News From Ukraine: Dairy operations are still feeling the aftereffects of Russian attacks

Ukraine dairy farmers explain the devastation from the attacks and how it severely hurt their herds.

We want to take the time to check in on farmers in Ukraine as harvest in the country continues. Today, we are learning more about how a local dairy is still facing devastation months after it was bombed.

Latifundist Media has partnered with us to provide boots-on-the-ground coverage:

Agromol Chief Agronomist, Serhiy Yatsenko says, “We are in the village of Czestochowa at the Agromol farm. On February 28th, Russian military aviation deprived business owners of their assets, and workers of their jobs, and killed 2,000 cows. You can see this with your own eyes. Bombs started falling while we were milking the cows. Good thing they didn’t fall on the farm at first, and almost all the people managed to escape. We hid in the cellars and when we came out, the farm was gone,” said Yatsenko.

On February 28th, he and other farmworkers took shelter in the basement, hiding from Russian air raids.

“There were more than 3,000 cows. Of those, 1,300 were dairy cows - that’s 40 tons of milk a day. We had a job, we enjoyed it. It was a true pleasure to work here and now it’s all ruined,” said Yatsenko.

The farm lost more than 2,000 head and despite constant shelling, the bodies had to be removed urgently, as leaving them would’ve resulted in an ecological catastrophe. Workers and villagers worked together to create temporary places where they piled the dead cows. They removed cows from all parts of the farm.

“Cows were everywhere, even on rooftops. When we took the corpses out of the sheds with a crane, we hooked them on whatever we could. There were times when it took two to three weeks to get them out and they just tore into pieces. They died while feeding. You can see the feed. The area had been occupied for a month and in order to save the surviving cows, about 1,000 of them, they were relocated to the Poltava region,” Tatsenko said.

Before the attack, the enterprise had modern machinery and innovative production technologies. It cultivated 25,000 hectares of farmland. Most of the fields are occupied and the rest are mined. Today, there is not a single hectare of farmland that can be cultivated.

The loss from Russian air raids, artillery shelling, and occupation is tremendous. Direct losses, destruction, death of cows, and destruction of machinery add up to more than $30 million. There is no crop production, no possible profits.

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