An agricultural toehold

An agricultural toehold

17 December 2020 News from the Company

The students of the first agricultural class organized 4 years ago at Maslyanino School No. 1, Novosibirsk oblast, have finished school. 13 girls and boys, future students of agricultural universities, are confident about their choice of profession. After the university, they are planning to come back to their native village and start working for Sibirskaya Niva.

Four years of intensive practical training and interesting lectures flew by like one moment. The personnel issue in agriculture remains burning, that is why EkoNiva starts preparing its future employees as early as possible. At the agricultural class at Maslyanino school No. 1, students learn the basic theory of farming and receive the invaluable practical training in the areas of crop production, veterinary medicine and herd management under the wise supervision of Sibirskaya Niva specialists.

‘Theory is very important, but only the hands-on experience allows farming specialists to build up professional competence’, says Ivan Poddubniy, Deputy Regional Director of the Siberian region. ‘We show all the opportunities for efficient production available at our company and tell the students about the overall potential of the agricultural industry. A deep insight into our production processes, interesting work alongside the leading experts and mutually beneficial interaction are extremely important to both the students and us.’

Only the most motivated and talented children are admitted into the agricultural class. The students must not only demonstrate good academic progress but have a calling for agriculture.

‘There is no doubt that agricultural work is extremely important’, says Artyom Gunther, one of the mentors and Manager of Penkovo dairy, Sibirskaya Niva. ‘From my point of view, agricultural classes are essential to give children an opportunity to understand that farming is vital to the development of any country.’

On the farm, the students learn about modern farm machines, agricultural crops, organization of working processes at a modern dairy. Specialists explain how to feed the cows and how important it is to formulate a balanced ration. EkoNiva focuses on feed quality that is why all fodder crops are grown in the company’s fields.

‘We place a special emphasis on cow health’, continues Artem Gunther. ‘Students often laugh when we tell them that our cows have a regular pedicure. It might sound funny, but hoof trimming is extremely important for cows. Our dairy beauties do not walk in the fields unlike grazing animals whose hooves naturally rub off. Concrete flooring calls for regular trimming procedures to keep cows healthy and comfortable. Besides, hoof health is essential for reproduction.’

To make the winter easier for calves, the students of agricultural classes make warm and beautiful jackets for them. This creative idea came to Alina Kosogova, a ninth-form student of Maslyanino school, three years ago. She made the first jacket and soon became the key fashion designer of Sibirskaya Niva. Her unique project gave start to the calf healthcare practice now widely used on EkoNiva’s farms – prevention of respiratory diseases in young stock by means of EkoGreen Kits (which are nothing else than calf jackets).

‘I visited Sibirskaya Niva dairy for the first time in winter’, remembers Alina Kosogova. ‘It was very cold, and I thought how miserable the poor little calves must feel! I wanted to keep them warm and healthy. This is how the idea of the EkoGreen project appeared.’

When the first fashionable calf jacket was designed, school students formed a special jacket-making team. Ten girls made several hundreds of EkoGreen kits for EkoNiva’s calves.

‘Agricultural class helped me to choose my future profession’, continues Alina Kosogova. ‘I got a deeper understanding of farming. Now I know for sure that I want to study milk processing at Kemerovo Institute of food industry. After university, I will come back to Maslyanino village to work at EkoNiva milk processing factory.’

Viktoriya Yurko, one more agricultural class alumnus, is going to study agronomy at Novosibirsk Agricultural University. Now the girl is preparing for exams and taking care of her front garden. Except traditional vegetables, Viktoriya grows lavender, sage and myrtle. Viktoria’s favorite plant is jacaranda, a sub-tropical tree native to South America. This plant is thermophilic, that is why in West Siberia it is impossible to grow it outdoors. Viktoriya dreams of creating a new variety of this plant that will be able to grow in the local Siberian climate.

‘Genetics and breeding are extremely interesting subjects’, says Viktoriya. ‘I think it is a fascinating experience to produce new crop varieties. I learned about this at the agricultural class.’

Yesterday’s students have a wide array of opportunities in front of them and an entire life, which they are starting with an agricultural background and a heart burning with enthusiasm!

By Tatyana Ignatenko