The forum for finding a farmer is the legendary ‘Hitching Post’ in Farmer’s Weekly, that most excellent South African magazine. Simply place your advert and request all farmers to include a photo of their tractor in their reply.
Many a request of this nature has been made in the past and many more will be made in the future, if Jim Rogers’ forecast is correct.
Jim Rogers is a global investor and former business partner of George Soros. In a recent interview he said that in the next couple of decades the real money is going to be with people who produce real stock…cows, crops, sheep, and not, as it has been for the past couple of decades, with people who call themselves stockbrokers and shuffle invisible money on the exchange.
“Find yourself a nice farmer and hook up with him or her, because that’s where the money’s going to be,” Jim advised. He also encouraged “all stockbrokers who regard themselves as smart to waste no time learning how to drive a tractor because they’ll soon be working for the farmers.”
Connecting the dots I decided to beat the bull-run, drop the dow and go country without delay.
Before setting out in search of my farmer, I contacted ‘Attractive Slim Lady’ who had recently advertised in the Hitching Post, seeking a “financially secure farmer” and requesting a photo of his tractor. I was convinced she was a smart stockbroker who had taken heed of Jim’s advice and I wasn’t far wrong. Her brother is a stockbroker and she wants to keep prosperity in the family.
By the time I contacted her she was already engaged to a farmer with a fine farm and tractor, and she happily shared her snaring tips.
“All you need to do is show interest when he starts talking about the weather or about the jackal and the rooikat (caracal),” she said. “These two topics are irresistible to farmers and he’ll love you for listening. You’ll know your farmer is in the bag when he starts telling you the story about the jackal and the young lady from nature conservation.”
Well armed I left Joburg (where there are very few farmers, apart from a few on the outskirts who grow veggies and breed pitbulls) and headed for the Karoo, where many a farmer resides.
Not wanting to waste time I headed straight for a farmers meeting about predator management in the sheep belt. Such meetings are frequent and plentiful here.
I sat through the meeting and watched a demonstration on radio-collaring sheep, where any unusual behaviour displayed by the sheep (excluding wild parties) sets off an alarm.
My big moment came when the chair of the meeting announced that drinks and a braai would follow.
I got chatting straightaway and Attractive Slim Lady was right on cue. I didn’t even need the weather warm up, because this was a meeting about predators, so I leapt to phase two. It took less than ten minutes before one of the farmers, whom the others had already informed me is a bachelor (people are straightforward in the country), turned to me and said: “You’re new in these parts, so you won’t know this story…”
“A while back a young lady from nature conservation came to talk to us about a wildlife-friendly solution to jackal,” he began.
“What you need to do,” he mimicked her voice and gestures, “Is catch the male jackals and castrate them. This way you limit their offspring.”
“At which point,” the bachelor farmer continued, “A much-respected old sheep farmer raised his hand and said ‘Please forgive me for I would hate to offend such a lovely young lady as yourself…but I don’t think you quite understand…the jackals are not trying to mate with our sheep, they are trying to eat them!”
Everyone round the braai laughed long and hard. Like all good tales, they never tired of hearing it once more, especially when it was well told. I too laughed, knowing my farmer was in the bag and my next couple of decades secured.
I am now happily living with my farmer on our farm.
All smart stockbrokers are most welcome to contact me if they’re qualified to drive a tractor.