VKB mentor planting seeds of hope and opportunity in new farmers

Francois Crause considers it an honour to share his experience with new farmers. Photo: Gareth Davies

Selflessness has become a scarce trait amongst many. However, altruism is certainly synonymous with Francois Crause who has been mentoring new farmers for the past six years. His life motto, he says, is: “To set others above myself and to get the most out of each day.”

The father of five was born into a Christian home, and says today he considers himself privileged for being raised with high moral standards. Since childhood he has always wanted to touch and change lives. “I’ve always tried to make a difference in our country and the circumstances of those who have crossed my path, no matter who they are.”

Piet Potgieter, Francois Crause and Ronny Tshabalala are passionate about agriculture.

Crause, who is a mentor as part of a project by the VKB Group, a leading agricultural enterprise, the Jobs Fund and the Grain Farmer Development Association (GFADA), is also passionate about farming.

Although he enjoys what he does, he admits that it’s not always easy being a mentor. He, however, encourages his mentees to become positive farmers, to work hard and to take ownership of their farms and projects. Crause adds: “It is a great honour to share my knowledge and experience with other farmers who have a great need for such advice and to be able to make a difference together with VKB.”

As a mentor Crause specifically supports asparagus farmers with technical advice and so much more. “I also help them with every day farming activities, decision-making, and provide guidance in terms of farming management functions.”

Wherever my help is needed I have to support them and always be available and involved.

Outside of the asparagus programme he also shares his knowledge with those who farm with milk cattle. “I mentor five farmers in VKB’s asparagus project, two milk farmers, as well as women from Ficksburg in the Free State.”

As a cattle and sheep farmer himself, Crause’s hard work has paid off several times, but he says his greatest success is his commitment to his family and to help others succeed in life. “My greatest success is to live a full life with my family and everyone around me and also to enjoy what I do every day as well as helping and seeing others accomplish something.”

Farming is in his blood. Crause is a seventh generation farmer on Hebron, the family farm, and has been married to his wife, Leonie, for 35 years. He says he has lived on Hebron for about 57 years along with his six siblings and would not want to do anything else. “I cannot imagine myself doing something outside of farming. It will always be farming, or something related to this industry.”

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