The Farmer

Dairy farmer André van Vliet feels like he got a few things right as a father. His sons are going to take over his farm, something he didn’t necessarily expect.

“There’s a special kind of freedom I associate with my work. By that, I don’t just mean that I’m out in the fresh air almost all day. I’m my own boss and I work together with the best team I can imagine: My family. Together we run an 116-hectare dairy farm called “Lakeside Holsteins” in the young province of Flevoland. Our farm is on land reclaimed from the sea in the 1980s, when a large artificial island was created from the Zuiderzee. So we’re not a traditional family farm, but we’ve made a start as now, two of the children have decided to take on the farm.

“My children have known country life from a young age.”

André van Vliet, Farmer in the Flevoland Province, the Netherlands

What greater motivation could I have? And especially now, in these difficult times for dairy farmers. My children have known country life from an early age. We all get up together at six in the morning and start the day, which is always packed with variety. Just like nature itself. Calving cows and farm work are hard to plan – and we also grow grass, corn, sugar beets and wheat.

There’s a lot to do and my boys are well aware that they’ve chosen a very challenging profession. Here’s what we do: We breed more compact cows so they’ll produce for longer, because we know from experience that larger cows have more health p problems. We also want to expand our herd, which is expensive in the Netherlands, it means we have to buy phosphate rights per cow. We also have to improve the soil fertility – so we’ll produce more sustainably and use alternative energy, that’s our contribution to fighting climate change.

That’s a huge agenda for the family – and as the Netherlands is so densely populated, running a farm becoming less promising as things develop. So our membership of DMK was another important factor in the children’s decision. The milk price is much more stable given the diversity of the product groups. That’s the only way a dairy can be viable. We have faith in DMK and that drives us.”


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