VP Landbouw: A leading light in sustainable agriculture

VP Landbouw is the name of the agricultural company founded in the mid-1940s by the Van Puijenbroek family (‘VP’ Capital), who have continued investing in it ever since. Today, it has become a sizeable mixed farm, combining growing vegetables with dairy farming.

Through VP Landbouw, VP Capital has entered a phase of transition in order to consolidate their position at the forefront of sustainable agriculture. To that end, they have begun the process of examining possible scenarios with Metabolic.

Our mission: to become a more climate-conscious farm

Throughout its history, both sustainability and sustainable progress have been central to VP Landbouw’s DNA. It was one of the first farms to receive the Unilever ‘Landmark Farm’ sustainability label. Every farm has its own story, from its soil and resources to its history and its people. At VP Landbouw, we are currently at a crossroads. Having set ourselves the goal of becoming both CO2-neutral and more financially secure, we are dedicated to producing nutritious food from fertile soil, with a strong emphasis on animal welfare.

We have translated this mission into a manifesto setting out our core values, its four pillars serving as a guide for the coming years, ensuring we all continue to pull in the right direction.

Impact-driven and regenerative

We aim to close the carbon and nutrient cycles, improving soil quality, biodiversity, water cycle and animal welfare without being dogmatic. We are doing this by adopting a systematic approach and using innovative measures that fit into our business operations. This involves looking at methods from precision, organic, circular and nature-inclusive forms of agriculture.

Financially secure

Having a positive impact on people and the planet all starts from having a financially healthy company. We are focusing on the further integration of arable farming, agroforestry and livestock farming, while looking at the performance of the company as a whole, rather than its constituent parts. In order to provide a flexible response to changes in the environment, we are developing diverse and innovative revenue models.

Local and in partnership

We take responsibility for what we do and make positive impacts on a local level, in cooperation with the general public, farmers, other parts of the supply chain and the government. In practice, this means closing cycles on our own land or in the neighbourhood wherever possible, acting as a hub where farmers, nature and citizens can connect.

Pioneering step by step

We are accelerating the transition towards a sustainable food system by being one of the first companies to apply regenerative farming methods on a large scale. This involves a targeted and step-by-step approach. We experiment, watch, learn and adjust, before sharing our observations with other farmers and organisations. Once we achieve the desired effect on the system and it becomes financially viable, we are then able to scale this up.

the domain

arable and livestock farming

VP Landbouw is located in Hilvarenbeek, south of Tilburg, along the Belgian border. Most of the land is leased from the Gorp and Roovert Estate (Landgoed Gorp en Roovert). The rest is owned by the company.

Of our 420 hectares of agricultural land, 175 hectares are used for the production of cow feed (grass, clover, field beans and maize). The remainder is used for arable farming and vegetable cultivation, the two rotating as part of the arable farming strategy.

Originally, the agricultural plots were established at a considerable distance from the buildings in order to protect the nearby vast forests from any possible fires. This combination of agriculture and agroforestry has now become a real asset,  providing for a more varied landscape whose biodiversity is on the rise. What’s more, our crops are less susceptible to extreme temperatures, wind or precipitation.  

Previous
Next

Sustainability

Sustainability initiatives

VP Landbouw’s current sustainability policy is centred around animal welfare, biodiversity, greenhouse gas emissions, use of antibiotics, soil management and conservation in preventing and, where possible, rectifying any negative impacts on the environment. Our use of pesticides, water, energy, artificial fertilisers and antibiotics are in line with environmental benchmark standards. Since 2018, parent company VP Capital has facilitated annual screening with regards to their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) approach, as well as overall impact. This has helped draw up a roadmap towards making our farm more sustainable. Some examples of sustainability initiatives that have emerged from this:

  • Strip cropping
  • Fully electrified irrigation system (60% powered by solar energy)
  • Use of cover and resting crops
  • Field margins with mixed flower crops
  • Use of grass clippings as compost
  • Solar panels
  • Letting the cows graze on the farm’s own fresh grass
  • Animal welfare: annual audit by KoeKompas, followed-up by recommendations for animal health and welfare
  • Innovation fields for testing new ways of sowing and growing
  • The farm is part of the Van Puijenbroek family’s Gorp and Roovert Estate, where almost 800 hectares of trees are used for sustainable forest management.

CO2 Offsetting

VP Capital’s annual ESG screening also calculates VP Landbouw’s CO2 emissions, helping draw up a roadmap of concrete measures to help reduce them, such as installing solar panels.

While we continue working on this roadmap, we are offsetting our carbon emissions every year by purchasing what are known as carbon credits, generated in VCS-certified projects in Zambia and India. As a result, VP Landbouw has been able to declare itself a CO2-neutral company since 2019.

22027_CO2-Neutral label_VP CAPITAL_COMPANY
Previous
Next

Our team

Our team is made up of loyal, driven individuals.

Simon de Brouwer
General manager + Policy committee member
Richard Coppens
Office manager + Policy committee member
Sjef Jochems
Policy committee secretary
Harrie van Puijenbroek
Policy committee member + Gorp and Roovert estate Director
Michel Meerkerk
Policy committee member + VP CAPITAL Financial director
Hans van Mensvoort
All-round employee
Johan Wolfs
All-round employee
Wim van Bokhoven
All-round employee
Roel Brouwers
Arable farming employee
Jan Ketelaars
Herdsman
Joost Broers
Assistant herdsman
Erik van Dijken
Assistant herdsman
Tijn Huijbrechts
Livestock assistant + all-round employee
Joris Timmermans
Milking and livestock assistant
Corné de Brouwer
Dairy cow milker
Lex Pijnenburg
Milking and livestock assistant
Luuk Stevens
Milking and livestock assistant
Reni Syla
Dairy cow milker
Dré Stuijts
Site manager and community service officer (BOA), Gorp and Roovert Estate

Unlike a lot of family businesses, all work carried out at VP Landbouw is done by paid employees. We strive for the utmost efficiency in our work, with a flexible team capable of adapting to all weather conditions. With their keen eye for quality and animal welfare, they are the ones who keep the farm running.

Alongside our permanent team, we also bring in flexible staff on a self-employed basis, or via an employment agency during peak periods.  

Our history

While our farm enjoys a rich and diverse history, the common thread has always been the scientific basis upon which any decisions or adjustments are made.  

From the very beginning, there has always been a drive to continuously improve the welfare of both the cows and the soil. To that end, management has undertaken a number of research trips abroad, even as far as the United States.

Organisation

VP Capital

VP Landbouw is a subsidiary of  VP Capital  in the agrifood sector. VP Capital is the family business of the van Puijenbroek family, a family of investors focused on tradition and driven by making a positive impact. The family’s roots lie in the Belgian town of Sint-Niklaas. Six generations ago, their great-great-grandfather started the HAVEP company, producing work wear in Goirle, the Netherlands. His socially conscious entrepreneurial spirit still guides the family to this day. Today, VP Capital is an investment company with some 50 investments, predominantly in Belgium and the Netherlands, investing in eight different domains:  

  • Energy  
  • Agrifood  
  • Media  
  • Smart industry  
  • Real estate  
  • Health  
  • Water  
  • Textile  

VP Capital invests directly, as well as through funds, in large and small companies, serving as both an active and long-term partner, priding themselves on their active involvement as shareholder in any business they invest in. Sustainability, meanwhile, is at the top of the agenda. Every year, VP Capital publishes a Progress Report in which the entire portfolio is assessed by an independent third party covering progress in the area of sustainability.

Collaboration

Looking for a sustainable agricultural company?