1/8 ЗЕМЛИ: Визионеры России. Сельское хозяйство

1/8 ЗЕМЛИ: Визионеры России. Сельское хозяйство

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Where do I start? Hi, I'm Victoria, and here I am, strolling through the train station, eager to find my train for what promises to be the most incredible journey of my life. And yours life too, I think. We're embarking on a journey across our expansive Russia, delving into cutting-edge technologies and connecting with individuals who are convinced that their innovative ideas have the power to positively transform the world. The farms we're discussing today are no longer the quaint, small-scale operations we're accustomed to seeing. They are undergoing their own technological revolution.


What would you choose, a Lamborghini or a tractor? [FEDOR GILMULLIN, GENERAL DIRECTOR OF LAZAREVSKOYE TECH, 3 GENERATIONS IN LAZAREVSKOYE MANAGEMEN] A combine, of course. Why? It costs many times more. DIGITIZATION. TULA REGION. I heard you're a third generation farmer.

Yes, you’re right. This farm, a business, has been around for over 40 years and was started by my grandparents. My grandpa suffered a stroke, and in 2020, completely out of the blue and with no prior preparation, my mom stepped in as CEO and took charge of the company. - You’re 21, aren’t you? - Yeah, yeah. What was the pivotal moment that led you to decide to pursue agriculture after all? Do you remember this moment? I didn't want to farm at all. It didn't look as modern to me as working in the city, for example.

I was attracted to digitalization, modern technologies of some kind. When my mom stepped in, she began introducing the idea, and it piqued my interest. She showed the personal growth opportunities available here and highlighted the positive impact we can make on society and the world at large. I used to perceive farming as outdated, but my mom's innovative approach and the way she tackled things really inspired me. So we began working with what we had. That is, refining the processes that had been in place since my grandfather's time.

Recipes, production—it's all fundamental, it's tradition, it's delicious, and it doesn't need to change. There's a prevailing illusion in the world that earning good money through honest labor is impossible. Well, our company has proven otherwise. KRISTINA ROMANOVSKAYA, HEAD OF LAZAREVSKOYE AGRIHOLDING FROM MANUAL METERING TO INNOVATION: DEVELOPING A NON-INVASIVE WEIGHING STARTUP We don't necessarily chase after super profits, but we consistently generate a very good income.

Three years ago, I unexpectedly assumed control of the company. When I arrived, the production was already well-developed, particularly in pig farming, crop production, and meat processing. However, concerning commercial operations, the marketing department, and other service departments such as legal, finance, and IT, and other service departments such as legal, finance, and IT, Upon observing the situation around me, I quickly realized that I couldn't manage a company in such a state.

It's impossible, it's an illusion that there is management. We've fully digitized our crop production, established robust financial and management accounting systems, and developed a crucial IT service— a proprietary startup. This innovation isn't just for internal use; we plan to scale it both domestically and internationally. They are unique products.

Okay, tell me, what's the innovation of your technology in general? In the livestock sector, we encountered a gap in available solutions that could meet our optimization requirements. So we decided to develop our own solutions in-house. This led to the inception of Lazarevskaya Tech, our startup dedicated to identifying and implementing ready-made solutions to streamline and optimize existing business processes. Lazarevskaya Tech's first project is called "Non-Invasive Animal Weighing". The innovation lies in the method of weighing animals.

Instead of manually placing each hundred-kilogram pig on scales, we utilize smart cameras equipped with artificial intelligence to achieve real-time weight measurement. Our technology is pioneering and many people are unfamiliar with the concept. The goal of this product is non-invasive animal weighing, enabling real-time assessment of both the animal's condition and weight. This can be performed as frequently as necessary by technicians, veterinarians, or economists. What does it do? For me, as an owner, first of all, it gives tremendous cost saving.

Having information about my animals from birth to slaughter allows me to understand their condition throughout their lifecycle. Technology in pork production has not advanced significantly in the last 15-20 years due to the lack of efficient methods for rapid data collection and analysis. Do I understand correctly that this technology is only the first part? What's going to happen next? The solution itself focuses on non-invasive weighing. We developed the first prototype just a couple of months ago, and now we're in the process of implementing it. According to our projections, once implemented across our enterprise, which currently houses 550 thousand pigs, it will significantly enhance efficiency.

Specifically, we anticipate a reduction in production costs of up to 50 million rubles per year. In the future, we plan to further refine and optimize this technology. For instance, we aim to reduce the number of frames needed for accurate assessment. So we are going to focus on data selection, which data are more important and which are less. We want to make the method of non-invasive weighing universal for each enterprise as much as possible, and somewhere by 2024-2025 we want to replicate it for Russian and BRICS enterprises. In the future, the goal of the Lazarevskaya Tech startup is to develop integrated solutions for agricultural enterprises.

We aim to provide livestock complexes with digitalization solutions that they can readily implement upon our offering. We can predict the result that will show up. In addition to livestock, our goal is to integrate more artificial intelligence and robotics to minimize human involvement in agricultural processes. Plus there's a severe staffing shortage right now. I’m proud of our staff who have faced significant challenges over the past three years because change can be very difficult.

