Our farmers are more than just suppliers and we are happy to be able to work with them! Therefore, we visited our Blondvieh farmer in Rabesreith yesterday. This Dementer organic farm belongs to the warm-hearted Pfabigan family, whom we sincerely thank for their cooperation over the past months. Unfortunately, Austrian farmers rarely receive the appreciation they deserve and the majority of customers take their work for granted. And this despite the fact that all farmers have to struggle – be it due to low-priced competition from abroad, the ever-increasing pressure from food retailers or extended requirements from the legislator and the organic inspection body.
About 25 years ago, the Pfabigan family converted to organic farming in order to preserve nature for our descendants on the one hand and to escape the massive price pressure of classical agriculture on the other. In the meantime, the family owns about 60 hectares of agriculture and 20 hectares of forest, a large part of which is used for cattle of the breed “Waldviertler Blondvieh”. Although a return to classical farming would be unthinkable, the organic farmers’ association Demeter presents them with great challenges. For example, no hornless animals may be kept in the herd. The basic idea of natural rearing is absolutely right here. For farmers, however, horns represent a huge risk of injury. Often it is not the animals’ intention but a spontaneous movement can already lead to injuries. To avoid this, some of the stalls for veterinary care and calving had to be extended in order to have more space for handling the cattle and to be able to keep safety distances.
On this farm, some animals have the opportunity to live in peace in their own section of the forest, separated from the rest of the herd. The cattle alternate every year so that each animal can enjoy part of its life there. This idea appealed to us and we could observe how the behaviour of the cattle changes and they become slightly “wild”. During our visits to the forest, the herd hardly wanted to be seen and always gave us a wide berth.
For those wondering how Christmas is celebrated among farmers… As with most farms, holidays can only be enjoyed to a limited extent. Even though there are no slaughters or deliveries during this time, the livestock must of course still be fed daily and the barn cleaned.
Although Covid19 hardly affects most farmers, the Pfabigan family suffers because a small restaurant is also part of the farm, where no turnover can now be generated.
We are grateful for the opportunity to work closely with some regional farmers.