One of the most traditional family farming activities in the eastern Baltic Sea region is hay production, which is the central activity at Valentina and her husband Vladimir’s farm. They also keep cattle and sell dairy and meat products to families in the area. By promoting their products through a popular blog, they have been able to generate both increased economic revenue and a great interest in their ecological products.
“Our dairy and meat products are very popular,” says Valentina. “In addition to milk, cream and cheese we also sell meat products that are rare in the local market, for example domestic duck meat. We have a very good business relationship with nearby farms and they usually buy our hay.”
The farm controls nutrient runoff by fractioning and composting manure, which is then used as natural fertilizer. The farm has also started to install biogas equipment for heating. Biogas will be formed from the fermentation of manure, and when everything is ready, a full-cycle system to reuse manure will be in place at the farm.
Valentina and her husband see many environmental benefits from applying sustainable farming methods, one example being increased wildlife in the fields.
“We know that if we don’t use a lot of chemicals in our farming, we can support the survival of wildlife, including birds and insects like wild honeybees and bumblebees,” says Valentina.
“We live in a very old rural area, and I like that our farmland and other fields in the area are slowly being restored and used again for farming,” she adds.
In 2015, Valentina and Vladimir Galtsova received the national Baltic Sea Farmer Award in recognition of their efforts to reduce nutrient runoff on their farm.
Location: Lamberg village, Sortavala region, Karelian republic
Type of farm: Hay, livestock and dairy farm (66 ha)
Main production: Hay, dairy and meat products (poultry, duck, beef, veal)
Key practices: Fractioning and sorting of manure, use of composted manure as fertilizer, biogas production, educational activities including a petting zoo
National jury motivation: “Valentina Galtsova and her husband support a combination of farming activities, the most important one being hay production, which is critically important for other dairy farms in the area. They also keep cattle and sell dairy products to families in the village and other settlements. The jury values and supports the intention and first steps of environmental management at the farm, including household biogas production and usage, and other actions that follow the ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ principle.”