Homegrown: Watch the Sunnyside Farm video here.
At the heart of dairy, is family – the thing that binds and unites people of all creeds, cultures, and identities. There is something deeply sentimental and personal about farming the land your forefathers cared for hundreds of years ago. You can feel their presence as you walk on the freshly fertilised soil, or when you gather the cows for milking. As a dairy farmer, having this foundational support structure is integral to the production of raw milk. Farming is unpredictable; there are many variables that can make farming challenging and arduous. If it’s not the weather, it’s the land; and if it’s not the land, it’s the cows. However, through all of this dairy farmers like Nigel Smith, Owner of Sunnyside Farm Trust, stay committed to their craft and they stay committed to their family.
Family is everything
As a generational enterprise, Sunnyside Farm, located in Creighton, KwaZulu-Natal, has community and family at the heart of its business. Nigel Smith is one of several Smiths to run the land that these farms are built on. His father and his father’s father, all had dairy in their hearts and now, Nigel is continuing the legacy through his son Byron Smith. With such a long familial line of dairy farmers, it is unsurprising that the Smiths don’t only value the family they were born into, they also value the family they have built. Every single person that works on the farm is an active member of the Sunnyside family. Their contributions do not go unnoticed as hard work and devotion are rewarded at this dairy farm.
With nearly 2000 cows, Sunnyside Farm is one of the top raw milk producers in South Africa. Nigel’s wife, Christie Smith, plays a fundamental role in the day-to-day running. She manages the books and makes sure that the company is training and developing their employees to solidify their place in the dairy industry. Byron’s role is to coordinate all of the different elements on the farm, ensuring that everyone is pulling in the right direction. He says that while milk production is the main goal, there are many other factors that must be coordinated in order to achieve the collective mission.