Rob Foks: My grandfather was a farmer, but my father was a carpenter. I initially opted for the profession of architectural draughtsman. But blood will tell; I was enthusiastic from the outset when Roel came up with a proposal to establish a farming business together. If I had my life over, I would do the same again. I have five children and my oldest daughter is starting to enjoy it more all the time. I work on the business about 60 hours a week on average. Apart from my family and the business, I enjoy spending time fishing, reading – from theology to thrillers – and cooking. I do the meat and Dietske the salads. I love veal. Tender and straight from the oven is my favourite, a generous cut cooked at 180 degrees for about 60 minutes and then briefly at 90 degrees, that’s sublime.
Roel Keizer: I come from a typical farming family. I am completely at home on my patch with Esther and the four children. I simply love animals. Naturally, the calves come first, but I also keep chickens and ducks as a hobby. We also have a Bernese Mountain dog and numerous cats. He is a beautiful dog and very loving. I also have an interest in matters outside of the business. There is more to life than spending hours on end in the stalls. I sit on the school’s parent committee, which organises various things for the children. I am also an active member of our church and support people in need. The partnership with Rob gives me flexibility, for example, in terms of taking holidays. If you think you know best, you are going to have a problem, because you will not be able to work together. You need to recognise each other’s strong points and how you complement each other. That is the only path to effective teamwork.
Roel Keizer: People are free to turn up here any time, so to speak. We are completely transparent. The door is always open. By showing people everything and telling the whole story, it gives people an understanding. At open days, I see that there is still a great deal of ignorance on the part of outsiders. I get asked questions like: do calves produce milk? That makes me laugh out loud. Many visitors come out of curiosity: they want to see what’s going on behind the scenes.
Rob Foks: The accommodation is excellent here, they live in herds and they all have a chip, so the computer knows exactly what each animal needs. There is no stress in respect of feeding. We are also very proud to have earned the Dutch Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Beter Leven hallmark. People are surprised to see more animals in the stalls than they expected. They have plenty of space, it is only when they become full-grown that it becomes somewhat more crowded in the stalls. Their life here is like a holiday, they get fed and watered regularly, not a care in the world. What I am proud of? The whole Peter's Farm concept. I know myself that there is no better farming concept than this. It is good for the animals, they are fed optimally, they have clean stalls and live together. I always joke that it is more stressful for the farmers than the calves.
View above our corporate film
Better Life Farmer Rob Foks is proud that he raises his calves under the better life mark of the Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals (De Nederlandse Dierenbescherming). In addition, he tries to make his company more and more sustainable.
View above the Better Life movie (in Dutch)