Van Reenen family takes beef business from small scale to international supplier
Lourie van Reenen, founder of Beefmaster, began with a small cattle-feeding business in 1965.
In 1983 he established a small cattle business which is today known as Beefmaster.
When Beefmaster was founded in 1983, it was as a mere feedlot in Kromellenboog, within the district of Christiana in the North West, focused on feeding the cattle. Today it is a leading specialist producer of quality beef products to South Africa, the Middle- and Far East, and beyond.
"We are one of the largest privately-owned beef production companies in South Africa," says Van Reenen.
Beefmaster is involved in the entire value chain, from rearing and farming cattle to delivering meat-based products to customers. This requires many fundamentals that are not traditionally agricultural, such as fleet management of road trucks, earth-moving equipment, cattle health and feed, meat cutting and packaging, and fully-equipped workshops.
"We believe that all cattle breeds have the potential to deliver exceptional beef products. We forge strong relationships with both established and emerging farmers to access a variety of cattle, regardless of breed, helping farmers boost the quality and sustainability of their herds by offering training, mentorship programmes and offtake agreements, amongst others," says Van Reenen.
"Our state-of-the-art technology and world-class facilities allow us to customise and 'produce to order' for some of the biggest players in the food industry. Our traceability system allows us to track and trace our beef throughout the supply chain."
He adds that, in general, operating in the agricultural sector can be tough and unpredictable as there are many factors outside of your control that impact the business. The only way to overcome these challenges is through being prepared, yet adaptable and flexible.
"Our plans are to continuously improve what we do and improve our industry knowledge along with ensuring there is enough supply to meet the demand for meat. We also aim to continuously provide cutting edge innovation within the industry," says Van Reenen.
"We need to ensure that the meat industry remains profitable, a stable source of revenue and employment, and stimulates the growth of commercial and emerging farmers, as it greatly contributes to the economy. It is only by working together that we will be able to achieve this."
He adds that a family business requires immense control and fosters interest in the economic wellbeing of the family.
"At Beefmaster we work together as one big team. This has played a major role in building our small-scale business into a successful corporation. Our employees are part of our family. We take great pride in their achievements and work with them to highlight how every task adds to the bigger picture. We have established a great culture inside the business."