Case study 01-SI
The farm has a long historical tradition which was passed down from generation to generation. In 1938, the farm was inherited by current owners’ grandfather from an uncle who had no children of his own. Later, the farm was run by his father. The farm is located in a traditional hop-growing area, which was farms main activity until Slovenia’s independence. In the 1990s, family decided to switch to cattle breeding and milk production on the farm. The current owner of the farm and the holder of the multifunctional activity is Damijan Četina. He took over the management of the farm in 2006 from his father. At the end of 2007, he also modernized the farm with a cow milking robot. He runs the farm together with his wife Darija who runs sales and development of their dairy processing.
They are mainly focused on milk production, but they also cultivate 60 ha of agricultural land. They have 170 head of livestock of which 80 are dairy cows. They produce about 700,000 liters of milk per year. In 2009 during the recession, they started milk processing to add value to their milk. Firstly, they started delivering milk to homes in the area, then they started to process milk into dairy products. Darija attended various milk processing courses in France and England. In Slovenia, she attended national vocational qualifications in dairy processing and milk processing courses at BC-Naklo. In 2019, they opened a new dairy processing facility where they process up to 800 liters of milk per day into various dairy products.
There is never excess of knowledge or education, one must learn and improve themselves all our lives.
Multifunctional farming activities related to dairy processing / Innovation related to products and/or processing
They offer a variety of milk products including lactose free products (lactose free kefir, lactose free yoghurt, lactose free sour cream and lactose free milk rice). They offer 20 different yoghurts, chocolate milk, cottage cheese, albumin curd, soft cheese, kefir, skyr, milk rice, cream yoghurt, whey drinks and butter. For their regular customers they offer reusable packaging. They sell their products in their farm shop with other homemade farm products, such as sausages and free range eggs. They sell their products in retail chains (Mercator, Spar, Jager, E-Leclerc) in Slovenia, for these products they use plastic packaging from Slovene producers. They started dairy processing to add value to their milk and to expand their farm. They also offer guided tours for groups and demonstrations of computer controlled cow milking. They also offer tastings of their dairy products and other traditional farm food products, such as homemade sausages,. They have a farms shop where they sell their dairy products. In march 2020 (during covid-19 quarantine) they offered contactless home deliveries of their products.
A farm is an annuity that you cultivate and later hand over to your children. In 2009, during the economic crisis, the farm would not survive on only selling the milk, due to low milk price. To save the farm, they decided to start with milk processing since they needed a higher value products.
Since then, they have focused mainly on milk processing, but they also cultivate sixty hectares of agricultural land. They produce about seven hundred thousand liters of milk per year.
In 2017, they built a new barn for young livestock, thus improving working conditions and increasing the productivity and competitiveness of the farm. Their animals enjoy classical music, showering and massages to feel as good as possible. Cows are milked by a robot. They also breed breeding heifers, which they also sell. Most of the fodder for 175 head of cattle is grown on 60 hectares of arable land.
The milk they produce is of exceptional quality, so their home-made dairy products are also full and rich in taste, for which they have received countless gold awards at events, which confirms their work and vision and the mission of the farm.
Darija adds: “At the time of the COVID -19 quarantine, sales of products fell by 100%. At that time, as we are large milk producers, we decided to do something. Given that we are partners with large retail chains and are recognized throughout Slovenia, we decided to deliver to customers’ homes as well. This was a new challenge for us. ”
Training/Competences (Skills, Knowledge, Attitudes) especially relevant for the process
She thinks that most important for starting dairy processing is national vocational education, which should be a foundation and then one should build his/her knowledge and competences with different educational courses to further improve the skills of dairy processing. Even though she runs a successful dairy processing farm she believes that she could benefit from new courses for innovative products.
She started her dairy processing journey with national vocational qualification, then she attended dairy processing courses in France, United Kingdom and at BC-Naklo milk processing courses. She believes that practical experiences are the most vital part of dairy processing courses.