Family farming is a traditional way of farming with a long history; most of the larger farming units in South Africa are family-owned farms.

Family farms have long been the mainstay of agriculture. They are valued by rural communities for providing job opportunities. They provide services like local farmer markets and festivals that can be relied upon to regularly provide a range of fresh food.

Family farming is a way of life that contributes to transmission of knowledge. It aims to preserve the environment, natural resources and cultural heritage. It has, regrettably, been romanticised as a traditional culture that represents the good old days, past times remembered with nostalgia.

That ideal is not necessarily accurate. There are signs that family farming is a rapidly decreasing ‘trade’. The agricultural landscape evolves, embracing change is essential for staying competitive and sustainable in a globalised market.

“The agricultural landscape evolves, embracing change is essential for staying competitive and sustainable in a globalised market” – Bruce Brown

Dwarsvlei Farm (in the lee of the Renosterberg) has resolved to do this. We have resolved to make a transition to embrace change and to adopt a better and more relevant way of farming.

We are resolved to improve our grazing management, crop and livestock management and our farm business management. We are also resolved to provide a forum on-farm where farming families can assess for themselves how they might need to adapt, engage and evolve in this changing agricultural environment.

We offer a range of farm enterprise and farm business management courses to explain how this is possible. This is an opportunity to experience in person what it may take to regenerate soil productivity, increase production per ha and improve profitability of the farm business.

Farm enterprise management courses encompass a wide array of skills and practices aimed at optimising production with low (minimum) input and lower risk.

Farm business management extends beyond the veld and the fields — it encompasses the entire agribusiness operation. While enterprise management leads to production, business management leads to profit (or loss). Production for the sake of production does not guarantee viability.

Courses available at Dwarsvlei:

Farm Business Management Farm Enterprise Management
Family Farming – The Family-Business Nexus (5 days) Planned (Regenerative) Grazing and Livestock Management (3 days)
On Top of the Game – “Same Page” (workshop) (3 days) Three Inventories Marketing (workshop) (2 days)
On Top of the Game – Farm Enterprise Plan (workshop) (2 days) Grazing Cell Design (workshop) (3 days)
On Top of the Game – Economic Analysis (workshop) (2 days) Low Stress Stock Handling, Handling Facility design (workshop) (2 days)
On Top of the Game – Combined Workshop (4 days)

In an ever-changing world, learning, or continuing to learn, about farm management and farm business management is not a luxury — it is a necessity. This is “professional development for farmers”.

The goal is to build resilience so we can evolve beneficially with the changes in that happen in the things that we cannot control. This response must be timely, time is now.

Agriculture really has evolved significantly over the last few years. Many of these developments have impacted on farm productivity and profitability. They have impacted on the resilience of family-owned farm businesses.

If the impact has been positive that is great! It may, however, have been more negative if there is vulnerability to the impact of the external factors that we cannot control.

There are signs of a widening gap between farmers who are doing well and those who are not.

Very few things are certain in farming. The factors that upset the status quo are seldom easy to predict, but you can anticipate at least three of them:

    • There will be another drought.
    • There will be market volatility.
    • Input prices will rise.

There is great value in proactively monitoring those risks and assessing any negative impact. It is possible to do it in such a way that these “certainties” can be anticipated.It is possible to implement measures to safeguard farm operations and the farm business.

The opportunity to reduce or eliminate the risks represented by weather variability, market price volatility and rising input prices is always right now.

The opportunity to improve profitability and build resilience is always right now. Change necessitates change; here is no need for change if there is no risk!

The time to make the transition from knowledge to implementation is now. Put the knowledge into practical effect to get the most benefit.

Whether you’re a small-scale farmer, farming family or part of a large agribusiness, these skills empower you to adapt, innovate, and thrive. As we face global challenges like climate change and population growth, investing in agricultural education ensures a resilient and prosperous future for farm family and farm community generations to come.

There is value in learning about Farm Management and Farm Business Management.

    • Agriculture Evolution: Agriculture has significantly evolved, impacting productivity, profitability, and resilience of family-owned farm businesses.
    • Management Matters: Learning about both farm enterprise and farm business management is crucial. Again, to emphasise, farm enterprise management leads to production, business management leads to profit, or loss.
    • Minimising Risks: Weather variability, market price volatility, and rising input prices pose risks. Timely management decisions can minimise these risks.
    • Professional Development: Farm management education is essential for adapting, innovating, and thriving in an ever-changing world.

Remember, the transition from knowledge to implementation is critical. Explore these farm enterprise and business management courses to sharpen your skills and ensure a prosperous future for your farm and your community.

WhatsApp 083 781 3441


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