A Free State dairy farmer is doing all she can to turn her dairy farm into a profitable business.
Helping her father manage his dairy farm in her youth has ensured that Beauty Mokoena (31) is now regarded one of the best subsistence farmers in the Free State.
In 2018 Mokoena was recognised as the best producer in the Thabo-Mofutsanyane District and received the MEC Special Award for her efforts during the 19th Annual Female Entrepreneur Ceremonial Awards.
The ceremony was held by the Free State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to acknowledge and encourage the participation of women, young women and women living with disabilities in the agricultural sector.
“I used to help my father with minimal duties such as cleaning, attending meetings and buying essentials that he needed for the farm.
“Spending a lot of time with him made me develop an interest in farming,” said Mokoena, who hails from Mangaung village in Qwa-Qwa.
After completing matric, Mokoena enrolled at Maluti TVET College to study for a Diploma in Primary Agriculture. Unfortunately, her father passed on when she was in her third year and she had to take over the farm.
“Studying helped me a lot because I learnt about animal production, management, maintenance, how to take care of livestock and their medical needs, and agriculture as a business. The nice thing about agriculture is that you learn new things every day, as you come across different challenges,” she said.
The dairy farm does not currently operate as a formal business, but Mokoena’s family of six survives from what it produces.
“We currently have 12 cows and we milk seven of them. On a good day they can produce up to 45 litres of milk. I want to turn the farm into a profitable business one day,” she said.
Mokoena revamped the farm a bit with the money that she won when she received the MEC Special Award.
She was also offered an opportunity to represent the Free State in China in 2018, during the seminar on Modern Agric-Economy Management for Developing Countries.
She encourages young people, especially from rural towns, to take farming seriously and consider it as a career.
“The fact that jobs are scarce should encourage young people to be determined and passionate about agriculture because it is one of the things that most of our parents have knowledge of,” she said.