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Farmers and high performance athletes have one thing in common: they must overcome many hard times with perseverance
Ids Postma & Anni Friesinger-Postma, former figure skater and farmer, Netherlands - 720 Vario
Farmers and high performance athletes have one thing in common: they must overcome many hard times with perseverance

About speed skating and milking cows

Ids Postma put away his ice skates nine years ago. Since then he has been operating a dairy farm in Holland. “Farmers and highperformance athletes have one thing in common: they must overcome many hard times with perseverance,” he says.

When he was 30 years old, Ids Postma took over his parents' farm. After all, he was already an Olympic champion in speed skating and had a degree in agriculture. There were 130 Holstein-Friesian, the black and white dairy cows that are bred here in the north, in his stable. Today he has 270. The farm has 10 hectares of grassland and lies only 20 km behind the dike on the North Sea coast in the Dutch province of Frisia. His grandfather bought the farm in the 1940's and later gave it to his son Hylke, Ids father. “In Holland there are many speed skaters, who are farmers or their parents have a farming business,” explains Ids.

“Ice skating is part of our culture. It is the only kind of winter sport that we can do here on our flat land! We have many lakes, kids first learn to skate and then walk,” he laughs. “Almost like in Bavaria,” counters Anni Friesinger. “But there kids learn to ski first,” explains the three-time Olympic champion and 16-time world champion in speed skating. Anni and Ids have been married for three years. Anni Friesinger-Postma lives in Holland and in Salzburg. Born in Bavaria, she grew up with mountains and admittedly likes to travel. She often drives back and forth with their daughter Josephine, born in 2011. As a true Bavarian, she knows all about farming. Her grandmother had a small farm in Inzell. In addition to arable farming, the farm also produced and sold wood from their own forest. Wood-burning stoves were standard at that time. That is why Anni also has a wood-burning stove in their house in Dearsum, Holland. The cafeteria in the Dutch farming business looks like a ski hut, at least in the inside. “I want to build with as much wood as possible, like we do in Bavaria. Even if that is unusual here, because the forests are smaller. In Holland three trees are considered a forest,” jokes Anni. But the Netherlands has other special features. “We have a wonderful landscape and wide open spaces,” agree the Postmas. Salzburg, says the Bavarian, is just the opposite: mountains, snow and cold winters.

Between the farm and the big wide world

Ids is a farmer with heart and soul. As long as he can remember, he wanted to be a farmer. It does not bother him that his workday begins at 5 o'clock in the morning. He has help from Frits Miedema, who has worked for him as a permanent employee for 25 years, an apprentice and, since autumn of this year, a trainee. They are all-rounders. In a farm of this size, they have to be able to do all kinds of work: milking, feeding, taking care of calves, etc. You can set a clock according to their daily routine. Round by round, precisely like in speed skating: first, the cows are milked in a milking parlour with 24 places, then the calves are fed and mucked out. Then an inspection round follows through the new open stall, which was built just two years ago; the dairy cows are visibly content here. It is a laminated timber stable and the first of its kind in Holland.

Everything ready to go. The slurry wagon being hitched

“These kinds of stables are more typical in Bavaria,” says Anni proudly and does not hide the fact that she played a decisive role in choosing the new stable. A contractor feeds the dairy cows silage. Ids gets the grass himself. He bought a tractor for this purpose last year, one that also comes from Bavaria, more specifically, from Marktoberdorf in the Allgäu region: a Fendt 720 Vario. It performs all the important work on the farm. Mowing grass, tedding hay, applying slurry, transporting materials, etc. “It is a strong and compact tractor, just right for the size of our farm. A top brand in the high-horsepower class,” praises the former top athlete.

“When the tractor arrived at the farm, we almost had to create a waiting list. Everybody wanted to drive it,” adds Anni. She knows how to operate it, too. She also has a pilot licence. But she does not have time for that. She is currently working on product development for an inline skate and ski company. As an ambassador for a health insurance company, she makes speeches about a healthy lifestyle and advertises for functional wear. She is often in Southern Germany for this. She commutes back and forth between the farm and the big wide world. And, if asked which she would rather have, a red carpet or rubber boots, she admits that she has a weakness for beautiful shoes, but is not a gala type of girl. “In first place, I am a mother. I would like to spend as much time as possible with our daughter,” she explains.