Our employees' average age is above 40. Learning at this age, retraining is very hard, but they coped for the most part, and already now we have increased the pace of mastering new technologies. I think it's getting easier and easier now. With the advent of new government standards and regulations, continuous collection and monitoring of animal data are becoming increasingly important.

Therefore, our non-invasive weighing technology is not only useful now but will soon be necessary as these standards become mandatory for all enterprises. For geneticists, this technology will be invaluable, as it allows them to calibrate animals to the most stringent standards. It's the same for veterinarians. With traditional vaccine manufacturers withdrawing from the market, we are now being presented with alternative options. To assess their effectiveness, you need immediate information on how they impact the animals, as adjustments often need to be made swiftly.

This technology's is extremely important. What is agriculture about for you right now? In what ways did your perspective change after you became interested in this? The entire perspective, including the term "agriculture" itself, has evolved. It used to be only farming and hunting to me, something focused on food production. Fields, dirt.

Agriculture doesn't have a very modern image. Nowadays, more and more people are starting to recognize the significance of agriculture and businesses like ours. It's not going to be the way it was. There are digitalization, new tools, new technologies, new machines, and we're adjusting to all of that now. Is it bad? No. It's definitely better than it was.

It's different, yes, it's hard, but it's definitely going to be better. [QI TAO, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF NEW CENTURY AGRITECH, THE FIRST AND LARGEST MANUFACTURER OF DRIP TAPE]: Actually, we need to accelerate digitalization in this industry. Processes are no longer reversible, it's worldwide, digitalization is our future. A professional dream is to liberate people from strenuous manual labor. The UN predicts that the population will reach nine billion by 2050 under the current conditions.

People need to eat, and Russia has 10% of the world's arable land. So I see only bright prospects here. Russia will not only feed people worldwide with its abundant resources but also through the introduction of advanced technology, providing environmentally friendly products to nourish people globally. I wonder if the cow that provided the milk for this cheese was happy? TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATIONS If you rewind back to when I attended farm school in Germany, we were still taught that cows were simply machines used to produce milk.

But thank goodness that time has passed. By now, I think everyone realizes that cows are first and foremost animals. STEFAN DÜRR, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF ECONIVA GROUP 3500 TONS OF RAW MILK PER DAY. THE LARGEST MILK PRODUCER IN RUSSIA. It's not like a device that you can switch on and off, handle however you want, or hit with a hammer. The crucial point remains that a cow is still an animal with its own soul and character, along with its own strengths and weaknesses, much like any other animal. We realize that only a happy cow can give proper milk.

What does a cow need today? It needs safety first and foremost, so the wolves don't eat it and so on. It requires... nourishment and interaction with its herd, that is, other cows, as in any society, there are hierarchies, with some being more dominant than others. Every cow has to find its place.

And it's important for it to have a consistent life, one that remains stable and unchanged. Tell us in detail how the farm is set up. What elements does it have? How many cows are here? How many people work here? One farm is structured in such a way that during the main times of day and night, the cows are here, eating and resting in the sandy areas scattered throughout. Sand, similar to that found on the beach, is provided to make them feel comfortable.

They chew on something as a cow eats everything twice— chewing it thoroughly. Additionally, three times a day, or rather three times within a day, they head to the roundabout. Animals know their time. Every eight hours, each group lines up separately, eagerly waiting their turn to be let in for milking.

It heads to the milking station, gets milked, and then returns here to resume eating. While it’s being milked, fresh feed is laid out, manure is cleaned, and fresh sand is spread around. The herd consists of a total of three and a half thousand...

...milking cows. And there are about 120 people working here. We raise the calves ourselves too, you've probably seen it. So, for the first two and a half months, the calves stay in small houses, and then they are grouped into sets of 12 calves as they continue to grow. Your principle is "From field to counter," as far as I know.

Tell me more about what that means? If you look at it now, it's not so easy to see. There is alfalfa that grew here in these fields. There's corn here from these fields that are close by. Here are soybeans that are not from the Moscow region, but from the Voronezh region, from the Kursk region, from our farms.

There's barley here that comes from these farms. We meticulously clean everything, preserve it, and calculate the ration, ensuring it's balanced just like for a human, with the right amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and other nutrients. We produce it ourselves and feed it to the cows. Manure will also go back into our same fields again, which provides organic fertilizer.

Then, the milk we collect from there is taken to the milk factory, where it's processed into cottage cheese, cheese, milk, yogurt, and kefir. We handle the entire production process there. I should also say that our milk is more protein-rich. It takes two or three hours to deliver milk from here to the factory. The milk that's being milked now will be in the store tomorrow morning. We strive to produce our products in a more natural way, ensuring that the quality we achieve here is maintained all the way to the consumer.

We have started working for exports too. Russia has a very promising market, and it's arguably hard to find natural milk produced to the same standard as it is here. We see now how our milk is being liked in China. They don't have that ability to produce like that.

Looking ahead, I believe our milk will continue to make its mark in numerous foreign markets. The term "happy cow" has evolved beyond a mere advertising slogan; it now represents a meticulously designed system of data collection and recording aimed at enhancing animal welfare and optimizing production efficiency. Farmers are super conservative guys. I mean, why do we even see the Windows 95 interface in the first place? Because if something works, why change it? There are numerous risks, stresses, and a significant level of mistrust associated with introducing innovations.

