Rianne Blom en Yvon Jaspers

Denmark: Jan & Rianne Blom

Where an exploration tour with Yvon Jaspers for the 'Onze Boerderij' in Europe program cannot lead to. Former 'Boer zoekt Vrouw' participants Jan and his wife Rianne have been working on their new dairy farm in Denmark since April 2021.

Farmer Jan and Rianne were surprised by beautiful Denmark in the summer of 2020. “Space, a beautiful environment and friendly people. After our trip with Yvon, we suddenly had a lot to think about and our idea to move became a lot more concrete", says Jan Blom. ‘We had experienced many developments on our sheep farm in Texel in recent years, and not all of them had a positive effect on the dairy sector of the company. The farm shop was buzzing and ran well, but the core activity - milking sheep - was becoming less and less important. The price for sheep's milk is under pressure and sales were difficult. In short, we no longer saw our future in sheep farming. And I'm a farmer, after all, to farm." And so the step was taken for business change and relocation.

In the autumn, Jan and Rianne started to seriously orientate themselves on dairy farming in Denmark. In the meantime, they had contact with someone on Texel for cooperation with the production of lamb. Jan: "When our emigration plans became more concrete, we made this known and it turned out that he was interested in taking over our company."

Jan en Rianne Blom met Yvon Jaspers

Island broker

And if there are agricultural real estate transactions on Texel, then you quickly end up with real estate agent Jurjen Nannenga of Interfarms VLNN Makelaars. Jan continues: "The potential buyer already had good contact with Jurjen. That's how we got into a conversation with him. At first we were a bit skeptical. The buyer had already been in contact with Jurjen and then Jurjen should serve our interests. Will that be okay? We therefore asked Jurjen how he deals with this as a real estate agent. Jurjen's response to this was: "In my work here in the closed community on Texel, where often several parties are involved, I have to work transparently and objectively, otherwise there is no place for me on the island." In the end, we trusted Jurjen and awarded him the sales contract. We have definitely experienced his openness and integrity in the sales process of our company. There have been quite a few unforeseen things; Jurjen helped us well and arranged a lot for us and the buyer, including a successful lot exchange."

Jurjen Nannenga - VLNN Makelaars

Agricultural entrepreneurship

Jan's passion is agricultural entrepreneurship. Being able to run a dairy farm and earn a good income by taking good care of your livestock with good feed, optimization of business processes and a low cost price. In the Netherlands, Jan felt more like a hobby farmer than an agricultural entrepreneur. "Here in Denmark, I already feel more like a cattle farmer than I was in the Netherlands. At our company on Texel, we were extremely busy to carry out all the different branches. Here at our dairy farm in Denmark, we can focus entirely on one branch: dairy farming. We like that very much. Of course, cows are very different from sheep. I know sheep, but of course that does not mean that only the knowledge lies there. We are very happy that we can fall back on our employees. We work with 5 full-time employees and an intern. One of the staff members also speaks Dutch and takes on the role of interpreter. Our employees know the business operations, the livestock, the feed and milk program. There is a lot of mutual trust and that gives both sides freedom in our daily work. The staff focuses on the cows and we can deal with all further (start-up) matters. That's very nice!"

The company 'Nørre Fuglsang'

The company is located 6 km from the town of Løgstør in North Jutland. A modern dairy farm with approximately 500 dairy cows on 8 milking robots. The intention is to expand to 550 dairy cows by the end of 2021. Production is currently at 11,300 litres. The company has 178 ha of land, of which 170 ha is ploughable. Of the workable land, soil class 3, 120 ha is suitable for grass and 50 ha is suitable for maize. An additional 148 ha is also leased.

The house dates from 1985. The free-stall barn (2008/2013) has 562 cubicles and is equipped with mattresses (2019), a Cormall feeding system and an automatic straw system. The dry cow shed offers space for 75 cows/calf heifers and deep litter pens for calves. The young stock barn with 152 cubicles and slatted pens will have to be adapted in due course in connection with the current regulations.

Jan en Rianne - Norre Nebel

Support is key

Jan and Rianne have taken over their dairy farm from bankruptcy. The previous owner had already left and the trustee was the final decision maker. “Our emigration counselor Danitsja Rientjes saw that the situation at the company was deteriorating. On her advice, we accelerated to Denmark, in order to steer the company in the right direction together with the staff. Danitsja and her colleague, Martine Hoon, do a lot of work for us. Danitsja took the lead in the purchase and settlement process, maintaining close contact with us and the trustee. During that time she also arranged the vet and made sure to make contact with the former owner of the dairy farm, who had run the company from 1970 to 2017. It is very nice that we have good contact with them. They know a lot and we make grateful use of that. Our children even see them as a bonus grandfather and grandmother!"

Rianne: 'Because we rushed to Denmark, our preparation was not optimal. Martine mainly helps us with the more difficult matters such as the settlement with the curator, the transfer and all kinds of registrations such as the personal number, a tax number, etc. The language barrier means that you really cannot do this all yourself. We also had many malfunctions with the milking robots in the beginning. Our permanent employee has had a lot of contact with Lely in this regard.

Jan and Rianne look back on the first three months with a positive feeling. “Thanks to all the help and the experience of our staff, we were able to make a good start. We bought a new feeding system right at the beginning and we made some adjustments to the ration, in order to increase production again. We have engaged a new (English-speaking) specialist for feeding advice. There is a good connection, he introduces us to the customs in Denmark and he is also well aware of Dutch business operations. It's so easy to talk about that," said Jan.

How are your children Melle and Siem doing?

“Actually, they immediately went along with the Danish rhythm. Since the second week, they go to the daycare in Fjerritslev, 10 minutes away. In the beginning, Melle and Siem went to the shelter for half days, so that they could get used to it. Especially the eldest has some difficulty understanding other children, for him, it is very nice that his brother is there too. They are now 5 days old. That is good for now because there is still a lot to be done. It is quite normal in Denmark that children go to daycare all week long. You pay the same amount for 2 or 5 days. It's nice to see that they do a lot with nature and that they learn in a playful way. It's all a bit more free here. Primary school only starts at the age of 6." says Rianne.

It gives Rianne the opportunity, in addition to taking care of the children and the household, to do the administration of the company and to take responsibility for the calf and dry cow department. A lot has to be set up and registered, especially in this start-up phase. She takes care of the bookkeeping, the animal registration systems, ordering parts, etc. "And I have already learned a lot at the company. I will help where I can. I knew nothing about cows, but now I can feed the calves, collect cows and do the evening round. Milking calf cows is not easy for me, but it will certainly get better on its own. It is good to be involved with the animals in this way.”

Our door is always open for newcomers!

There is already more overview and rhythm in Jan and Rianne's company. They hope to have even more control over the business by the end of this year, so that there will be some more peace of mind. 'Although, since we have been in Denmark, I have put the children to bed more often than when we still lived on Texel.', Jan concludes his story.

“We have benefited greatly from our conversations with farmers. And our insight into the company at Sjaak and Jacqueline has helped us a lot and we still make grateful use of their knowledge and help! That is why our door is also open to newcomers!" Rianne adds enthusiastically.


Tips from Jan and Rianne

  • Arrange your personal number before you are established in Denmark.
  • Important to engage specialists; it's hard to do everything on your own because you don't speak the language.
  • Keep in mind that things always go a little differently than you expected. For example, Jan and Rianne ran into more overdue maintenance.
  • Visit emigrated farmers; it helps a lot!