2013 Ranking The Grower (Green Cultivation category)

Lans became the Ranking The Grower in the Green Cultivation category in 2013. The panel of judges, in particular, looked at energy management of horticultural businesses this year.

Ranking The Grower is an initiative of KAS Magazine, a product of TuinbouwCommunicatie. TuinbouwCommunicatie is also the publisher of GTT Magazine, HortiBiz Magazine, GroenteNet, SierteeltNet, TuinbouwTV, TuinbouwMarktplaats and TuinbouwJobs. The editors search for ‘pearls’ amongst horticultural entrepreneurs based on specific qualifications on a yearly basis. ‘The 2013 Ranking The Grower panel of judges had a very difficult task when having to choose between a number of very different entrepreneurs that all provided the specifics in their own fantastic way to energy saving,’ said Erik Titulaer, Tuinbouwcommunicatie Director and chairman of the panel of judges. ‘Some issues can barely be compared,’ he said. ‘We tackled it broadly with regard to choosing the most energetic grower and we considered different aspects: the history, vision, versatility, driving forces and the ambassador role that this person and company spreads on to the scene. This made the remit of the panel of judges very difficult and, therefore, the results in a few categories may perhaps be surprising.’ Titulaer said that 2013 Ranking The Grower is also a compliment for the Greenhouse as Source of Energy programme. ‘This programme means a lot to the sector and is currently in a difficult position because the Product Board for Horticulture (PT) has been shut down. We want to put the programme, growers and booked results in the spotlight one more time.’

Below the assessment of the panel of judges is given:

Lans deserves to be placed first because the company has a clear vision in which energy savings are a clear key area said the panel of judges. They have been innovating with regard to all types of issues that are related to energy for quite some years now. Lans already had the guts in 2006 to build a closed greenhouse without air windows (Optimakas greenhouse). Energy is indeed saved in this greenhouse, but less than was hoped and the yields turned out not to be structurally higher. Lans refers to the greenhouse to be at the bottom of the line and not a ‘profit possibility’. The crops in this greenhouse, however, did lead to very many learned lessons. The entire sector benefited from this while the weaknesses were at the expense of the company. ‘Everybody learns from their setbacks and especially with regard on how it should not be done,’ said the panel of judges. Much was, for example, learned about the air-conditioning units and the effects thereof on the climate and crop.

The firm vision about saving on energy also emerges from the broad range of other initiatives that Lans undertakes. ‘If they believe in something, it is also quickly tested on usability,’ said the panel of judges. They, for example, are working with agriculturists from Zeeland on a biogas system, the Groene Poort (Green Gate), they try to realise geothermal heat for the two companies in the Oudcamp polder and new technologies are being tested such as dehumidification of the greenhouse air.

2007 Agrarian Entrepreneur

Tomato growers Cees and Leo van der Lans were nominated as the 2007 Agrarian Entrepreneur in Zeist. The panel of judges could simply not ignore the absolute forerunners of economy of scale in greenhouses horticulture. The award does not surprise those who follow agriculture and horticulture issues just the fact that Lans was only awarded the prize now. The panel of judges under the leadership of Aalt Dijkhuizen showed it had, in particular, been impressed by the ceaseless instinct to achieve growth and innovation of the brothers from Maasland. The brothers Cees and Leo van der Lans have together with their sons a tomato business that covers a total of 52 hectares at different places in Westland and Zeeland.

‘Cees and Leo van der Lans are constantly trying to improve the cultivation of tomatoes. Technical developments in the sector often start from this company,’ says the report of the panel of judges. An example of this is the lighting used in tomato cultivation and the building of the Optimakas greenhouse. The Van der Lans were also ahead with operating their own combined heat and power system and lucratively selling electricity through the APX. The sale and lease back structure that they developed together with the Rabobank for their greenhouses a few years ago also aroused much interest.

‘It is important that the brothers are expanding their wings more and more. The status quo is not enough for the entrepreneurs, they are continuously searching for new sales possibilities. In addition, Cees and Leo van der Lans are prepared to share their knowledge with colleagues and they assume their responsibility in encouraging the interests of the greenhouse horticulture sector.’ This last remark mainly refers to the role of Leo van der Lans in the bringing about of Glaskracht Nederland and the merger that followed with the greenhouse horticulture branch of LTO Noord.

Being chosen the Agrarian Entrepreneur is an initiative of the Agrarisch Dagblad newspaper. The sponsors are ABN-AMRO, Gibo Groep and Vion Food Group.

World Salad Grower of the Year 2006

Friday, 3 November, Leo van der Lans and Wilko Wisse van Lans, Maasland, received the trophy of World Salad Grower of the Year 2006 from Astrid Duque, the trade and business adviser for ProExport Colombia, the Colombian Government Trade Bureau. Van der Lans and Wisse received the report of the panel of judges and the award in the Amsterdam Okura hotel where many guests from the horticulture sector from the entire world meet.

The report of the panel of judges states the following: ‘the award that was given to Lans is due to the continued drive to innovate and the introduction of new technologies and cultivation methods. The emphasis with Lans is on searching for cleaner methods to grow and to produce a better quality with a better taste. Lans invests in the area of labour in workload lessening measures while saving on fossil fuels is also paid attention as seen in the investments in the combined heat and power systems.’

The trophy is an initiative of World Grower, a part of Grower, with is the leading English horticultural publication. The award is sponsored by Sainsbury’s and is supported by Horti Media and the Hortifair.