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A WORD FROM…Johan Kriel

August 2019

The 2018/2019 season was a tough one. The rain stayed away and the time for planting slowly passed. Then the rain came. Rivers and streams flowed, dams filled and overflowed. The frost stayed away. The world of farming is a weird and wonderful one. Never a boring moment. 

Farmers, lift your eyes up, bend the knee and give thanks to your God for the privilege to have the opportunity to work the land. Treat the land with respect and it will give back tenfold. 

The following ideas I want to share, is printed on a small clipboard I received at a Farmers Day. It has the Bayer and Grain SA logos on. It is called: Building Blocks for PROFITABILITY.

  1. Planning: What will I base my decisions on for today? Take the emotion out of financial decisions. Let your head not your heart take the lead. Pressure (financial) can force you to panic and to lose focus.
  2. Farming happens in cycles: Am I in-sync with the rhythm of my business? In the Bible. Ecclesiastes 3, it is written: For everything there is a season, a time to plant, and a time to harvest etc. Prepare your soil in time. Plant in time. Spray in time. Harvest in time. Put the bull to the cows in time. Take the bull out in time. Wean in time. Sell when the price is right. Find the golden equilibrium of your farm and stick to it.
  3. Focus on flexibility: How many legs does my business stand on? Do not put all the eggs in one basket. Be prepared to use new technology but only if you understand it, can afford it and, it will add value to your business. Ask the question: What am I good at? Stick to it but do it better.
  4. Collaboration: How do I pick my partners? The people who make up my support base, input, suppliers, financial institutions, individuals I spend my time with. Distinguish between noise and music. Remember that talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. It is all about adding real value to your life and business.
  5. Relationships: What type of legacy will I leave behind? Did I leave the world a better place or did I damage what was entrusted to me to use? Did I stand for hard work, honestly, integrity, love and respect for the land I farmed on? How have I treated the people around me? Was it all about self-enrichment and myself, or did I in some small way improve the quality of the lives of my workers, family, neighbours? 

Farming is so much more than just working the lands. Farming is a special gift, given to a chosen few. It is up to you: Land owner, food producer, boer, employer, grandparents, parents, plaaskind, to keep on feeding the world, to be responsible for your land, to make it better for those generations that will follow. You are the past, the present, and the future. May your God bless you and keep you safe.

Publication: August 2019

Section: Pula/Imvula