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Harm Meulenkamp: Farmer and banker

Author: Harm Meulenkamp, Relatiemanager Agri Noord Nederland

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29 June 2021

'It's great when you enter an online class and all the children are sitting there wearing boots. The fact that these children are so enthusiastic about visiting the farm, even when it's a virtual visit, really moves me. It would be even better if we could receive them at the farm and show them where the milk comes from and how chips are made. I love sharing my knowledge with the children and turning farming into something tangible for them. I love to see the surprise on their faces when they discover that they can turn milk into butter themselves. To them, it's magic.' 

Banking for better days 

Together with his colleagues from the Agri team, Harm is committed to the foundation Stichting De Boer. It is important to us that children learn where food comes from and we also try to pass on our love for animals and nature to them. The ABN AMRO Foundation supports this foundation, focusing specifically on children growing up in an environment with fewer opportunities, less money and a smaller social network. The foundation unites parties and facilitates the process with resources and volunteers from the bank. I am a volunteer with an agricultural background, but colleagues from different backgrounds also help out. Together, we are committed to giving the children an unforgettable, fun and educational day. The fact that ABN AMRO supports us with five extra days off, 'Banking for Better' days, feels great and once again highlights the fact that we want to work towards a better world as an organisation. No matter how small the difference we achieve through our efforts.' 

With a passion for the sector 

Harm is a banker and a farmer. Much of his 'free' time is spent on a dairy farm. 'ABN AMRO allows me to be flexible in my role as Relationship Manager. It gives me the opportunity to help out in the family business each day. More often than not, my working days start at 5am and end at 9pm, as I combine the two roles. But I enjoy every hour of the day. Although it's my ambition to take over the company one day, I would prefer to continue combining the two jobs. Under the motto 'boeren voor boeren' ('farming for farmers'), we can actively contribute to the development of businesses in this sector.  

Our entire team includes bankers who know the practice, speak the language and quickly sense whether ambitions are realistic or opportunistic. We visit lots of companies, we have extensive data at our disposal and we can quickly assess whether there is healthy entrepreneurship. If I notice, for example, that the cost of feed is relatively high in relation to the milk production, I should point this out. Sooner or later, this threatens the continuity of the company and that is not in either of our interests. This is just one example, but since we know the sector inside out, we can assist farmers in lots of ways in order to achieve sustainable growth. Working together to create a healthy sector for the benefit of all: banking for better!'

Author: Harm Meulenkamp, Relatiemanager Agri Noord Nederland

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