The number of eco-farms, aimed at the production of natural products, is growing in Ukraine every year. Organic products without chemical additives are highly valued. There are people who move from big cities and create farms. Among them are the Orlovsky, married couple, who got involved in goat farming 8 years ago, and now produce natural cheese, goat milk, and yogurts.
Journalists from Agrocenter spoke to Sergey Orlovsky, the founder of the farm. The farm is located in the village of Pokrovka in the Kropivnitskaya oblast. Before it was created, the couple successfully worked in the advertising industry in Kyiv. However, the idea to go to the village and create a farm came to them separately.
Sergei says, “We were in different rooms, watching television, some TV show. After that, we met and realized that we were thinking about the same thing. We began to work on the creation of the farm. We were looking for a segment with a small competition. That’s why we began to look for animals in Ukraine.”
However, they did not find any good goats in Ukraine, so they bought 105 Saanen goats in Belarus. According to the farmer, they were not the first to bring them to Ukraine.
Reference: the Saanen breed of goat originated in Switzerland, in the historic region of the Saanenland about 500 years ago. It is the result of interbreeding between the local breeds of goats. It became widespread in Europe in the beginning of the 20th century.
The couple got the land for free. Sergei says, “Every citizen of Ukraine can get two hectares of land to use for agricultural purposes for free.”
It was difficult to start, because the couple didn’t have enough knowledge, and they had no one to ask for advice.
The farmer says, “We didn’t have any equipment as well as anyone to ask for advice on how to treat these animals. Even today there are not many veterinarians specializing in goats who are really good at it. Before, there was only one way to treat a sick goat – killing it.”
Nowadays the couple breeds Saanen goats, as well as other breeds of dairy goats – the Nubian, the Alpine, the Lamancha and mixed breeds between these.
In February of 2014, there was a fire on the farm, which affected many animals and farm premises. Farmers are still recovering from the accident. They have 250 goats at the moment.
There is a cheese-making factory on the farm. About 500 liters of milk is processed during one shift. Only goat milk is used for cheese production. Hydrogenation, artificial and synthetic sweeteners, preservatives, flavors, mineralization of products and genetically modified ingredients are prohibited in the production of cheese.
Sergei notes, “A huge part of the population is lactose intolerance so they cannot consume cow’s milk based products. However, this does not apply to goat’s milk – it can be consumed by everyone. Goat cheese can be compared to antibiotics, as they kill pathogenic microorganisms.”
According to the farmer, it was easier to run the farm before, because they had 80% of the VAT returned. Farmers could use this money to buy necessary equipment. The VAT return had been canceled and a subsidy was introduced instead, however not for all types of products.
Sometimes there are problems between farmers and workers. Yes, it is very difficult to find workers in the village who are ready to work even if they receive high wages.
The farmer says, “The whole village has already worked on our farm. They work till noon and disappear. Sometimes, in the morning, my wife and I come to the farm and there is nobody working there so we start to milk the goats ourselves. We offered a lot of money, but it seems like people just don’t want to work.”
The farm is constantly developing, and everyone can buy organic products, made without harmful additives, in the picturesque area of the Kropivnitskaya oblast.