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I have not made a career out of my hobby
Dr. Anna Catharina Voges, managing director of an agricultural enterprise with 2500 ha, Germany - 900 Vario
I have not made a career out of my hobby

Since her childhood, farming has been part of her life and has made her the person she now is.

Now she herself runs a farm business with 2500 hectares of arable land. Mind you, there is a great deal more that enthuses Dr. Anna Catharina Voges.

She loves city life and everything it has to offer. She needs that to achieve a measure of balance and to achieve a critical distance, as Anna Catharina Voges explains. This slim woman has just run over to her office across the old cobblestones of her farmyard. That office is in a white half-timbered house with grass-green doors. Opposite stands the farmhouse building that is in the process of being renovated. In a light hearted tone, the CEO of Saat-Gut Plaussig Voges KG, a company based here, said "Perhaps I might rent it out for parties". A park starts just behind the historical building. The river Parthe winds its sinuous way through the parkland. A narrow river that flows from the North East through the city centre of Leipzig before, to the South West of the city, flowing into the White Elster. This waterway links life here in the rural suburb of Plaussig-Portitz with life in the city centre. A link that very much reflects the nature of Anna Catharina Voges. That is because this woman lives right in the middle of Leipzig and works here in the countryside.

After her Abitur (the German equivalent of the A levels), she went on to study agriculture.

Dr. Anna Catharina Voges in her office.

Often, Anna Voges travels from her apartment to Plaussig by bicycle. Always down the banks of the Parthe. Nine kilometres. Every morning, at about twenty minutes to seven, she is in the office. In summer, this farmer-with-a-doctorate will already have had a trip around the fields to look at what needs to be done that day to ensure that grain crops, rapeseed, peas and sugar beet can thrive and flourish in the sandy clay ground. "Really, you ought to get out there at least twice a day", she stated in a self-critical manner. However, with the workload of this CEO, that is not always feasible. Nonetheless, she sits at her desk in a good mood, a desk with a good view of the farmhouse. She enjoys her work. Every day at 7 a.m. she issues her employees with their allotted tasks. At 9 a.m. sharp, the first work meeting takes place and, during the season, the second such meeting starts at 2 p.m. Between these meetings, this native of Lower Saxony deals with everything else that the running of a business entails. Anna Voges developed a wish to engage in a career in farming during her youth. That was not an easy decision because, from her earliest years, she was interested in a wide range of things. When just 16 years of age, she passed the examination for hunting. Between times, she gave serious consideration to studying veterinary medicine. "Mind you, that would have been too boring for me", she admitted, and after graduating from high school, she enrolled at the University of Stuttgart-Hohenheim to study agriculture.

The yellow colour of her Fendt tractors is one of the company's corporate colours and it also appears on the logo of Saat-Gut Plaussig Voges KG.
Dr. Anna Voges with her employees, Klaus Golpon (left), Fendt factory official, and Jörg Müller (right), sales advisor at BayWa Wurzen.

Seven yellow Fendt tractors arranged like beads on a thread

Anna Voges grew up as the daughter of a farmer on a familyowned business with 120 hectares in the little Weserbergland town of Hameln. It may be because of this that she now runs her own company, employing a staff of 13, in the manner of a family business. She places great emphasis on having a good relationship with her workforce. Everyone knows one another and their families, and can talk about their good times as well as about their trials and tribulations. Everyone gets together socially at the annual harvest festival in autumn. Her colleagues, her parents and her brother, who now lives in Zurich. In 2008 Anna Voges took charge of the 2500 hectare market fruit-growing business from her father Hans-Otto Voges, who acquired the former State-owned Plaussig plant production business back in 1992. He developed that business and is now passing it on to the next generation. "Especially during my early days in the business, my father was an important source of support, but he was also a tough act to follow, in that he had set the bar pretty high", she admitted. "Mind you, somewhere down the line you develop your own way of doing things. Some things you take on, some things you don't.“ For example, she adopted three decisions in the company, the first being to drive Fendt tractors, the second being to paint them yellow right down to the wheel rims, and then at the end of each day to arrange what at present are seven Fendt tractors from the 900 series on the farm in an orderly row. Like beads on a thread. The unusual yellow of these Fendt tractors is one of the three corporate colours of Saat-Gut Plaußig KG, the other two being grass-green and blue, and it also appears in the company logo.

Every driver decorates his own Fendt tractor to personal taste.
Anna Voges in Leipzig. The city offers interesting cultural opportunities.

Ambition, self discipline and an awareness of responsibility

Anna Voges in Leipzig. The city offers interesting cultural opportunities.

However, she is able to leave the responsibilities of her job behind her when she is back in the hustle and bustle of the city, and also when engaging in her favourite hobby, sport. She goes jogging, in winter she goes skiing and she plays field hockey in a women's team at the Allgemeiner Turnverein in Leipzig. "That's more for fun – I started playing hockey when I was at university", she disclosed. However, the real reason was her cousin, a very successful hockey player. "As a child, I wanted to be able to play hockey as well as him. However, and it is a pity, there was no hockey club where we lived", she said with a laugh. It was there that ambition took hold of her. Ambition is one of her strengths, together with self discipline and an awareness of what responsibility entails. You need these qualities to run a company of this size in a successful manner. "Mind you, I'm not one of those people who made a career of their hobby", she stated and added with a grin: "By which I mean that I can hold a conversation on topics other than farming". While she said that, the lady farmer, who took her doctorate in London, drives her 4x4 through the fields between the motorway and the BMW plant. Her yellow tractors are unmistakable, and can be spotted from a great distance. Marco Weber, a young and very committed employee who completed a traineeship in agricultural services at Saat-Gut Plaussig KG, is currently bringing out the springtime fertiliser. Anna Voges took the decision to take over this company in Saxony while she was still a student. A decision she has never regretted. Leipzig, a lively town with great cultural variety and also with a delightful surrounding area as well as good arable land extending right up to its perimeter offers everything required to meet all the diverse interests of this young woman.