Posts by: Farmer Angus

This relates to taking farmland (specifically white owned) without compensation.

Before we delve into this issue lets be clear that this is just another example of the tactic, by the ANC primarily, to divert from the mismanagement of the country whilst trying to loot what remains. It is directly from the Robert Mugabe textbook on governance. Examples abound, the most recent being the Coligny drama. (See Rian Malan’s article on this). The EFF (Economic Failure Forever) is desperate to get back into the limelight as their only calling card, the former president, has left the room and so they resort to clamouring for a measure that will not being any economic freedom to anyone.

Increasing desperation is the sign that accompanies the loss of hegemony.

First, who is going to feed the people if all the white farmer’s land is taken? From the rabid support by the ANC of Mugabe it appears that the fact that Zimbabwe used to be the breadbasket of Africa is ignored. Since he kicked all white farmers off their farms the country cannot feed itself and has to rely on donated food. Those white farmers have found work elsewhere but their farm labourers have not been so lucky.

Second, there’s no point in taking land from white farmers if the infrastructure is not in place to ensure that this land stays productive. Not a single land claim farm in this country, managed by the claimants, has remained productive. That is a massive failure on the part of the ANC. Some farm workers could become farm managers but this requires prolonged investment in their training and as is obvious the government has little interest in the hard work of teaching skills and consequently uplifting people. Organised agriculture throughout the country has made many offers to government to help in this regard but it has been repeatedly rebuffed.

Third, at least 80% of white-owned farmland is in turn owned by the banks so by taking the land the banks will be unburdened of their load. Do the politicians who are so anti-banker really want this? Also if you cannot use land to guarantee a loan then you are threatening the whole banking system which of course suits another myth, namely white monopoly capital.

Fourth, the people are sick. South Africa is on of the most obese nations on earth. There are many reasons for this however the primary reason is that the people are being fed the wrong food. Imagine the impact if the energy was spent on encouraging farmers to grow food that nourishes humans and heals the land, regardless of the age, sex or skin colour of the farmer. Sustainability is an outdated idea. Regenerative agriculture is the future.

Fifth, how does the scenario play out in the Western and Northern Cape? The original inhabitants, the San, have been practically exterminated therefore there are no possibilities for land claims.

Sixth, the government is the biggest landowner. It is black. The second biggest landowners are the tribal chiefs. They are also black. The chief’s land, being generally the most fertile, has the most potential to produce food for the people however it is overgrazed and mismanaged. No politician has the courage to take on the chiefs and so instead they try to bully white farmers, most of whom are making a humble living on marginal agricultural land.

Arguably the best example of how economically sterile land has become productive is the Amadlelo Agri project in the Eastern Cape. This is how land claims should be handled.

Finally all the talk about race is never going to get us moving ahead as a country. The debate around land should be that those farmers who are building their soils (and therefore water holding capacity) should be encouraged through various incentives and those who are destroying their soils should lose their farms.

Angus

28 February 2018

Our online shop is open

A massive thanks to Yolande, in the middle in the photo below, and her husband Francois for enabling this. It feels like we are growing up. All you need to do is click on SHOP NOW and follow the instructions.

To celebrate we have released our salami sticks. As with all our butchery products we don’t cancer inducing nitrates and nitrites. Currently the only butchery in the land not adding these chemicals.

Ruvarashe and Phello are showing off our salami sticks which come in packs of 150 grams. The packets are filled with Nitrogen gas which keeps the product room temperature stable for 3 months. We use our pigs to make the salami as well as our organic Shiraz wine from the farm. Our beef and chicken products are also available online as well my Ezibusisweni Straw Wine.

The salt in all our products is from Khoisan and we also use it for our animals in their free choice mineral licks.

Thanks

Angus

24 February 2018

 

The drought shrinks my business. First shoe to drop is eggs.

We are, with immediate effect, closing half of our egg operation. Please read this entire post as it explains why and then lists the clients that will continue to receive eggs from us.

Last Friday our irrigation quota was cut again and consequently we have no Theewaterskloof water with which to irrigate our pastures anymore (I am still paying off a R250,000 fine for overuse of water last summer, I cannot afford another fine and there is no water in the dam anyway).  We have always been able to irrigate 126 hectares.

Our regenerative agriculture project is based on the fact that we enable our pastures to regrow after grazing. This has been possible for the last 9 years thanks to rain or irrigation water. We cannot do this anymore.

We are only going to be able to irrigate 18 hectares of pasture. There is a small dam on the farm that has enough water to keep the 18 hectares going until the end of May. If we do not have  normal winter rains by then, I will close all operations.

Let me preempt a few questions as to why only half the egg business and not the broiler chickens, the pigs, the vineyards and the cattle.

1.  The laying hens are very aggressive graziers on the pastures. This has, up to now, never been a problem as with water being applied to the pastures after their grazing our multi species pastures have bounced back even stronger incorporating the life giving chicken manure. There is no longer any water to ensure this recovery. We have spent the last 9 years as custodians of the land building fertility and I am not prepared to ruin this work. The 18 hectares is enough for 8 Eggmobiles with 300 hens in each. The cattle need to graze there too.

2. We have built up enough grazing for the cattle and the broilers and the pigs for the next 4 months which is when we are hoping that the rains will have started in earnest. We have been able to have this grazing cushion because we have built up the Carbon content of our soils and hence the water holding capacity. Remember that each 1 gram of organic matter in the soil holds 8 grams of water. High density grazing of animals and the BioDynamic fertility sprays have enabled us to be the first farm in the world to sell Carbon credits from our pastures.

Regenerative farmer currently playing rugby, David Pocock, took the video below at the winter solstice in 2017 elaborating on our soils and the drought we were already facing back then. Unfortunately the wind makes it even harder to understand what I am trying to say. Up to the day of filming we had received 80ml of rain. A normal winter for us is 700ml. The last normal winter rain was in 2014. To an extent the soil I talk about in the video has saved us.

3. We use 5% of the recommended water for our vines because we have built the Carbon content of our soils (up by 20% from 2011 to 2017) by high density grazing our cattle and the use of compost and because we don’t kill the cover crop with a herbicide. If you kill the cover crop by now your soils are all bare and consequently the vines are stressing a lot more as bare soil is up to 20 Celsius hotter than covered soil. Cooler soils happier microbes and longer photosynthesis which means more Carbon in the soils. Hence our vines are fine. These have been organically certified for 4 years.

4. We have been reducing our cattle heard over the last 2 years. In 2016 we had an average of 300 head of cattle on the farm and today we have 73. We have done this because over the last 3 years we have had half the normal rainfall.

What does the future hold?

If our Western Cape government does not get on top of the alien vegetation in this province then there will be no change for the good. Here Maitre study on alien vegetation is a very detailed peer reviewed study on the actual impact of alien vegetation throughout the country. It is well worth a read. The salient point for me is that in 2000 a full 33% of the precipitation in the Western Cape was being consumed by aliens. You decide if there are more aliens today than then.

The massive gum trees suck up thousands of litres of water every day.

Not only would cutting down all these different types of trees create jobs, if done properly the exercise will make money as the potential income streams are as follows: lumber, mulch, essential oils and biochar. Also our groundwater would not be depleted. This is what is known as a win win win situation.

Our egg clients going forward (until it rains and we can double production) are listed below.

Spier – Hotel, Eight, Hoghouse and the Farm Kitchen

Mount Nelson

The Loading Bay

Organic Zone

Paul Roos Spar

Wellness Warehouse = Kloof Street Branch only

Think Organic

La Tete

Bread and Wine

Foliage

 

 

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