. “It was a privilege for me to shake hands with someone like him because this farmer has a great passion for life and his work; you could see the joy of being a farmer on his face.”
Danie Muller from Introlab believes Nicky’s heart is in the right place, making him successful. “Nicky is very passionate and doesn’t back down from anything,” he says. “He has tremendous knowledge, is very ambitious, and takes the lead willingly. He’s making a big difference in the community and will definitely achieve much more.”
Introlab awarded each finalist one of their new products as a prize.
The third-place winner, Francois, says it was a great honour for him to be named one of the finalists. “If I don’t win, then I know there’s someone out there who farms better than me, and I’m glad there are such men. I’m also very grateful that the competition sponsors see that TLU SA’s farmers are worth investing in. It means we are in the right place and doing something right.”
For the runner-up, Nets, the competition opened his eyes to things that may not always be apparent in your farming operation. “It was a constructive process for me. If you can’t learn from criticism, you can’t achieve success,” he says.
Nicky and his wife, Adri, also received a trip for two to the Manitou factory in France. TLU SA would like to once again thank the sponsors of the Young Farmer Competition for their investment in the future of agriculture.