How did Dutch Farm Experience develop?

Later on I was involved in ETC Foudation, a consultancy firm with numerous programs focusing on agricultural sustainability in Africa and Asia through programs, which have now evolved into the Food Different Network. Curious to learn more about the situation of the farmers in my own country, I worked with sustainable dairy farmers in the Netherlands between 2007 and 2011. Here I became aware of the importance of farmers from various parts of the world sharing experiences: the challenges of and practical solutions developed by farmers within both smallholder and intensive systems have more in common than generally thought.

Author of various publications (including films) I became passionate about strengthening holistic livestock development worldwide, through the Natural Livestock Farming (NLF). Since the late 1990’s I became involved into the international network promoting Ethno-Veterinary Practices (EVP) – which later on evolved into the Endogenous Livestock Development network, which linked around 400 experts in livestock development throughout the world.

IN 2011 Dutch Farm Experience was fouded to promote training and tours for international visitors to innovative and sustainable Dutch farm initiatives; providing background info on Dutch Agriculture and relevant lessons for developing countries. Between 2014-2016 Dutch Farm Experience headed the successful exchange program between Netherlands and India, Ethiopia and Uganda, providing alternatives for the use of antibiotics and other chemicals in dairy farming to improve milk quality. Since 2015 this is organized as the Foundation for Natural Livestock Farming (NLF), which counts with platforms in four countries: Netherlands, India, Ethiopia and Uganda. This network is now spearheading and piloting the NLF 5-layer strategy to minimize the use of antibiotics and other chemicals in dairy farming as a One Health approach.

Over the years I have become an experienced trainer, author and mobilizer with clear insights in the challenges and opportunities in dairy development, and a focus on Healthy Cows, Healthy Food, Healthy Environment.


The activities of Dutch Farm Experience are based on the following experience:

Work with international dairy farmersWork with Dutch dairy farmersOrganizing tours to Dutch dairy farmersOrganizing exchange programs

Work with international dairy farmers

For many years I have worked with dairy farmers from various backgrounds, mainly smallholder farmers with dairy farming integrated into a complex land use system. It became my passion to build bridges between local (‘old’) knowledge and external (‘modern’) knowledge. After 12 years of work in Latin America, this has resulted in the book Gracias a los Animales, a manual to be used in (Spanish speaking) agricultural schools and NGOs.

Later on, together with Heifer International I developed a clear guide with numerous practical ways to support smallholder livestock keeping in a book Sustainable Livestock Management for Poverty Alleviation and Food Security, which was published by CAB International publishers in 2012.

In this book a tool called the Wheels of Animal Production and Wellbeing is presented. This tool was further developed as a planning, monitoring and evaluation during the training of veterinarians and farmers in the SAFAL dairy program in Bangladesh in 2016-2017 and since 2018 in the NLF pilot project Enhancing Safety and Quality of Milk in Ethiopia.

Work with Dutch dairy farmers

Between 2007 and 2011 I have worked directly with dairy farmers in the Netherlands. During this period I experienced the possibilities for joint learning between sustainable livestock keeping experts (including farmers!) in the Netherlands and developing countries, and built up extensive network of truly sustainable farmers.

Duurzame melkveehouderij - Op Eigen Kracht

(Sustainable dairy farming – Farmers’ Strength (2008, in Dutch 10 min.)

Organizing tours to Dutch dairy farmers

Dutch Farm Experience was founded in 2011 and since then I have organized around 80 successful visiting programs to sustainable Dutch farmers for groups of professionals, students, farmers, government officials from various countries. The tours are available for farmers, livestock professionals and government officials interested in dairy development from all over the world.

Organizing exchange programs

Between 2014 and 2016 I organized and headed two exchange programs with groups of Dutch farmers and veterinarians on the topic of Reducing antibiotic use in Dairy Farming. The exchange was organized with the Indian centre of expertise on the use of medicinal plants for livestock, the Trans- Disciplinary University in Bangalore. In 2016 the exchange program was expanded to also include Ethiopia and Uganda.

These programs were funded by the in the E-Motive exchange program of Oxfam Novib – and had great impact – see E-Motive impact story on Natural Livestock Farming (2016)

Moreover, two films were made on the exchange activities ;

Green Antibiotics / Groene Antibiotica

Short film (10 min, January 2015) on whole exchange program 2014 on ways to reduce antibiotic in dairy farming, in which Dutch and Indian expertise is combined

Milk dilemma in Uganda

Film (52 minutes) about the international NLF cooperation to address the challenge of resistant ticks against insecticides in Ugandan dairy farming