What does it take to become a successful farmer? It's not just about planting seeds and watering them, it's much more than that. One has to have a passion for Mother Nature, the ability to play to your strengths, be resourceful and of course, pay attention to detail. Obtaining all the qualities can be quite difficult, however, Stefan Erasmus, a local farmer from Middleburg has managed to acquire all these characteristics and more, a result of his success would be winning the Agri South African Young farmer of the year regional title, which was held in Port Alfred.
The 33-year-old Agri Ec farmer walked away with R15 000 sponsored by Toyota South Africa, as well as a place in the finals of the national Agri Ec competition, which will take place later this year.
Erasmus went up against great competitors, such as Justin Kingwill, Riaan Strydom and Russel Heger, all of which are from Sneeuberg Agricultural Association, Langkloof Agricultural Association and Gonubie Association.
Despite the great competition, Erasmus won the gold and title of Agri Ec farmer.
It wasn't always fame and glory for Stefan Erasmus. It took a green thumb and dedication to achieve success. Erasmus is the third generation to run the family farm in Beskuilfontein. He worked for his father for 7 years, farming Merina sheep and Bonsmara cattle.
Although there was a continuous 3-year drought, Erasmus overcame it.
Education and Management Systems
The saying goes, nobody can take away your education, and this certainly is true. Stefan studied Industrial Engineering through Stellenbosch University, and due to his exceptional education, he was able to manage the farm and implement several key initiatives to keep it running smoothly, methods such as lamb systems, efficient irrigation of planted pastures, breeding of replacement rams and expansion of the existing livestock watering network
He's not only an Agri Ec farmer, he's also the former secretary of the local Nooitgedacht Farmers Union. This is merely a fraction of what stood in his favour for the title and reward.
According to the judges, Erasmus stood out like a sore green thumb, because of his willingness to embrace new technologies as part of his management beliefs, as well as the forward-thinking approach to farming and involvement in the community.
This has certainly been a fruitful year for Stefan Erasmus, which will only continue to blossom. Erasmus hopes to encourage the older generation in supporting young farmers.