True Happiness - Meiring has his community at heart

What is true happiness? There is often no clear answer to this question.  The elements of happiness are, however, clearly visible on the farm Geluk, which belongs to Herman Meiring, Chairman of Bultfontein District Agriculture. 
Herman, who recently turned 51, farms on 500 hectares of land and in addition to maize, he is a sheep, cattle and pig farmer.  He also leases 340 hectares of land on Plessisdraai.  As proud fourth generation producer, following in the footsteps of Grandfathers Albertus and Charles and Father Albertus, Herman is at the helm on this farm.  He has been farming here for the past 28 years, since 1988.


His dream is to find the real meaning of happiness.  Jan Pienaar, Treasurer of Free State Agriculture, says that Herman's vision is not only focused on himself - an excellent description of Herman in one single sentence.  In his own words, he regards farming as a privilege.  It is a pleasure to work the soil with his hands and to make a success of it.

His pride

His family is his pride and joy - he has been married to his wife Tertia for 28 years.  As a man who does not blow his own trumpet, Herman leaves the room when Tertia is asked to describe him.  "A man who always offers help, even if it is to his own detriment". They jokingly tell me that they have been together since forever, as they were born in the same hospital, four days apart.  They have four children, Anneke, Aletia and Darien and they are quick to add Dirk Gouws, a producer from the district, to the brood.  Dirk is married to Anneke.  "They are our children.  I would also like to use this opportunity to thank my wife and children.  They often have to take second place in this "game" in which we are involved".

The whole of Bultfontein

After his family, Herman has the whole of Bulftontein at heart. When I talked to people in the area it became evident that Herman is regarded as a father by the community.  Someone who looks after their interests.  No wonder that Herman, with a few other people, managed to run 52 projects at once at one stage. The airport, roads and the Boertjie Festival are only some of them. 


Herman adds that nothing can be achieved without co-operation and communication.  He believes in being involved everywhere.  He was the chairman of Bultfontein District Agriculture from 2008 to 2012 and was elected to this office again in April 2016. Co-operation and communication from the top to the bottom send out the right signals. He has no problem in organising any gathering in record time.  Why? "I learned one thing - you can talk to people, you cannot talk to yourself".


His compassion with all people in Bultfontein cascades down to his workers as well. After a number of people came looking for work, Herman decided to launch a job creation project.  It is a farm gate project which involves a number of workers.  These people are very happy on the farm Geluk and they receive housing, a salary and commission in accordance with a commission scheme.  Herman explains that the project is based on an order system and that things are quiet at present, due to the drought.  However, they are gearing themselves for when the agricultural sector improves again - he would also like to co-operate with Senwes in this regard.  Herman has been a member of Senwes since 1988 and he does all his purchases through Senwes. The Agri-Services division also assists his with mapping.

Herman always gets up

Herman has experienced dark times in his farming career, but his faith is his anchor.  However, the Bultfontein community is wonderful and they support one another.

The drought

Herman says that the drought can indeed knock you down.  He experienced this first-hand when he had to sell everything he owned on auction in 2002.  For this reason he decided to decrease his risks by not planting.  "I adjusted my strategy and focused more on cattle."
One often hears that drought is part of a cycle.  "It may be part of a cycle, but I believe that there is a message in the cycle.  The drought is also a sifting process."


Walking through Meiring's house it becomes evident that balance is an important step towards finding happiness.  Herman has a massive gymnasium where he trains two or three times a week with a few other producers.  He is also passionate about hunting and fishing.

Another piece of advice from this sturdy farmer before I left:  "Do what you want to do now, one day never comes.  You also have to enjoy what you need to do now".

Herman is definitely pursuing happiness on his farm Geluk by making the most of every day.