Ratshikana In line for SA’s Cattle Farmer of the Year

This Article first appeared in Farming SA issue #10 June 2008 (pdf link) and has been formatted for web viewing by Agristart.

The life of Benjamin Ratshikana, a lawyer who remained a village boy at heart, was changed forever by the influence and guidance of commercial farmers. He is regarded as one of the three best South African cattle farmers of 2008.

A developing farmer who knows what he wants and works hard to reach his goals, will succeed and become fully commercial. I started farming in 1999 and managed to become fully commercial in a few years. I can only recommend that fellow cattle farmers buy quality bulls to improve their herds.

My passion for quality cattle grows day by day. As a youngster I had not been exposed to any farming activities. I was born and raised in the village of Dinokana in the Lehurutshe district of South Africa’s North West province where I attended school. I qualified as a lawyer – a profession I still follow. Many people influenced me and inspired me to develop a love for farming. During October 1999 my path crossed those of two commercial farmers, At Niemand of Schweizer Reneke and Boetie Viljoen of Leeudoringstad. They inspired me and taught me about cattle farming in general. But when I saw their farms, I said to myself that I couldn’t start farming cattle if I didn’t even have a farm. At that stage it was just as difficult to buy a farm as it is today; agricultural land was very expensive. Then I met Daniël Hlongwane, who farms near Rustenburg. He encouraged me to go for the farming option. I ultimately managed to make a start in the communal area of Tlapeng village close to Mafikeng.

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How Lolwane survived drought & tough credit laws

 This Article first appeared in FarmeringSA issue #8 April 2008 (pdf link) and has been formatted for web viewing by Agristart.

Farming is about survival of the fittest. It takes a tough guy with a lot of faith to keep on farming when drought, hail and new credit laws start to hamper development. During the 2006/07 cropping season Thando Lolwane of Gelukspan tried his best to prepare his lands in good time, as he usually does. He planted maize and sunflower when the moisture level was suitable, but follow-up rains didn’t fall in time or in adequate quantities. Soil moisture remained insufficient for a good harvest, as would normally be the case and it was difficult to pay back his whole production loan to the bank – not to mention having enough money for everyday expenditure. “I was forced to sell just about all my cattle and sheep to be able to keep my family going,” says Lolwane.

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Cash makes you king

 This Article first appeared in FarmingSA issue April 2008 (Pdf link) and has been formatted for web viewing by Agristart.

Daniël Nortje, who farms on Sendelingsplaas in South Africa’s Northwest Province, recently also bought the farm Veeplaas in the Marico area. He is an inspiration to many new farmers. His recipe for success? Sound management skills and farming on a cash basis.

Besides applying for a loan to pay for my farm, I’ve never had to borrow money for anything else. When I plant my vegetables, chillies and other crops, I use cash. My eldest son Eshwel is in grade 12 and already farms 40 ewes. My wife Magdalena and I have two sons and two daughters. I was born in 1969 on the farm Sendelingsplaas in South Africa’s Marico Bushveld, where my mother, Mma Kokome, worked on the farm of a Mr Nortje. After school I completed a two-year course in agriculture at the Boschkop training centre.

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Why Stephen Matsididi is a smart farmer

 This Article first appeared in FarmingSA issue #7 March 2008 (pdf link) and has been formatted for web viewing by Agristart.

Former diesel mechanic Stephen Matsididi regards farming as a business that must generate a profit. A friend and confidant, Cois Harman, tells us about Stephen’s route to success and disappointments along the way.

Menyatso Stephen Matsididi is a smart farmer. He’s a trained diesel mechanic and auto-electrician and as a result his tractors and other farming implements are always in tip-top condition. He has, however, developed a strategy to replace them every five years. “Then I can still get a good price for the old tractor and the difference between the old one and the new one is not that much. The new one will definitely not cause problems during the peak season,” he explains. That is a very interesting statement coming from a man who has the skills to maintain and service his own tractors, yet prefers working with new ones.

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Why Makinita only uses quality

 This Article first appeared in FarmingSA issue January 2008 (pdf link) and has been formatted for web viewing by Agristart.

Ponki Makinita decided early in life to invest his monthly salary in cattle rather than in a bank. Today he breeds cattle and grows crops in the Marico bushveld of South Africa’s North West province. He told his story to PHIRI BOSIGO.

Working as a truck driver in Johannesburg in 1969, Ponki Makinita bought his first cow with moneyhe received in his first pay packet. Initially his father helped him by looking after his cattle. By 1977 he had already purchased almost 100 head of cattle and had come to the conclusion that he would get nowhere if he were to continue farming on communal land. He found and hired a farm from a white farmer, and relocated his stock. Makinita also invested in quality bulls and cows to improve his herd.

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Santa Gertrudis cattle

Shows Dreams Do Come True

This Article Apeared in Farming SA issue Decemeber 2007 (pdf link) has been formatted for web viewing by Agristart.

When a go-getter entrepreneur bought an ox to celebrate his business achievements, he fell head over heels in love with the beautiful heifers he saw on the farm and decided he would breed cattle himself. Four years later, he has another success story to tell.

Abel Naphtaly is a dreamer, but a dreamer with a difference – he has ability to make his dreams become reality. And he is so determined to achieve his goals that he ends up living his dreams. Once he has considered all the factors that could influence the outcome, he moves into action with everything at his disposal to realise the dream that makes life meaningful to him.

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