OLEG KHAKHUNOV, FARMER AND HEAD OF THE KUZMINSKY FARM OWN HERD MANAGEMENT SYSTEM POWERED WITH AI 50,178 ANIMALS IMPROVED MILK PERFORMANCE Initially, the implementation started by finding close friends who were loyal to us, showing them how it worked, and saying: "Guys, it works for us, try it." People tried it, they said: "Yeah, man, that's cool, we're ready to implement that in ourselves and work with it too." That's the biggest challenge, which is to break people's mistrust and offer them a glimpse of a brave new world. I decided it was a cool mission to try to blend the two fields, IT and agriculture, together. ALEXEY KHAKHUNOV, FOUNDER OF DBRAIN AND NEURAL NETWORK EXPERT OWN HERD MANAGEMENT SYSTEM POWERED WITH AI 50,178 ANIMALS HAVE SHOWN IMPROVED MILK PERFORMANCE.

We've developed agricultural products that incorporate cutting-edge technology, some of which are still in-house prototypes while others are already available in the market. We've developed our own herd management system called Arka. A herd management system is a software that tracks and manages all the information about every cow on the farm, allowing for comprehensive control of all processes. It automatically identifies which animals require vaccinations, insemination, or transfers, and provides instructions to the staff on the farm accordingly.

If we're talking about a herd management program, the daily routine starts first of all by putting some data into it. So, every day, we gather a summary of the farm's activities, and the foremen record what occurred on the farm during the previous day or night at their respective workstations. Like which calf has calved. We need to report when a cow gives birth to a calf, assign it a number in order to keep precise records of its pedigree. Next, veterinarians and foremen receive the work schedule for the next day. They understand which animals they need to move and where according to protocol.

Initially, we create work protocols, and then the local staff members implement them accordingly. When dealing with numerous factors and a vast amount of data, that's precisely where machine learning comes into play. It's essentially designed to predict those metrics.

In addition, we, for example, want to predict on the farm how many liters we will milk for the next year. The second part of our IT solution involves robots that handle tasks such as milking cows and distributing feed to them, providing a market-ready solution. We are a family business. My father started it and now we are continuing it. VLADIMIR MIKHAILOVICH KHAKHUNOV, THE CHAIRMAN OF KUZMINSKY, INITIATED THE FARM WITH JUST 50 COWS This endeavor is a collective effort, requiring our shared investment of time, attention, and energy.

I think we're doing really great. In most things, it's not so much the state that matters, it's the trend that matters, that is, it's where they are changing to. I think the main indicator that we have in our farming industry is that it has an annual trend of getting cooler and cooler every year. I mean, if you look at it five years ago, we milked a lot less, we cleaned a lot less, the equipment was older, we paid people less. The difference was significant— not 1-2%, but tens of percent.

Russia is a leader in this area, and I think that Russia's volume in terms of both percentage and volume will increase. KOSTROMA REGION, VOLGORECHENSK ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY Now there's going to be shock content. At least that's a revelation to me. One, fish is part of agriculture. Second, fish are milked. We are now at a point in the development of the enterprise where we are bridging the past and the future together. ANTON ZIBROV, CO-OWNER OF THE VOLGORECHENSK FISH FARM LEADER IN STURGEON FARMING AND BLACK CAVIAR PRODUCTION IN RUSSIA We’re specifically implementing new technologies to transition our fish farming operations onto land.

We’re now employing environmentally friendly technologies characterized by a high level of cultivation intensity. These are ground plant technologies. In fact, this is the future revolution in aquaculture because it minimizes the external factors that affect fish farming, such as weather conditions, some kind of biological safety, because it’s dangerous to farm fish in open water from the point of view of biology. You can introduce disease into the water body, or it may occur naturally, beyond your control. I have a question that everyone is wondering about. Why is black caviar so expensive? [VYACHESLAV BALDIN, GENERAL DIRECTOR OF THE VOLGORECHENSK FISH FARM] The easiest way to understand is...

Before a larva, then a minnow, emerges from the egg, we have to wait seven or eight years for a sturgeon to produce its eggs the first time. Throughout this time, we've been nurturing, feeding them expensive feeds, and undertaking other labor-intensive tasks in the process. Why can't there be some kind of mass production to make black caviar available to as many people as possible? First and foremost, sturgeon is a red-listed fish, and the true value of its caviar lies not only in the considerable labor and resources we invest to cultivate it, but also in its scarcity. In terms of affordability, our ability to influence lies in the adoption of new technologies aimed at reducing the cost of producing and cultivating sturgeon, thus making the caviar more accessible. We realized that the market for black caviar is small. There is no market prerequisite for increased purchasing power.

I've heard of fish being milked. Is this true, and how does it even work? Well, this is a common term, that people use. But it's actually called intravital obtaining of caviar. What does that mean? During the egg collection process, we don't harm the mother fish; we simply gather the eggs when it's ready, and then release it to recover and regain its strength.

One of the primary focuses for advancing the enterprise further is the utilization of modern technologies for cultivating commercial aquaculture, particularly in the form of large trout, weighing in at 3.5 kilograms or more. To achieve this goal, we acquired technology from overseas, successfully localized the production of this equipment, and are now commencing the construction of our own state-of-the-art farm. Over the next five years, this facility aims to supply the market with over five million kilograms of marketable fish.

