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We must strive to increase the social prestige of agriculture as a provider of people

The agricultural company ZEMOS, as from Velké Němčice in the Břeclav region, led by Zdenek Horák, manages an area of ​​almost five thousand hectares of agricultural land. In crop production, he grows winter rapeseed, winter wheat, spring barley, sunflower, corn and fodder crops. In animal production, the company keeps 1160 dairy cows and 1250 young cattle. It has been operating a biogas station since September 2015.

Zdeněk Horák. Farmers cannot do without respect for the real values ​​of the land and landscape.

| Photo: Pavel Heřmanský/ZEMOS archive

Mr. Director, what challenges do you see facing farmers in future years? And what are the biggest threats to your wrinkles?

Adapting to the current and future “Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union” and its demands is a long-term challenge, sometimes rather a complication and a permanent necessity. But what really worries me is the long-term lack of workers with the necessary structure and qualifications. We really miss them in all agricultural operations. And this despite the constant improvement of working conditions, social background or a number of benefits, including housing, that we are able to offer them.

Source: DIARYSo the lack of work capacity and those interested in working in agriculture does not bode well for the future?

Although agriculture has a shortage of job seekers, it does not differ in any way from other fields across the entire republic. That’s why we welcomed the opportunity to support the Young Farmer competition, and we see it as one of the possibilities to really attract young people to interesting and varied work in agriculture, which also has a future.

As a partner of the competition, do you aim to replace the erroneous image of agriculture in the eyes of the public with a vision of the farmer as a worker in the field of the future, attractive to the emerging young generation?

EARTH as a regional partner of the competition, from this project on, promises a gradual increase in awareness of agriculture as a field of human activity, not only among children and students, but the entire young generation. For the past few years, we have observed even in the countryside that this awareness is gradually disappearing and the relationship with the land and nature is disappearing.

Petr Coufal is responsible for pig breeding in the entire AGROFERT group and also runs the organic farm Farma Boroví

An animal raised in better conditions has a happier life, but also better quality meat

So which steps are desirable to ensure sufficient servicing of agricultural operations and to prepare especially young successors to start a business?

The cause would certainly benefit from an increase in the social prestige of agriculture as a field of human activity. Realizing the connection important to human nutrition, the connection to the landscape as the environment in which we live…

ZEMOS has a wide portfolio of production, from plant to animal to biogas station. Is plant or animal production more promising for our country?

Crop and livestock production are interconnected and mutually supportive: crop production provides fodder for livestock, while livestock production provides organic fertilizer for farmed fields. Therefore, in no case can one of the sectors be identified as more promising for any landscape or country. For ZEMOS, the connection of plant and animal production is an essential stabilizing element from the point of view of protection against price fluctuations and extreme weather conditions.

A modern topic addressed in agriculture, especially cattle breeding and in animal production in general, is animal welfare. What procedures do you have in place and what results does this approach bring you?

We have been working on this topic for a long time with the construction of new stables, including the introduction of technologies. Under this, you can imagine, for example, tempered drinking fountains, stable fans, brush scrapers, which not only make the environment more pleasant for the animals, but are also comfortable enough for the nursing staff. It is not always easy to combine the requirements for welfare and the demands of employees. As an example, I will mention that a much lower temperature is more natural and therefore more pleasant for stabled cattle than for humans. For a dairy cow, it is about 5°C when she feels optimally comfortable. However, for the operating staff, this means working in a very uncomfortable temperature environment. Economically, however, the investment in this area returns to us in the excellent health condition of the farmed animals, also with a positive impact on farming. From the point of view of the sustainability of this production area, it is a very financially demanding, but necessary process.

Director of AgroZZN Jan Bretšnajdr

There are many prejudices about agriculture among young people, says Jan Bretšnajdr

One of your operations is a biogas station. What is the economic benefit for the economy? And is the path of using renewable energy sources suitable for agriculture and its operations?

The biogas station is the most economically stable production area of ​​our operations in the long term. It is definitely beneficial for agricultural operations of our type. Also because, in the production of both electricity and biomethane from the biogas station, we use the by-products of animal production, i.e. slurry and feed residues. The resulting digestate is also subsequently applied as an organic fertilizer without other nutrients to arable land. However, the capacity of our station’s operation is limited by the sowing options.

The main feed for the fermentation process in the biogas station is corn silage. However, corn, as a plant with an increased risk of soil erosion, can only be grown on a limited area. However, the energy self-sufficiency of farms is another good goal of a sustainable approach to agricultural production.

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