Well-known Abereen farmer Louis Lategan, with assistance from Burre Burger’s Drought Relief Programme, has been able to bring many loads of desperately-needed animal feed to the area for the drought-stricken Aberdeen farmers.
Lategan himself has suffered badly during the current drought, having lost over 1 000 merino and angora lambs due to the hungry ewes aborting. Out of the 120 small orphaned lambs that were being hand-reared, they could only save six. He has also lost almost his entire quarter horse stud, including eight mares. It is the driest it has been in his memory on his farm, Wynlaagte, between Aberdeen and Willowmore, and when Aberdeen town and Graaff-Reinet have had some good rains recently, in his area there has not been a drop.
A while ago, Lategan set up the whatsapp group Boere Nood, which has members throughout South Africa who are prepared to help each other out during any farming crisis such as fires, drought or violent attacks. He spread the word about the drought crisis in the Aberdeen district through this group, and many people throughout the country have contributed with generosity, either donating feed, cash, or transport. Jaco Mulder of Wolsak Transport in Cradock joined in the programme and has been responsible for a great deal of the transport, much of it at his own cost.
The first truck with mealie stalks came from Matt Philps of Hofmeyr, transported by Wolsak Trust. A second load came from the Vermaaks of Hofmeyr, delivered by CM Trans. A total of 22 sacks of pellets came from J P le Roux of Karoowaters. Lucern was donated by Paul de Koker and Etienne du Toit – fuel for this load was donated by Henry Schamrel of Sanlam in Cradock.
Tritan Logistics also helped with transporting soya beans from Leandra, donated by Henk van der Merwe, and Fanie van Rensburg from Sasolburg brought more at his own cost. Rikus de la Rey of Leandra also donated 48 grass bales.
Cash donations towards fuel costs have been received from Graaff-Reinet and as far away as Kwa Zulu Natal, and from these, Lategan will be able to pay for the expenses of another six trucks carrying donated feed which it is hoped will be arriving in convoy on Saturday morning. There is also a possibility of 4 000 small grass bales from Pietermaritzburg, partially sponsored by the PMB Farmers’ Association, which will be very welcome.
Throughout the many videos and voice messages shared on facebook and whatsapp by Burger and Lategan, their faith and belief in the power of prayer is evident. “We are very grateful for all the prayers for our area, and ask the people to please keep praying for us” said Lategan. Anyone who is able to make a financial contribution towards the drought relief, however small, can contact Lategan on 082 847 7846 for details of the bank account set up for the non-profit organisation.