China has 7% of the land but feeds 22% of the world's population. Russia ranks fifth globally, boasting vast resources. However, there is considerable untapped potential that could elevate Russia to a leading position in the agriculture industry. Organizing work on large agricultural areas poses significant challenges, while small farms typically operate on limited land. It’s much easier to manage and organize such work. I believe that small farms, they are more flexible.

INTELLECTUAL APPLICATIONS You're a shining example to me that there is life outside of metropolitan areas. We started the farm in 2014. It was Daniel's idea. We wanted to grow a new product. [OLGA KOROGODINA AND DANIEL LAWRENCE, CO-OWNERS OF SUPERFOODFARM] We got very interested in the process, because it allowed us to apply all of our knowledge, incorporating elements of science, physics, chemistry, engineering, and business. So we don't like to call ourselves farmers or businessmen, more like entrepreneurs.

We have our process set up so that we always have products in our refrigerators. We have our own packaging that allows the produce to stay fresh. So, an order is compiled for the customer and then shipped out. The farmer himself won't directly engage in retail; it's quite challenging and distracts from his main processes.

ILYA YELPANOV, FOUNDER AND CEO OF EAT RUSTIC CREATED A SYSTEM TO DELIVER FARMERS' PRODUCE TO CITY DWELLERS Our task now is to refine this model to ensure its effectiveness for all participants, and only then can we scale it. How do you make a farm product in a price range close to mass-market? Yes, it will never cost as low as an industrial one, but there shouldn't be a difference of one and a half to two times. Our main task now is to collaborate with our farmer partners to optimize logistics processes, forecast volumes, and explore digitalization opportunities to collectively reduce production costs.

Even a small farmer will need technology. These are, for example, the right applications that he can use in seeding, in planting. There are huge technologies that help drive and so on. The small farmer doesn't need it. I think the buyers probably don't really care much about it either. They want to know their farmer, know him by sight, know his name and from whom he bought his produce.

That's more important. Just like restaurants want to work with a farmer, not a robot. New-generation farmers are championing agriculture as more than just a livelihood; it's a lifestyle. They advocate for healthy food, sustainability, and a harmonious balance with nature. We built a bridge between the farmer and the big city dweller. We streamlined the process so that customers could order products through the app and have them delivered to their door the next day.

And it was as competitive as mass-market. Our main process involves the application, where customers place orders, followed by confirmation in their personal accounts. Then, the products are delivered to the hub, undergo quality control acceptance, assembly, and packaging.

Finally, the last mile involves delivery to the buyer's doorstep. It will become the norm to visit a supermarket and find products from both well-known national brands and local suppliers on the shelves. It's not there now, but I'm sure it will be in the horizon of a few years. Many large companies are now placing a strong emphasis on high technology, including drones and various computerized systems.

But everyone forgets what agriculture is all about in the first place. It exists to feed people, and people need jobs. I mean, if everything ends up being taken over by robots, I'm not sure what options people will have left.

We have a slightly different principle. We believe there should be more small farmers growing cool quality product. We're in the kitchen of the future. Here we'll be making a plant-based burger, but we'll be using farm-to-table products that I've brought from around our country. I think it's very symbolic. FOOD OF THE FUTURE Anton, before coming to your kitchen, I did a little experiment on my parents.

My dad said that under no circumstances would he try a plant-based patty because he thinks it's a chemical mix. These are common consumer stereotypes. We’re now producing a brand new product. It’s almost indistinguishable from meat in taste and appearance, which is the main concern for meat consumers. It's easy to make mistakes in a blind tasting, and we continually check this, especially in saucy dishes or composite dishes like burgers.

What is this cutlet made of? This particular cutlet is composed of three types of vegetable protein: pea protein, rice protein, and soy protein, with the latter providing a texture akin to vegetable fiber. We shape our cutlets by incorporating vegetable fiber for healthiness and digestion. Additionally, we add three types of vegetable oils— canola oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil— for richness of flavor and texture. We use natural dye sugar coloring and flavoring additives to ensure a purely natural taste. No synthetic flavorings are used in our products. We've dedicated two years to perfecting the flavor profile of these cutlets.

Our goal was to achieve grill notes, meat aroma, and meat flavor. To accomplish this, we meticulously combined ingredients such as onion and garlic powder, coffee extract, and many others. - It sounds very natural. - Yes.

We have asked ourselves... ...a simple question: what are the challenges facing the food industry worldwide today? We have formulated three such challenges for ourselves— food availability, ecology and environment, and health. SERGEY IVANOV, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF EFCO. INNOVATION IN FOOD And we told ourselves that if our products could meet all of these challenges simultaneously, then there's a good chance we'll secure a place in the future.

We must qualitatively improve people's lives. These technologies need to be friendly to the environment and affordable. At least, to be affordable rather than premium in the future. At first we were targeting vegans, vegetarians. Then we came to realize that we actually have a much broader spectrum of consumers. These are the ones who are interested in new trends.

These are the ones who are held back from meat for various reasons. Most interestingly, some of our most consistently appreciative customers and partners are meat restaurants and burger joints . The breakthrough probably came from how we could manipulate soybeans or peas, texture them, and achieve a state very similar in texture to ground meat.

