close to farmers
Farming insider: Stephan Jansen, Belgium
In 2014 Stephan Jansen took over the family farm in the Wallonian village Freloux from his parents, who migrated to Belgium from Germany almost 40 years ago. He lives on site with his family and previously studied agriculture at university. Some years ago, the farm developed a second mainstay by which it could make money; the old, unused agricultural buildings were converted into office spaces for tenant companies.
Family-owned since the 1970s. The business is located in the region of Wallonia.
Farm size: This is a 130-hectare operation with a wide variety of crops and diversified fruit production.
Cultivated crops include sugar beet, wheat, corn, peas and potatoes.
Features: The buildings are more than 200 years old; back then, Freloux was the smallest municipality in Belgium.
I look forward to waking up and being able to work
surrounded by nature every day.
Why did you decide to become a farmer?
Farming as a trade is something I've always been interested in, but it was only after a one-year internship that I discovered my real passion for agriculture. As a farmer, I am in close contact with nature, and even though the fruits of my labor always remain directly connected to the climate and to global market prices, it is nevertheless still a pleasure for me to wake up and work surrounded by nature every day.
What do you associate with independence?
Being independent is a huge opportunity to be your own boss. Every day is different.
How do you view your role as a farmer?
The specialty of my operation since I took over the farm and since diversification of the fruit production is direct sales, which means I'm in direct contact with my end customers. My aim is to gain people's trust. To do so, we farmers must be able to earn our money in "fair" ways in order to improve our image through good communication and the best environmental practices.
How do you approach innovations and new technologies?
For me as a farmer, it is crucial to keep developing by attending training courses regularly. Since I took over the family farm, I have invested in new machinery and new technologies. I introduced the RTK system, for example, and I use section controls on the sprayer. These help me be more precise and able to use less of the product, and I simply take more pleasure overall in driving and operating my machines.
On the road worldwide. Always closeby.
All farmers have their own character - which is reflected in their way of life, philosophy and the form of farming and livestock breeding. We visited our farmers around the world and wanted to know what makes them successful, what they stand for and what challenges they have to face. A journey across five continents.