Jan Groenewald and his son, Johan, are currently the IMLA leader-farmers. Jan started farming in 1967, part of the third generation Groenewalds farming this land.
Johan came to the farm in 2005, and since then, a shared vision has developed between father and son, in partnership with their wives, family members and workforce involved in the farming operations. Maize, soya and sunflower are produced, with livestock comprising Bonsmara cattle and Merino sheep.
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AT IMLA GUEST FARM
ASPECT OF THE IMLA STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK
- Strive towards precision farming, where every hectare is scientifically farmed and monitored
- Gradually implement conservation farming, e.g. no till practice
- Strive towards sustainable farming, with e.g. the carbon footprint of every hectare managed, and reduced through the strive towards no till practice, covering and cleaning of the soil, etcetera
- See people, nature and technology as partners in the agricultural process
- Involve the workforce in the continuous crafting of the IMLA Farm vision and brand
- Build the character and competence of members of the workforce for agricultural and personal success
- Improve the condition of the soil by 50% during each leader-farmer’s term on IMLA Farm. Each generation strives to do the best with what they have, to give the next generation a fair chance to succeed
Johan’s passion for technology has added significant value to IMLA Farm. His and his father’s discipline of learning continuously and taking each day as it comes bodes well for the future of IMLA Farm.
The land, as primary farming partner, is kept clean and covered to protect this precious resource. Team-building and a focus on people, including questioning, learning and conflict resolution have strengthened the bonds between all IMLA team members.
IMLA Farm is rooted in the Clocolan community.
Agri Golf Clocolan is held annually during February at Clocolan Golf Club, providing entertainment and innovative golfing formats. Funds are raised for Clocolan Retirement Home and the town’s schools, including Lethoteng Learning Centre. IMLA Farm is a member of the Clocolan Boerevereniging.
Jan (since 1960) and Johan are polo players, at the highest level. They play for the Hammonia Polo Club in Ficksburg.
As members of the Clocolan Cycling Club, IMLA Farm is involved in the 3 Mountains cycle race, usually staged during the third week-end of March, each year.
IMLA Farm holds membership of Grain/Graan SA, The Red Meat Producer’s Association and the Vrystaatse Landbou-unie (VLU).
1895 - The First Groenewalds
Flip and Sannie Groenewald first set foot on this beautiful, challenging soil, in 1895. They both survived the Anglo-Boer War, 1899 – 1902 (also known as the South African War), however the Scorched Earth Policy of the British forces destroyed their farmstead, animals and crops. They had to pick up the pieces and start from scratch. Goewerneurskop, the headquarters of the farming operations to this day, was bought from a Mr Greyling. During Oupa Flip and Ouma Sannie’s time, the farming operations focused more on livestock, particularly sheep, with less focus on crop production. Also, cream would be sold off any excess milk, after the animals’ young had been fed. In memory of the pioneering spirit and perseverance of Philippus Rudolph (1860 – 1924) and Susanna Maria Lindeque Groenewald (1871 – 1958)
1924 - Second Generation
Boet and Anna Groenewald continued farming with a primary focus on livestock and a secondary focus on maize, wheat and green feed production. Before tractors, the fields were ploughed with red oxen, from as early as 3am. Wheat was harvested by hand. Visitors came unannounced from all over, to stay at Goewerneurskop. Personal differences never came in the way of a good time. Boet, a well-read man, had a passion for farming, politics and church affairs. He donated the weathercock to their church. The biennial Groenewald festival, held on the farm, was initiated by Boet and Anna. More than a hundred Groenewalds gather for the festival, these days. In memory of Johannes Jacobus (1894 – 1970) and Anna Catharina Bosman Groenewald (1909 – 1971) and their generous hospitality.
1967 - Third Generation
Jan came to the farm in 1967, three and four years, respectively, before his father and mother passed away, joining his brother, Flip, who had farmed with their father since 1950. The brothers each inherited 50% of their parents’ farming operations. Marieta (neé Smit) joined Jan on the farm, after they were married in 1973. Flip became an important mentor to Jan and affected crucial infrastructure developments, while building and maintaining a solid farming operation, up to his death in 2004.
Jan bought the farming operations from Flip’s deceased estate. This was an important catalyst in Jan’s ability to approach scale in terms of his and Marieta’s farming operations, such a key ingredient in 21st century agricultural success. From 1979 to the present day, Jan and Marieta have lead the farming operations to expand rapidly in terms of the acquisition of additional land and infrastructure development. Their entrepreneurial spirit and warm-heartedness, together with their predecessors’ legendary efforts, made this possible. Six children were born out of their marriage.
A shift in farming emphasis occurred, with the primary focus becoming crops, e.g. asparagus and potatoes, produced under the brand JJ7. This brand described Jan, Marieta and their six children. Livestock farming became the secondary focus. Empowerment initiatives, for staff and the greater community, since the 1980s, originated from their marriage partnership. (hyperlink new page to Empowerment) Johan, their son, came to the farm in 2005, and you may follow the rest of this story under the Innovative Agriculture heading.
Generation 3, 4 and 5…
Currently, the third and fourth generation Groenewalds, Jan & Marieta, their son, Johan & his wife, Zané, and Johan’s sister, Theoline, are leading and managing the IMLA Farm operations: Agriculture, Tourism & Empowerment. The fifth generation has already been born into the IMLA cradle, like green maize on the fields.