Farmers are not the exploiters


Danie Ackerman, a village farmer, writes:

Lately I’ve been thinking about writing something following the comments that are being made on RNews.

I myself am a 65-year-old village farmer in the Southern Free State and do this of my own volition, for the love of the cause and because in this environment I am the closest to my Creator.

I feel like I don’t have to compete with the next neighbor for a great house, vehicle, golf club membership or gym subscription.

Furthermore, I drive a Mahindra bakkie which is now 9 years old – and it still climbs the pavements just as well as the latest expensive 4×4 vehicle in the city.

However, comments that have been causing me quite a stir lately are things like:

… subsidizing struggling producers..

… these farmers are making billions. Why should the tax payer pay? Buy your own vaccine…

… our struggling producers always have some kind of squeak…

… in South Africa, consumers have to keep farmers on farms by paying too much for food…

As background, I would like to show our readers the following figures, which I personally experience:

My friends, before you make snide comments about farmers again because you have no idea what it takes physically, psychologically and financially to farm and make sure you have a chip to grill with the rugby, think a little about the following:

  • Which of you is prepared to accept a reduction in salary equivalent to our drop in rand per kg for lambs or calves? Remember a farmer is always a price taker, and buyers and suppliers do with us what they want!
  • Which one of you has to drive patrol at night – leave their wives and children alone at home – and work full time the next day because you are robbed bankrupt. In our district, 2,200 sheep have been stolen in the last 3 years, some of which are stud animals and are only slaughtered to be eaten.
  • Before the rains come, which of you should lie awake about possible wildfires that could ruin your entire existence? If you’re speeding through the Free State like this again in your fancy car on the way to the sea, please put your smelly cigarette butt in your ashtray and throw it out at your home or holiday place, but please don’t throw it through the window and our field at the don’t burn!
  • Why do you get the “beep” about food prices, interest rates and fuel increases when the expensive vehicles, during school holidays or long weekends, flow past here to the sea?

If you still pray daily, think in your prayers about farmers who have to produce food in difficult and uncontrollable circumstances, rather than commenting on matters of which you have no knowledge.