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The Ukraine Report: Family farm proves you can start a business from scratch

A family of farmers Shevchenko from Andriyashivka in Sumy region proves that it is possible to start a family business from scratch.

Over 30 years, Urozhay Farm has come a long way from 120 acres to the current 27,000 acres, from old tractors and harvesters to new modern machines, from the decline of livestock farming to the opening of new farms.

In 2019, a new high-capacity grain elevator was put into operation. It was completed in 2023 and fully switched to alternative fuel.

“There are four main crops in our cropping system: winter wheat, sunflower, corn for grain and for silage. We grow barley, alfalfa and Sudan grass for cattle feed. We have not changed the system for the last 5 years. We have mastered the cultivation technology, so we always have a stable harvest and profitability.”

Besides crop production, Urozhay Farm has four dairy farms with more than 3,000 head of Simmental and Red-and-White cattle. Of these, 740 are dairy cows. The company also has two breeding facilities. They sell young stock not only in Ukraine but also abroad.

“In 2021, the cows’ productivity on the farm was 1600 gallons of milk/year from the Simmental breed and 2400 gallons of milk/year from the Ukrainian Red-and-White. Then we increased the production. And over the past four years, we have maintained a stable milk yield of 2500 gallons per cow annually for both breeds. Our farm is also renowned for its high calf yield. Every year we have 100-101 calves per 100 cows.”

The farm management admits that livestock farming is rather unprofitable, as the margin on sales is not very high. However, Mykhailo Shevchenko believes it is important that people do not move out of the village but work in Sumy region, close to their families and get well-paid.

That report was powered by Latifundist Media, with USAID support provided through Agriculture Growing Rural Opportunities (AGRO) Activity implemented in Ukraine by Chemonics International. For more information, visit their website or follow them on social media.

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