The Repinskis bought their first goat Sorka to help with their youngest daughter’s severe allergies – as goat milk was said to be a natural cure. Today, her allergies are gone, and the family is operating the largest goat farm in Estonia – with 750 ha of land and 600 goats. They produce organic milk and dairy products and sell them at their own shop in Tallinn and at mobile sales points.
“We produce and market all our products ourselves, which gives us control over the entire chain from producer to consumer,” says Martin. “At the beginning of our farming, we knew that selling milk to intermediary parties is a risk and that we had to avoid it. Independence is only possible when you control all the processes yourself and you have your own strong brand.”
Konju Farm takes many other measures to achieve sustainable farming, including restoration of grasslands for grazing and keeping their animals outdoors. This means that no extra animal feed is needed and thus nutrient input to the overall nutrient circulation is limited. The farm also cooperates with other farmers both in the fields of production and marketing, and works to promote small businesses and rural entrepreneurship.
“Our enterprise is an example of how it is possible, even in agriculture, to start from zero and eventually succeed with nature-friendly high quality organic production,” says Martin.
The farm takes great pride in providing nature education to a wider audience and every year they welcome more than 25,000 visitors.
“We conduct tours, present the operation of our farm and provide an opportunity to interact with the animals and try our products,” Martin says.
National winners of the 2015 Baltic Sea Farmer Award
In 2015, Martin Repinski received the national Baltic Sea Farmer Award in recognition of his efforts to reduce nutrient runoff on his farm.
“Winning this award provides a good incentive to continue on the same track, but also means an additional responsibility as we will be in the spotlight more than before,” he says.
Location: Rausvere küla in northeastern Estonia
Type of farm: Organic goat and cattle farm (750 ha)
Main production: Milk and dairy products
Key practices: Use of manure as natural fertilizer (minimal amount applied), restoration of grasslands, education on environmentally friendly organic farming, promotion of rural entrepreneurship
National jury motivation: "Martin Repinski was selected as the Estonian winner for taking many environmentally friendly and outstanding measures at his farm. As part of a new generation, he has chosen an alternative and uncommon kind of farming in Estonia – goat farming – and produces, processes and markets all the goods himself. He has been oriented towards large-scale organic production practices from the very beginning and his farm was voted the best Estonian organic producer of 2014. In addition to ecological production, he also engages in socially responsible tourism by showing children and young people around his farm."