Farms: Brakkie (Homestead), Witvlakte, Volmerzputs, Burtonsvlei, Kaiingsvlei (all situated in the Boesmanland) Producer: Klaas Louw Klaas and his family before him, have been farming in this area for almost 100 years. There is a long history of starting small, working together as a family, a history that has known the good times as well as the bad.
Klaas’ grandfather “immigrated” from the old Transvaal to the Cape Province in the earlier part of the 19th century. He established himself and his family between Loeriesfontein and Niewoudtville on the farm Brandkop and started farming with sheep on a small scale. To earn an extra income, he also transported wood to the boarding school at Loeriesfontein. He later increased his farming operation with the help of his two sons. In the late 40’s they started leasing more land of which Brakkie, Klaas’ current homestead, was one of them.
Farms: Jobskraal (Hantam), Tweerivier (Boesmanland) Producer: Franchwa Batt and Chrismari van der Westhuizen-Batt Jobskraal Jobskraal Meatmasters is owned and run by the husband and wife team of Franschwa Batt and Chrismari van der Westhuizen-Batt. Chrimari’s roots in the Boesmanland stretch back generations, with them joining the family farming traditions in 2007. With Franschwa being from the Boland and qualified as an IT technician, their plan was never to farm here.
But in 2005, one of the farms (Jobskraal) that Chrismari’s father leased came up for sale and he advised her to buy the farm. Without much consideration, she decided to sell her apartment in Stellenbosch and buy the farm with one condition… Her father carries on renting the farm so that they can go and work abroad for 2 years. By the end of 2007, they were back from Scotland to start farming at Jobskraal.
Farms: Blompoort (Hantam), Dwaggas (Boesmanland) Producer: Callie and Marinda van Zyl The history of Welgevonden Boerdery and the people associated with it stretches back 5 generations. They bought their first piece of land in the Boesmanland directly from the queen of England in the 1890s. Father Hannes and brothers, Callie and Wiehann run their family business that spans various industries. Callie is responsible for their sheep farming branch, with strategic decisions made by all three of them.
They are involved in fruit- and sheep farming, as well as renewable energy. Their various farming projects, which are high on their priority list are helped managed by their partners from previously disadvantaged communities. For them, it is of utmost importance to make them part of an economically viable business so that South Africa’s economy can grow.
Klein Rooiberg Boerdery
Farm: Klein Rooiberg Owners: Van Heerden and Van der Westhuizen Families Area: 12000ha Farming Team: Wilhelm Schade, Kleinman van Zyl, Klonkies van Zyl The farm Klein Rooiberg has been in the same family for five generations, dating back to the mid-1800s. It consists of three separate farms but has been farmed as one entity for the last 100 years. Klein Rooiberg was first bought by Hendrik Everhardus van der Westhuizen after which he later bought another farm Springbokpan a few kilometers to the north.
When Hendrik van der Westhuizen died his farms were divided between his two sons. Gideon Andries van der Westhuizen (Giel) took over from his father and bought the farm Leewbergrivier that lies between Springbokpan and Klein Rooiberg. With his death, his land was again divided between his two sons of which one still farms there today.
Father: Klaas Schade Wife: Gloudine Schade Son: Wilhelm Schade Wife: Sarina Schade Farms: Hectars Area Narosies- 4000 (ha) Adamsfontein- 2900 (ha) Hantam Draaiwater- 2700 (ha) Hantam Wolfkop- 5600 (ha) Boesmanland. Oom (Uncle) Klaas Schade grew up on their family farm Graatjiesgat just outside Vanrhynsdorp off the N7. In 1977 after spending a few years working in Insurance in Cape Town he surprised his wife Gloudine Schade with the news that he had bought a farm in Loeriesfontein. Oom (Uncle) Klaas and his wife still farm in this area, now renting land to expand their family business and to make use of the different vegetation in these areas.
Wilhelm Schade joined the parent’s business after some time overseas as well as five years in Villiersdorp where he worked in the fruit industry. Wilhelm is married to his wife Sarina Brynard Schade since 2008. Sarina is the local hairstylist in Loeriesfontein but also works together with her husband running their families farming business. They have two sons named Nicolaas and Ben who hopefully will one day join their father in farming.
Veld Raised Beef
Producers: Pieter and Koot Prinsloo, Dave Osborne, Hennie Wentzel, JC Landman, Marius Corbett, Henry Stretton, Niel Evans, GK Landman, Freddie du Plessis, Luke and Jurgen van Heerden, Anton Haggerman
Area: Black Kei River Basin (Eastern Cape)
Cattle farming in South Africa has changed drastically, dictated by economic pressures, feeding an ever-increasing population, change in weather and natural vegetation. But in the Black Kei River Basin a few farmers have stayed true to the values of their generations past.
A partnership was formed between a group of farmers and Langside Meats to bring animals to the market that are completely GMO, antibiotics and hormone free. All the animals are grass fed, veld raised and are not subjected to a feedlot in any time of their lives.
Pieter and Koot Prinsloo, father and son and members of Langside Meats, have been farming on Hartebeesfontein for generations. Their first ascendants started farming on the same farm in 1869, making Koot the 6th generation on Hartebeesfontein. Many of the farmers share similar history to this area.
The Black Kei River Basin have proven over centuries to be an ideal, natural habitat for cattle, with its extensive grassy planes interspersed with Acacia trees. The sweet veld offers a high nutrient content from a large variety of grass types. This enables all the farmers to run their herds purely off the veld without having to give them extra feed, even in the drier years.
For all the farmers, this partnership with the environment and respect for the animals in their most natural habitat is a non-negotiable priority. Farming decisions and practices are made with this in mind at all times. Restoration of the grasslands is a priority and farming as naturally as possible has decreased problems with diseases. “Our cattle are not treated with any growth hormones or antibiotics during their life cycle and losses are minimal due to the natural conditions (grass) the cattle are raised in. They have evolved to digest fibrous grass over thousands of years and all we do is attempting to facilitate the process.”
When asking Koot about their challenges as farmers in this area, Koot mentioned that stock-theft has become out of control and that no farmer can farm with small livestock anymore. But farming with steers from big breed cattle in the mountainous area has been the solution to many challenges.
The producers are all in accord that bringing their meat to the market without going through various middlemen gives them great pleasure and is what drives them to keep going. They produce a premium product, which is not only delicious, but sustainable, ethical and respectful of the animal and environment.
All the farmers’ in this area farm with Beefmasters, usually a mixture of three to four cattle breeds. They are typically made up of Brahman and/or Santa Getrudis cross with British breed like Angus, Hereford and/or Sussex. All animals are F1 cross breeds. All herds are made up entirely from steers, producing a premium and very rare product. Feedlots, and thus 95% of commercial beef available to the public are mainly from female animals. All their cattle are around 3 years old when slaughtered creating a product that is full of flavour but also tender, especially when aged for a few weeks.
Producers farm on farms that are 2000ha on average and are made up of camps of between 30 and 100ha. This enables the farmers to rotate their herds on a regular basis. Koot explains their farming principles as follows: “We try to mimic nature by keeping big herds together and rotating them on a regular basis. When cattle graze in big herds they tend to be less selective on the grasses they eat, which in turns speeds up the regeneration of the veld. Generally herds are rotated between +/- 6 camps giving a longer recovery time for the veld. “
We at Herdsmen Ethical Meat of Origin are extremely proud to be associated with all these farmers, individuals that care for their animals, the environment and the products they send to the market. We agree wholeheartedly with Koot when he says; “Eat less meat, but eat better meat”.