In principle, sausage makers, those involved in meat processing, have long used soy isolate. However, achieving an analog of minced meat became possible only about three years ago. The second is flavoring. This is probably the major innovation at all in plant-based meats. By combining ingredients such as garlic, onions and dill and carefully blending the flavors, we have succeeded in creating a taste reminiscent of meat stock.

Do I understand correctly that we're not trying to replace natural food, but to supplement it? For instance, in the coffee sector, plant-based milk is steadily replacing the traditional dairy milk we are accustomed to. This shift is driven by the wider range of flavors of plant-based alternatives and their stability for creating intricate latte art. The same, I believe, will happen in areas where plant-based meats are emerging. While our cutlet is almost ready, I'll prepare the vegetables.

Pass me two tomatoes, one cucumber, one pepper, please. And we collected farm products from all over Russia from our heroes to make this burger today. What's particularly gratifying is that innovation and tradition don't contradict or nullify each other in any manner.

Why are we doing this? Producing a food unit from products cultivated on a field, in a barn, or on a poultry farm requires a certain amount of energy. Modern innovative products allow for the creation of flavors that are virtually indistinguishable from natural meat products. This is achieved by using alternative natural ingredients, primarily of vegetable origin, which significantly reduces raw material and labor costs.

The African continent is home to one billion people, a number projected to reach four billion in the future, and meat consumption is expected to rise to at least 250 million tons. Today, the entire world produces 350 million tons of meat. So we'll need to compensate for it somehow, and plant-based alternatives are the simplest, most straightforward solution. How long do cutlets usually take to cook? The cutlet is cooked for about 10-12 minutes. The readiness of the dish is primarily determined by the crust. Can you confidently distinguish it from meat now? No.

No, just as crispy, just as appetizing, just as plump. And it's a very pleasant aroma. We have 8 billion people in the world. Half of them live and eat well, consuming approximately 900 kilograms of food per year, of which half is discarded. It's the urban population; they are concerned about healthy eating, not gaining weight, having a healthy lifestyle.

The other half eats only 300 kilograms a year. If the first group consumes 3,000-3,500 kilocalories per day, the second group consumes only 1,500 kilocalories per day. For this half of humanity, the task is simply what to put on the plate, and these two worlds don't understand each other at all. Demographers predict that 10 billion people will inhabit the Earth. But, how much food will those 10 billion consume? It's delicious. This is our answer to the challenges of the future.

Searching for the main issues in the food of the future and technology, the key lies in how to solve the problem of feeding humanity with delicious, healthy, nutritious, and accessible food, produced in harmony with the environment and nature. Imagine a world where food not only nourishes but also revitalizes your body. New consumer trends and the pursuit of sustainability require new solutions. We need to rethink how we produce, process and consume food.

[RINALDO MALLAMOV, PIONEERING FARMER AND AUTHOR OF THE NOMADIC FARMING TECHNOLOGY "RINA EL DER"] Let's look at animals and birds in a different way. Thinking of animals as pieces of meat is like thinking of an apple tree as wood. An apple tree holds value for us because it yields apples, not because it will eventually serve as firewood at the end of its life.

It's the same with animals. It's not meat that walks on legs, it's much more valuable. These are employees, they have their own group dynamics, they're alive, it's a living ecosystem. So we're reaching a point where there's a shift towards retraining specialists in agriculture, exploring new specialties like ethology, where emphasis is placed on understanding animal behavior rather than just biology. This is why I call the topic rangeland ecosystem re-engineering. At the core of my ecosystem lies not just a nomadic approach focused solely on feeding the animals.

It's the approach of someone who looks at it from a slightly different perspective, from a universal perspective. Because it's not just about feeding the horses grass; it's more crucial to nurture the soil so that earthworms and other soil organisms thrive, resulting in abundant grass growth. This abundance of grass sustains not only the horses but also the entire ecosystem. So this approach and ideology have become ingrained in my farming ethos, and that's why the central slogan on my farm is "My primary employees are animals and birds."

There are specific types of grasses in the field, and it turns out that certain herbivores have one type of stomach, while others have a different type of stomach. So each herbivore grazes on a different kind of grass while in the field. The researchers before me conducted surveys on these herbs, identifying which ones were being consumed by which animals. It turns out that this ecosystem isn't like a table where only one species of animal can exist. There, different species of animals can coexist in the same space, feeding their young, and there's enough for everyone. This still doesn't mean that humans should withdraw from the ecosystem.

The laws of nature are consistent everywhere, and it's fascinating because we can replicate and redesign these ecosystems accordingly. The contemporary pasture ecosystems and methods demonstrate that the current Arctic territories can sustainably support food production for at least 200 million animals without exerting pressure on the environment or risking ecological collapse. Russia has the capacity to comfortably host at least two hundred million head of cattle within its vast territories, positioning itself as the world's foremost supplier of beef and other herbivore-derived meats to the global market. It presents both a challenge and a tremendous opportunity for our nation to not only address a pressing issue but also wield considerable influence on the climate agenda. Because the pasture ecosystem has the potential not only to sustain these animals but also to restore the permafrost to its natural state, thereby lowering temperatures and reducing methane emissions into the atmosphere.

