The Ukraine Report: Farm found a way to survive in the midst of the war

Every farm has its challenges, but this farm in Ukraine found a way to survive, and even thrive, in the midst of global conflict.

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

The company Sosnova is based in the centre of the country, in three regions: Kyiv, Cherkasy and Zhytomyr. The farm cultivates about 27,000 acres of land. It grows corn for grain and silage, wheat, sunflower and soybeans. The farm also has 1700 heads of cattle, pigs and sheep. It employs 140 people.

“It started as a collective farm. It was in the fall of 1997 when I was elected to head it. The farm was actually bankrupt. To save it, we reformed it into an agricultural cooperative. There were ten co-founders at first, but over time, there were many people willing to sell their shares. So eventually I was alone and set up a private enterprise. We started with 5,000 acres and gradually expanded our land bank with plots from nearby villages. That’s how we grew.”

By employing efficient technologies, Sosnova has the highest crop yields in the region. In 2023, wheat yielded more than 120 bushels per acre, and in good years it exceeds 160 bushels. The average yield of corn was 200 bushels per acre, and sunflowers yielded 60 bushels. Soybeans are grown on sandy soils, where the average yield reaches 50 bushels per acre. “

“Corn is our main crop, and it gives us many advantages: firstly, it can be grown as a monocrop, secondly, it is always in demand, and thirdly, there is no crop that can provide higher yields today: we even got 290 bushels of corn per acre when there was enough moisture. Sunflower is also one of the most profitable crops on the farm. Given this year’s prices, these two crops generated the most profit.”

The farm has its own grain elevator, so all the harvest is stored there. Its capacity is 400 thousand bushels. There are also 1 million bushels of warehouses. In 2020, two modern pellet grain dryers were built. The technical fleet has been fully renewed, with all the equipment coming from the world’s best brands. Despite the war, the farm invests up to USD 2 million annually in machinery.

“Over the past three years, there has been a dramatic increase in prices for all machinery. For example, combine harvesters that cost $7-9 million are now priced at $16-19 million. It is also true for tractors. The coronavirus pandemic and the war have largely driven up the price. As for our machinery fleet, we have enough equipment.”

The farm’s management regularly buys new pieces of machinery to ensure smooth operation and to have a reserve of capacity. Machinery upgrades and growth are a priority for the farm.

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.