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.
Wilhelm Focuses mostly on marketing as well as their transport business transporting sheep between farms in the area. Oom Klaas focuses mostly on the day to day farming, but Wilhelm makes sure to visit each farm at least once a week.
The Schade family farm predominantly with sheep. The common breeds are Meatmaster, Merino, and Dorper. They have a total of +/-1500 sheep currently, but due to drought those numbers could drop should the drought persist.
They rent a total of 15’200 (ha) of land which consists of four farms. The typical rainfall in these regions is normally about 146mm per year and because they receive most of their rainfall during winter, they have a Mediterranean climate. The lowest rainfall (1mm) in January and the highest (23mm) in June. The average midday temperatures for these areas range from 15.3 °C in July to 30.6 °C in January. These regions are coldest during July with the mercury drops to 1.4 °C on average during the night.
We spent a bit of time with Wilhelm to talk about their family history and his reasons for living and farming in such a harsh area. We were astounded at the level of commitment and hard work that goes into their business. How often they experience terrible droughts and sometimes don’t see a drop of rain for up to four years. One of the most impressionable things Wilhelm said was “To farm here you need 99% faith and 1% capital. If you have more capital, you lose sight of your faith and you’ll never make it” he went on to say “This world is harsh. It gives and when it does, it gives big, but in those times, you need to stay humble and save for the dry time.”, “There are few farmers who get rich from farming here.” We realized that with the extent of the current drought it’s easy to lose hope and give up, but as Wilhelm said it takes 99% faith. We were told of a local woman who always said, “I have only ever been rich twice in my life and both times I lost it all because of drought”
We asked Wilhelm Why farm here and not somewhere else and what makes this place so special? He said, “I want to be here, I grew up here, my heart is here,” he said it with such love. He looked at us with a nostalgic smile on his face and said, “Once the Boesmanland dust has found its way into your heart there is no way of dusting it off.” He carried on saying, “This place creeps deep into your heart, once you fall in love with it there is no going back.” but the saying goes in Loeriesfontein “For an outsider moving to Loeriesfontein you only cry twice, the day you get there and the day you leave.”
Wilhelm is truly a child of the Boesmanland and we are sure that no matter how tough things get he wouldn’t change his address. He said, “Whenever I feel like giving up my wife Sarina says to me, No we are not leaving this place is part of our destiny we are meant to be here” “ What is also important to us is the Sentimental memories, places, and people here. We were taught at University that sentiment doesn’t belong in farming, but I disagree you can not take away generations of farming, generations of traditions and values and not feel sentimental about them.” He went on to say, “At the moment times are tough. We have had an ongoing drought for four years. We are not making a living right now so it would be easy to give up and walk away, but it’s times like these where faith and sentiment play such a big role. It’s our key to survival here in this dusty and dry world that we love so very much.”