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Zeeland part-time farmer moves to hog farm in Ontario

Eighth to emigrate from his graduating class

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

BURGESSVILLE, Ontario - The agricultural community in and near Burgessville has welcomed yet another recent Dutch immigrant family. Sjaak Flikweert, his wife Ria and six of their seven children recently left the village of Nieuwerkerk, on the island of Schouwen-Duiveland, to a new life as hog farm operators in Canada.

The Flikweerts ran a 40 acres farm which was too small to provide sufficient income to the large family. For a number of years, Flikweert also worked part-time representing a local farm equipment manufacturer. Preferring to expand his own farm instead, Flikweert felt frustrated at every turn when applying for permits and trying to meet numerous inflexible rules and regulations. A move was contemplated to South Africa, where Flikweert’s brother-in-law already farmed. When the political and social situation in that country became too volatile, Canada emerged as top contender.

Flikweert visited Canada a number of times these last few years and eventually set his sights on a hog operation near Burgessville. The farm can hold about 150 sows. In the future, the new Flikweert operation will be self-sufficient, when on an additional 150 acres they raise feed for their animals.

The new Burgessville farmer is the eighth of his graduating class of the regional agricultural school who has left the Netherlands to set up a farm elsewhere. The Flikweerts’ decision to depart for Canada hit a snag however, when their oldest son and his wife decided against joining the plan. When two other sons indicated they eventually would like to go to Canada anyway, the emigration plans were put back on track again.