This places Russia in a position to significantly influence the climate agenda. KRASNOYARSK TERRITORY BREEDING AND BIOTECHNOLOGY I really love agriculture because to me, of all the businesses we have, it's the most vibrant. ANNA GERMAN, CO-OWNER AND DIRECTOR OF MALINOVKA GIFTS AGRIHOLDING SEED PRODUCTION—FULL CYCLE OF PRODUCTION, INCLUDING DOMESTIC SEEDS Because in this business, your mind is not enough. For things to happen here, you need to be co-tuned with nature, with the weather, with the people. When we decided to venture into agriculture and cultivate potatoes, we encountered a challenge: there was a lack of seed material available in Krasnoyarsk Territory and the surrounding areas.

At that time, nearly 90% of the seeds available were sourced from foreign suppliers, prompting us to initially import our seeds from Germany. But we concluded that such logistics would hinder our progress. Therefore, we made the decision to focus on multiplying and developing seed farming within the Krasnoyarsk region. Tell us, why did you decide to go into the family business? I know you had other plans. [VYACHESLAV GERMAN, ASSISTANT HEAD OF THE SCIENTIFIC LABORATORY COMPLEX OF MALINOVKA GIFTS AGRIHOLDING, SECOND GENERATION IN MANAGEMENT] It just happened.

I have led a rich life path, but what truly tipped the scale was when my father and mother expressed their need for trustworthy individuals who could actively contribute to their ambitious growth plans. That's when I said: "Why not?" We aim to transform agriculture into a distinguished brand, shedding its association with dirt and positioning it as something upscale, trendy, and prestigious. For instance, imagine an ordinary girl walking down the street. On one side, a Lamborghini pulls up, and on the other, a combine harvester approaches. Despite the Lamborghini's value of 20 million and the combine harvester's 60 million, she chooses the Lamborghini. When the girl chooses to get into the combine in this thought experiment, it illustrates the brand's goal: to make agriculture cool and desirable.

I was also very much inspired by the idea of engaging young people. Agriculture transcends mere land labor; it represents a vast and promising enterprise where individuals can truly find avenues for self-realization. We have an incredibly diverse array of tasks that require the talents of young individuals who can find their place here, express themselves, and contribute to this beautiful narrative of creativity and innovation.

[RUDY MEDINA, SOFTWARE ENGINEER AT THE SCIENTIFIC LABORATORY COMPLEX OF MALINOVKA GIFTS AGRIHOLDING, ORIGINALLY FROM PERU (HOME OF THE POTATO)]: I work as an automation engineer at Malinovka Gifts. Currently, I'm doing research on potatoes. Here I automate processes to improve the quality of the potatoes. We are currently in the process of gaining a deeper understanding of potato cultivation by leveraging technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, Big Data, and others. Because of that, we have developed our own system and databases to manage and analyze the data effectively.

The winter is the most active period for our lab because Russia's climate limits agricultural activities to short seasons between cold and warm periods. Therefore, it is during this time that the lab is primarily focused on research and development. We automate processes and conduct new experiments during this time, aiming to implement successful findings in our greenhouses later on. We can't experiment in a very large area like in greenhouses of 100, 200, 300 square meters, so we experiment in Agro boxes, in boxes with a small number of samples, which we can then reproduce in our greenhouses.. We want to make them more resistant to the cold.

Given the frequent temperature changes associated with climate change, it's imperative for us to conduct research aimed at enhancing the sustainability performance of potatoes. How can we do that? Thanks to machine learning, artificial intelligence, Big Data and everything that the field of agriculture uses. What's our attitude towards potatoes, usually? Indeed, one might think that a product like potatoes, which can be stored in bags in the basement or buried in the ground at the dacha, would be simple. In our everyday perception, it's a product that seems to require little additional attention.

If we suddenly discuss this seemingly simple product in the context of a laboratory, the mind immediately envisions something different. What can you do in the lab with potatoes? Sure, it could be genetically-modified or something. [MARIA NOSKOVA, SENIOR LABORATORY ASSISTANT AT THE SCIENTIFIC LABORATORY COMPLEX OF MALINOVKA GIFTS AGRIHOLDING]: Almost every plant on Earth is capable of reproducing naturally through vegetative reproduction. Just cuttings, it's called vegetative propagation. We're essentially leveraging the inherent capabilities of plants, scaling them up through technology.

This approach has spurred a significant trend in agriculture, particularly well-developed in Europe. Now, we're starting to grasp and apply it in our own production and agricultural practices. Before we delved into potato production, like many others, we used to think of seed potatoes simply as small potatoes. But in fact, seed potatoes are budded in an Invitro tube using microclonal propagation technology.

So, we take a healthy plant of the desired variety, and in sterile laboratory conditions, under a microscope and using a scalpel, we carefully separate the bud. and then place it in a special medium in a test tube, where it begins to germinate. Eventually, a micro-plant emerges, which we then transplant into flower pots.

From these greenhouse-grown plants, we collect our first harvest of mini-tubers. After storing these mini-tubers, we plant them in the ground the following year for the first time, resulting in the first field generation. We store them, next year we plant them in the ground, get super elite ones, store them, don't sell them. It's all about seed multiplication. Then, in the subsequent year, we obtain the super elite seeds, and only the elite seeds are sold to agricultural producers, who then plant them.

