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.
Callie and his wife Marinda live on their farm Blompoort in the Hamtam district and he describes their way of farming as nomadic as they move their sheep from one region to the next depending on the season. Their sheep eat the bushes of the Hantam in the winter and are moved to the grassy Boesmanland in the summer. This dual grazing landscape gives the meat a distinctive flavor.
As with all agricultural sectors, the challenges are always there, but in this area, the climate has a major effect on their operations. Callie believes that to keep growing and be profitable you must be innovative and try new things. He believes in new ideas, using technology, and having a scientific approach. “Your can never run out of new ideas”.
“You have to be mobile. “The climate dictates everything.” “We have to react quickly and put structures in place to limit the risk.” When it comes to their animals, their well-being is non-negotiable. “If you look after them, they will look after you.”
When we asked Callie what gives him joy in his work, he replied the “Farming is my passion, to be between my sheep makes me happy. After all these years new life still makes me excited. That moment when a lamb is born and the ewe cleans him, nurtures him, all that dedication even if the conditions are not favourable.” “We have the opportunity to experience new life regularly, as well as the rebirth of the “veld” after the rains have come”.
“The simple farm life keeps us here; we don’t want to be anywhere else. The environment, in hard and good times, the nature surrounding us. We have to make a lot from little, it teaches you to be satisfied with the smaller things in life.”
We asked Callie why they farm, and his response was truly moving. “I believe this is my calling, part of the bigger picture. Our Father has a plan for our country and it’s our job to find out where we fit in. For me, it is the agricultural sector. Here you build relationships, touch people, feed people, and empower the person in your direct environment. It is part of our duty to inhabit and cultivate the earth. Farming, in my opinion, is a holy profession.”