Man or woman, every farmer is special and unique
by Maryna Steyn, ProAgri
“I didn’t decide to farm,” laughs Franelyn Hoffman, better known as Lollie. “I grew up on tractors. In my standard eight year, my father woke me up one morning during the school holidays and said ‘Come, I need a driver.'”
She got on the white CASE with its red stripe and in her heart never got off again.
Lollie grew up on a dryland farm in the seventies. In those years, the Delmas area was a maize area full of beautiful fields and rewarding harvests. Nowadays it is a different picture because of mines and industries that have crept closer.
“I learned about teamwork from my parents; to see what a husband and wife can do together in farming,” says Lollie. “It was difficult sometimes and you could feel the tension when it wasn’t raining, but then we were always blessed on time.”
In 1994, she married Francois Hoffman and went to live on the farm Goedgedacht, which they bought themselves. “It was hard work to convert a dryland farm to irrigation,” she admits, but the farm’s success testifies that it was a good decision.
“We irrigate maize and soya, but also plant crops on dry land. We supply peas, sweet corn and potatoes for the frozen market to companies such as McCain and Nature’s Garden. In addition, we also farm with broiler chickens”.
Women and men farm together
Where farming and womanhood overlap, Lollie feels she can speak with authority. “With my parents, I saw how a woman can support her husband, just as I had to stand strong for what was to come.”
“My husband had gone through a very difficult time in his final three years. We went through severe financial pressure. It completely burned him out. Today I can testify that burnout can turn into deep depression and end up in suicide.”
After their heart-breaking loss, she and her four children decided to continue farming and live out the dream she and Francois had built together.
“Our farmers – regardless of the language they speak – must be looked after. Farming is in serious jeopardy if there isn’t a broader understanding of what it takes to put food on the table for a community.”
Her respect for other farmers comes from her own experiences with her husband and father. “Together we toiled, sweated and prayed. I respect men who stand strong in such an environment, because a farmer is not just a person who plants a seed. In so many ways he is a special person that God created. A farmer is a miracle. He must be able to think on his feet and take nature’s extremes into account while providing for his family and employees,” explains Lollie.
Women need to understand the pressure their men are under. A man can’t just walk into the house and be a loving, carefree man. He also needs time to switch off and unwind. “But we have to encourage each other, inspire each other and preserve our humanity.
Strong women in a man’s world
“It was a very encouraging when supporting companies asked if I was still going to plant this year and how they could assist me; and that they did not doubt my capabilities in any way.
“Everyone welcomed me with open arms; there was no discrimination. They didn’t doubt my team or that I could still deliver the product,” she explains. CASE was one of those companies that made her feel welcome.
To upgrade the farm, the following implements were added: CASE MAGNUM 340 and MAGNUM 250 tractors, a 16-row Early Riser 2130 planter, a CASE 3230 sprayer, the JX 95 tractor and a TLB. The 250 was purchased for seeding and harrowing, where the 340 will do heavier tillage.
“The 340 is a 254 kW tractor with a high-pressure hydraulic pump that controls planters and sprayers with hydraulic systems. Both tractors have the ASF signal free for five years. This allows Lollie to better manage her fleet. With this technology, harvester maps are created and stored and the information is made available to the rest of the implements to promote precision farming,” explains Gerhard Lindeque, VKB Delmas’s CASE representative.
The 340 has a luxurious cabin with a Pro1200 screen.
The new planter will be used in the coming planting season. It is designed to ensure even and early emergence of the crop and uses downward force to plant each seed kernel in the right place.
For the first time in a long while after my husband’s death, I am excited about where I am because I see the opportunity, but I am not doing it alone. I have a wonderful team behind me,” says Lollie.
Get excited again about your farm and get extraordinary results with the right equipment!
For more information:
Chimene de Villiers
Head of Marketing and Communication
CNH Industrial Ag & Ce SA