It's only in the sixth year that consumers get the opportunity to purchase food potatoes in stores. Microclonal propagation is in no way a GMO. What is GMO? This is when you take a foreign gene and force it into some organism, into a DNA sequence.

The nature, properties, or characteristics of the product undergo changes as a result of this process. For example, tomatoes become blue. We don't directly manipulate the DNA structure; rather, we harness the natural potential for reproduction. The technology enables us to scale up reproduction significantly, allowing us to obtain 100 thousand plants within the winter period and up to 200 thousand plants in just three or four months.

This process is conducted in test tubes under sterile conditions precisely to prevent any infections from contaminating the plants at this critical stage. It's just virus-free reproduction of potatoes. Why would potatoes need a PCR analysis? Everything is quite simple.

People are willing to give very large sums of money to purchase a purebred, beautiful Maine Coon or Doberman. It's the same here with potatoes. Potatoes are susceptible to various diseases and viruses that are unique to them and do not affect humans.

These diseases can hinder their development and reduce yields. It's accumulating pathogens. Our job is to perform PCR analysis and identify the healthiest tubers.

Currently, we produce approximately 30 potato varieties, but we primarily focus on producing and selling around 10 of them. The remaining 20 varieties are undergoing varietal testing. We purchase seeds, plant them, observe how they perform in our climatic conditions, and then select the best ones. To truly understand and familiarize oneself with a variety, it typically requires consistently growing it for three to five years to observe its behavior in various conditions and its storage properties.

I really want to change the culture of potato eating. Over time, our consumers will start to discern the distinction between potatoes suited for frying and those for boiling. They will come to understand that there are table varieties and technical varieties. And that's why marketing your own potato varieties is such a big challenge. We had two female students working for us in the spring. They arrived to our farm and asked after lunch: "Vyacheslav, where is Green-Green around here?" Green-Green is our local coffee shop chain.

At first, I chuckled, but then I pondered, why indeed don't we have something like Green-Green here? Why isn't there a service industry to introduce that aesthetic to people? Agritourism. Agritourism, right. We aim to instill aesthetics in agriculture and in the lives of the people who surround us here. It's somewhat like small villages here, but we aspire for it to transform into a hub for young people, specifically a cultural and educational center.

AGRICULTURAL PROGRAMS [DMITRY CHEREPKOV, FOUNDER OF THE YASNOPOLYE ECOPARK, CHAIRMAN OF THE COUNCIL IN THE ASSOCIATION OF PRIVATE FORESTERS AND FOREST OWNERS]: It might sound utopian, but I believe that agritourism could serve as a significant element in revitalizing life across many Russian territories. We need to divide the approach in the country into two such segments. In regions like the south, agriculture can indeed be highly profitable. There are territories that were involved in agriculture during the Soviet era with subsidies, but now the situation there is very risky. It can be profitable, it can be unprofitable. But this instability, it very much spoils the interests of investors.

But there are people living there in those areas. Agriholdings might not find those areas as appealing, but small farms can be quite interesting because they help revitalize the area. They will certainly contribute to the area if they receive support, perhaps through initiatives like agritourism. They will make money, and it will draw people to the area, and the area will come alive. Its own identity will emerge.

We've been practicing hosting farm dinners. It was actually very cool, very fun, very motivating to have people who live in the city come and be like ""Oh, so that's how peppers grow! We've never seen Brussels sprouts before!" In fact, it's such a multi-faceted experience for them. The chef cooked for them using these products, and they listened to the history of the farm, seeing firsthand the produce they consume in this restaurant and learning about how it was grown. That was cool.

We even have now the concept of rural tourism in the legislation, which connects tourism as traveling to the agricultural producer. There is a business opportunity here, which larger farms could also consider exploring. It's an opportunity to share more about yourself in some way. Not solely for profiting from agritourism itself, as its revenue may not compare to their overall turnover, but rather as a means to promote themselves through agritourism.

It's a chance to showcase their ecological practices and vibrant operations, serving as a valuable marketing strategy. I see a very big future for agritourism. People in Russia are interested in agriculture, they're interested in the countryside and they're interested in their country.

Russia boasts an abundance of picturesque rural areas that captivate people with their unique cultural charm. And many, many people like it after all. Many visitors, I'm sure, would be inclined to stay when they visit our farms or other similar establishments.

These are the same emotions one absorbs when visiting any rural area, and they are amplified when visiting farms with animals. These are the emotions that people who never go out of the city might be missing. For smaller farms, of course, it's also a good help.

They can put up a couple of guest houses and host a small number of guests. It's such a very kind, very small, cozy business. Agritourism helps us to implement it all. So, it's a concept that combines tourism with agriculture, where visitors can experience and witness farm life, see tractors in action, observe herds of cows, and immerse themselves in the agricultural environment. Anyway, it's very much alive, it's not contrived, that's how it happens. A cow just passed by here, we can see its footprints.

The future of agriculture lies not just in individual elements but in entire ecosystems. These ecosystems will involve a crucial interaction with nature that isn't only safe for the nature but also proactive. They are actively changing the wildlife ecosystem for the better for humans and for wildlife. It's a kind of abundance. This is the main characteristic of the agriculture of the future—abundance. There should be so much food, and there will be so much food that it can feed 20 billion people on planet Earth.

