Farming in a War: Ukraine Pushes On

Farming in a war. That’s something we could only imagine here, but it’s a reality in Ukraine as the war there persists.

“Their farms have been bombed. Dairy farms have been bombed. Dead cows, dead pigs lying all over the place.”

And that firsthand account of what was seen in 2022 comes from Ukrainian farmer and member of the global farmer network Kornelis “Kees” Huizinga.

“It’s just terrible to see. And those guys are not farming anymore, of course. It’s too dangerous there… Ukraine lost like 20%-25% of its arable surface to the war.”

Huizinga has been farming for 20 years in central Ukraine where he grows carrots, wheat, barley, canola, sugar beets, corn, sunflowers, navy beans and raises dairy. He says, so far, he has been rather fortunate compared to other farmers in the war-torn country.

“We only had one rocket in our village. That’s nothing compared to bigger cities or to farmers in the south, east, or north of the country. They’re intentionally bombing civilian infrastructure. They are destroying the electricity infrastructure, and we have a few very big nitrogen fertilizer plants in Ukraine and they can’t work now because they don’t have the electricity and gas obviously also comes from Russia.”

The war put a pause on a decade-long dairy operation expansion Huizinga was undertaking. After several months, he decided to resume those expansion plans, partly out of necessity.

We can’t sell the heifers. There’s no market for them. We can’t export them. We can’t sell our slaughter cows really for a good price. So, our existing barns are overcrowded.

And the other reason he decided to resume the expansion was partly out of optimism.

“Sooner or later this war will be over.”

Source: USDA Radio News