‘What do you smell? tell me what you smell Nieuwe Revu has arrived at the dairy farm of farmer Jan Wiedemeijer in Amsterdam-Noord, not far from Broek in Waterland. We are greeted with great enthusiasm by a small young farmer with black curls and a familiar accent that can best be described as flat Amsterdam with a Moroccan accent. ‘Do you smell cow shit? Then you’ve come to the right place, this is the best scent you could wish for in your work environment!’ Ayoub Louirhani (24) from Amsterdam-East says that he is the only Moroccan farmer in the Netherlands and that makes him stand out. Especially since his big dream is to one day have his own dairy farm. These facts make Ayoub so unique and interesting that KRO-NCRV saw a reality show on him. Spread over six episodes, the NPO viewer got a startling insight into the life of one of the most amazing next-generation dairy farmers in the Netherlands earlier this year. The series tried to answer questions like: what drives and motivates Ayoub to go against the grain in his dream? How does he combine getting up early with his private life? Is it still profitable to run a farm in the Netherlands? What is the life of a farmer like and what does a farmer actually do all day? Many viewers agreed that excitement splashed across the screen during the episodes, and in addition to an average of 500,000 viewers per episode on Instagram, Farmer Ayoub also garnered over 50,000 followers. In addition, a book about Ayoub’s life, dreams and opportunities will be published. And as the best of luck, the icing on the cake and the cow in the tail, Nieuwe Revu also comes for a report.
And it starts with the acrid smell of cow poop; according to Ayoub the most wonderful fragrance on earth. Shining in shitty boots and clad in a green peasant jumpsuit, the Moroccan dreamcatcher stands smiling in the driveway of a multi-million dollar farm that sadly doesn’t belong to him. Still, he feels like lord and master as a farmer’s helper to Farmer Jan, because he’s been a regular here for years. Farmer’s help is, by the way, the old-fashioned word for the work that Ayoub does, but according to him, and we feel that with him, there is something of a derogatory to it. Especially for someone with ambitions. The diligent farmer prefers to call himself a substitute farmer: ‘It’s a term I made up myself. The bottom line is that a farmer can call me if he wants to go on vacation. I literally replace the farmer himself. I would prefer not to work for someone, but I would like to work with someone. I like to stand next to the farmer and not under him; I am very enterprising in that sense. If I wanted to work for someone, I could have also worked at Albert Heijn or Schiphol. I feel more like a leader than a follower. If I have my own farm, I have to do everything myself. That’s why I want to be on an equal footing with the farmer I work with. That way I really find out everything. On every farm I visit, I get different ideas and learn new ways of working. That way I can pick the best from everywhere and put it up soon as a collection of good stuff on my own farm. This is how I hope to run the last modern farm. I look forward to that. Our encounter with Ayoub really begins in the farmhouse kitchen of the impressive dairy farm where we are guests. As he pours coffee, gets coffee creamer out of the fridge and prepares sugar, he begins to answer one of our first questions: ‘I know it’s very difficult to become a farmer if you have to start from scratch. If you are an urban kid with no farming background, you will need to win near the jackpot in a lottery to start or run a farming business. Unless you come from a very wealthy family or are linked with a rich farmer’s wife. Do you know how my fascination with agriculture began? I had a teacher whose husband was a farmer. I asked how much a cow costs. She said that she should look for that. I discovered that a cow costs between 1,500-2,500 euros. Then I went to a farm to count all the cows. I have those dollar signs in my eyes and I chose to train as a rancher.’
‘I discovered that a cow costs between 1,500-2,500 euros. Then I went to a farm to count all the cows. I have those dollar signs in my eyes and I chose to train as a rancher’
Name, accent and appearance
Since he was fourteen years old, Ayoub can be found at various dairy farms to gain experience. His career planning went well, even if the Moroccan idealist was a notable outsider within the education and agricultural sectors. Ayoub immediately noticed that ‘something’ was different when he first wanted to get an internship. ‘I was looking for an internship company and I called twelve companies. Not all”. My name, my accent and my appearance were against me at the time. Some have already hung up upon hearing my first name Ayoub.’ It wasn’t until the thirteenth call that Ayoub heard a different sound. Farmer Jan Wiedemeijer was the first and the only one to say: ‘Come and do your training here’. The experienced dairy farmer’s confidence in the ambitious young dog proved to be justified and Farmer Jan taught his student the trade with all his patience. After his education, the son of two Moroccan parents began working as a contract worker in the world of dairy farming. Ayoub still likes to work at his teacher Jan’s company, where we are also invited today for this report.
It quickly becomes clear to us while we have a coffee that we are not dealing with a capricious young man, but rather someone who has been trying to fulfill his dream of building a life in the agricultural sector for more than ten years. A TV series, an Instagram hit, many interviews, a book about his dream: many farmers like to keep it in the background, but not this passionate farmer. What does Ayoub think about the fact that there is so much interest in him? “I like it though,” he says without hesitation. ‘It’s a bit of promotion for me and also a step on the stairs towards my dream: my own farm. When will that be? If things go the way they are now, I think it should work in the next ten years. The money that comes in, I set aside as much as possible to save. Of course, that’s not going to happen very quickly, so I’m trying to invest a little bit. cryptocurrencies? No man stops, I stay away from it. I once accidentally bought such an NFT, a non-fungible token. A painting was that, to see how much it is worth in ten years. Maybe then I can buy him a tractor. What else do I invest in? There are many guys who want to start their own business and they don’t need much: start a clothing brand or start a bike shop. Then you make a contract with those people and help them with a financial injection to get things going. Then agree on a reimbursement percentage; you will get your money back anyway and earn something with it. It’s a job I don’t have to do. When I hear something good that I can gain something from, I think: that’s where I have to be.’
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