I believe that agriculture in general is the foundation of any economy, because we create a resource for people, and people are the most important thing on this planet. So agriculture is in itself, I think, a symbol of sustainability. And people who work in agriculture are different from other people, because they are in maximum contact with nature and with the earth, and this is the most valuable thing on our planet.

My father is a farmer. I've seen him coming home from work since I was a kid, such a Russian Frank Wooperwood. Always energetic, always doing things, driving his Niva around the fields, around the farm, bringing products for sampling, sharing with you all the time ideas of what he has done today.

You listen to it, you just soak in that sphere. I have seen fields that are all overgrown with birch, and yet, why is there no owner on it? Why isn't anyone making any money? Living in the countryside is amazing. And from that moment on, I've had this vision of creating a single-story Russia, where people can make a living while enjoying the beauty of rural life. I've always loved being on the land, taking care of animals, doing things on the land, growing things. From a young age, probably around two years old, I'm already in the pictures with my grandfathers on the tractor, riding around there. It was a love that had been there throughout my entire life.

If you come from a small area, like southern Germany, where there's not much land, and then you come here to Russia and you see these vast expanses, these opportunities, plus there's a lot of potential here, not only for cultivation, but also because there are many people here too. I think the Russian people love the land, love farming, if there are opportunities. And somehow it happened that I decided to continue their destiny of farming not in the small fields of southern Germany, but here in Russia. What would I dream of myself, being a resident of Russia? I want to travel around the country and visit authentic places where I can see people living with their traditions and engaging in various activities. I am genuinely impressed with agriculture. I think it's awesome on the level of the people who work there because everyone there is super open, kind, and simple.

It's kind of exciting. People who venture into agriculture must have a clear understanding of why they are doing it and what they aim to achieve. Because here in agriculture, you can't get it fast enough. It's always a game of long and fair. You have to be prepared for a huge amount of sleepless nights, a huge amount of work and not expect profits for the next three years, probably.

And there must be some enthusiasm and motivation that is not financial, and a desire to create something cool, and to feed people with a good product. I really like the fact that in farming you can really see the result of your labor. So, for example, there's a field, it's unplanted, abandoned, whatever. You look at this field, it's already sprouting wheat, it's such a pleasure! It's not some documents or numbers on a computer, but it's exactly the kind of thing you can touch, look at and enjoy.

I came to agriculture because my heart called me to it. It's not easy work, but the rewards and outcomes make the effort worthwhile in the end. So it's a really profitable business, it's a really growing business, and it's a really positive, cool experience in life. I think it's the kind of business worth associating your life with. It's always a source of peace of mind when you're engaged in this business, enjoying it while also providing nourishment and benefits to the community.

I recently delved into my family's genealogy and discovered that farming has been a tradition on both my maternal and paternal sides for generations, dating back over 1800 years. So it just so happens that this is where we are in this industry and production, and it's like everyone was born here— it's in our blood. We are the largest agrarian power, and let us not forget that we are historically an agrarian country.

The well-being... ...of our children, grandchildren, and future generations hinges entirely on our responsible stewardship of the resources entrusted to us. And the people who work with the land are the people who understand that best. Agriculture for me personally... ...is my favorite thing to do in my life. I've visited about probably 300 farms, and I have one conclusion.

Entrepreneurs in agriculture are heroes. These are the people with incredible risk immunity, these are the dreamers, these are the people with big hearts. These are people limited by geography on the one hand, but with a large scale of thinking. I truly hope that there will be hundreds of thousands of such people in Russia, not just tens of thousands. I had a period when I left the food industry for eight whole years, and I was engaged in space, satellite construction, the exploration of deep space. When I came back, I realized one thing for sure, that I am not an astronaut, I am a farmer.

It's all much closer to my heart and I like it and somehow I'm in it, it's my life. Our world is changing rapidly, but it's a great opportunity to recognize it anew each time, to learn, explore and be a part of these incredible discoveries. 1/8TH OF THE LANDS Russia is the largest wheat exporter in the world.

In 2022, the grain harvest record of 157 million tons was broken. At the end of 2023, Russia became the first in the world in salmon production, surpassing the United States. The catch exceeded 600 thousand tons. Russian agricultural exports in 2023 amounted to almost $45 billion. This is a historical record for the industry.

Russia annually produces more than: —33 million tons of milk (like 13,000 Olympic swimming pools); —16.2 million tons of meat; —46.1 billion pieces of eggs, somewhere around 310 pieces for each inhabitant of Russia. Russia is the world's second largest fertilizer producer, second only to China. It's as if the country were a mighty supplier of "vitamins" to the Earth.

Almost half of the world's black earth area— 327 million hectares— is in Russia. More than 7 million people and more than 350 thousand students of agrarian directions work in the agricultural sector of Russia. According to forecasts for 2024 in the world exports, Russia may take: —1st place in wheat; —2nd place for sunflower oil; —3rd place for barley and sunflower; —5th place in corn; —7-8 places for pork and poultry meat; —Enter the top ten exporters of cheese and butter. Source: research of E.M. Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

2024-03-07 22:27

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