For Agriculture Day this past Sunday, Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander de Croo visited a goat farm in Kruibeke in East Flanders and expressed his support for the agricultural sector.
The Agriculture Day, organised by the Boerenbond Farmers’ Union, attracted some 55,000 participants last Sunday, including the Prime Minister, according to the Flemish infocentre for agriculture and horticulture (VILT).
There were around 45 agricultural and horticultural businesses participating this year.
De Croo visited the Cedronhoeve goat farm in Kruibeke to express admiration, a choice that Boerenbond said was fitting given the nature and the story of this farm in particular.
“Goat keeping is a relatively new sector and demonstrates the differentiation within the agricultural sector,” said Boerenbond chairman Sonja De Becker.
“Moreover, these are young entrepreneurs with no background in goat keeping, who have created a business from scratch.”
De Croo called the entrepreneurs “a living example” of the importance and enterprising nature of agriculture.
“Agriculture requires a lot of investment and farmers often have no influence on price setting. Additionally, they also have to deal with the drama factor, with diseases or crop failures,” De Croo said, expressing admiration for those who take on the challenge.
Op het mooie melkgeitenbedrijf #Cedronhoeve van de familie Van Wauwe-Stuer gingen @siskaschoeters en premier @alexanderdecroo de uitdaging aan om op 3 minuten tijd zo veel mogelijk te melken. Wie was de beste geitenmelker? Siska! ? pic.twitter.com/p7SjpB9ybL
— Boerenbond (@Boerenbond) September 19, 2021
Translation: On the beautiful #Cedronhoeve dairy farm owned by the Van Wauwe-Stuer family, @siskaschoeters and Prime Minister @alexanderdecroo took up the challenge of milking as many goats as possible in 3 minutes. Who was the best goat milker? Siska!
The Cedronhoeve farm began in 2016 and now has around 700 dairy goats producing 1,100 litres of milk per goat, each year.
That milk is then processed into products like goat cheese, ice cream and yoghurt.
“Through our participation [in Agriculture Day], we want to build up some name recognition for our farm sales and also generate positive attention for the agricultural sector,” Sven Van Wauwe of Cedronhoeve told VILT.
Van Wauwe told De Croo, who spent over an hour visiting the farm, that they plan to invest in their own cheese making, and have taken coursework to become cheese masters.
De Croo has some familiarity with goats already.
“We have 50 sheep at home to keep the grass short,” De Croo said. “We also have two goats that eat everything the sheep don't like.”
The visit ended with a goat-milking competition between De Croo and Radio 2 presenter Siska Schoeters.
Schoeters won the competition easily, VILT reported, although the Prime Minister’s milk container was knocked over by the goat at the end.
In total, Agriculture Day attracted over 55,000 in-person visitors and over a million people tuned into the Facebook channel.
“It has been a great success,” said Boerenbond spokesperson Vanessa Saenen. “Last year, due to the coronavirus measures, the event only took place online, but that is of course not a real alternative to physical visits.”
This year, a registration system spread visits out over the day in order to keep farms and other participating locations from becoming too crowded.