My name is André and I am 25 years old and from South Africa. I finished my degree in Agronomy at the University of Stellenbosch in 2014. I first came to the United States in 2015 and it was so awesome that I decided to come again in 2016.
I farm with my dad back home on our family farm. We mainly raise livestock but have some crops such as wheat and corn. I decided to venture to the states to gain more experience in the field of Agronomy. I have a big interest in crop farming so I am always trying to learn something new every day. My main goal from my CAEP experience is to take as many ideas, tips, and tricks back to my farming operation in South Africa.
I am completing my CAEP agriculture program at Don Yaggie and Sons Farms in Minnesota. The people are great and it’s a pleasure to work for them. They take good care of the employees and I learned so much from them during the past two years. I decided to come back because of how they run such a great operation and everything is in place. I wanted more and more experiences and more training from this farm.
We recently started combining Soybeans and my duty is to service combines in the morning before the day starts. I’m also one of the combine operators on the farm. So far the beans are looking really nice and the yields will be exceptional. After this, we will combine corn and lift sugarbeets until the end of October. This is normally the most exciting time of the year with long 14 hour days. But time flies, believe me!
The big difference between the USA and South Africa is the technology used on the farms. We are so far behind compared to farming operations in the States. We also use irrigation on our crops, mainly because our rainfall is not as consistent, while most farms in this area rely on mother nature for their crops.
Back in 2015, I road-tripped with fellow trainees to Mount Rushmore, San Francisco, Hollywood, Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. It was a really awesome experience to get to see these places and landmarks.
I gained a lot of experience during these past two years and am excited to go farm back in South Africa!