Agro-tourism

1. Farm profile

 

Bartkuviene‘s farm has been well-known for more than 20 years already. Viktorija‘s parents and grandparents were farmers. They had a lot of hectares of land for farming activities but due to the historical circumstances when the Soviet government nationalized private land and not all rights for the ownership have been restored yet, the amount of the land was reduced. Thus, when Viktorija started working in the farming business they had only 10 Ha. For this reason, Viktorija firstly became a professional nurse and took care of the farm only on her free time. When she met her future husband they started thinking about farming in general; they dreamed to have a big farm with animals, cozy places for visitors, etc.

 

2. Multifunctional Farming

 

To make their dream come true was not so easy; they had much of work and faced many obstacles and challenges.

 

2.1. Situation before Multifunctional Activity

 

Before multifunctional activity, Viktorija’s family were growing crops, had a few cows and were selling dairy products for their neighbours. All these products were produced in their farm and Viktorija made them by herself.

 

2.2. Developing the Business Idea

 

The idea to establish a multifunctional farm was clear in the beginning when Viktorija met her husband. Later on, they almost forgot it, but their own children grew older and asked for a horse and a few rabbits to be kept in the farm. Viktorija’s husband noticed that people from their village come to Viktorija’s farm to see the animals, buy products or just relax in cozy places in the farm. So the family discussed with a bank accountant and designed a plan to build a guest-house; they also bought more horses and registered acquired certification for ecological, hand-made food products they produce in their farm.  

 

2.3. Multifunctional Agriculture

 

Viktorija provides horse keeping and riding services, rabbit therapy and ecological dairy products. At the moment, they have 15 horses and 35 rabbits. During the week, they sell dairy products for more than 1000 Eur.

 

Family members have a very good connection with their neighbours and visitors. Some of the visitors even say that friendly atmosphere is one of the most important reasons why they spend their free time in Viktorija’s farm.

 

The biggest benefit for Viktorija’s family is an opportunity to work in the field that they love. After 5 years of hard work the business is starting to give extra income. It must be noted, however, that Viktorija’s family will have to pay a bank loan for more than 20 years.

 

Of course, the very fact that Viktorija is not only farming, raising animals but also provides services to the customers brings in social dimension in Viktorija’s occupation, so she can meet more people and thus create a useful network of connections.

 

2.4. Financing the New Business

 

In the beginning Viktorija had 10 ha of her own land, one horse, a few rabbits and a few cows. To make her dream come true, her family invested money to acquire more animals, build shelters for them, to rent more land. The money that they had was not enough for a successful business, so they took a loan from a bank. What is more, to make everything faster, they applied for a EU project to build a tourist house.

 

2.5. Outcomes of the Business Development

 

Multifunctional farming has had a great impact on the improvement of Viktorija family’s life so far. Everybody feels inspired because every family member can do what he/she wants. Viktorija’s daughters are planning to live in the same farm and to make it even bigger in the future. Unfortunately, economical income is not very stable. During the summer time and weekends, they have a lot of customers, but on work days, especially in autumn and winter, the farm is nearly empty. As Viktorija says: ”It is good that during that time we can help others or work in the city”.

 

3. Skills for Multifunctional Agriculture

 

3.1. Promoter and Staff Competences

 

Viktorija‘s professional field is nursery. Her parents and grandparents were farmers, so her family members were the main source of information as to how to take care of the farm. Her husband used to live in the city, he dreamed to become a farmer in the future and read a lot about it, however, he had no practical knowledge about farming. So in the beginning, their friends, consultants and neighbours helped a lot.

 

3.2. Access to and Management of Skills and Know-How

 

In the family’s opinion, a person who wants to start a multifunctional farm and has no experience in this field or people who are already working in this area have to be a little bit crazy and believe in their dream. To make their dream real, Viktorija’s family had long conversations with consultants, marketing and tourism sector specialists. These people helped Viktorija’s family very much.

 

4. Experiences & Recommendations

 

4.1. Implementing the Business Idea

 

The first and the most important step if you want to establish a multifunctional farm is to know what kind of a farm you want to live in. This kind of business is business for a life time so you have to be sure that it is your dream. After you have made up your mind, you have to plan your steps considering your background and knowledge. Probably, you will need consultations from professionals and this is one of the best steps to be taken because it will definitely help to save your time and money.

 

4.2. Finding Supporters for the Business Concept

 

It was very easy to convince Viktorija’s family members to start a multifunctional farm because her husband wanted to undertake this activity too and her daughters love animals. The main difficulty, however, was to convince the bank: their first applications to get a loan were rejected. Nevertheless, they kept working, asked for a help from a few consultants and finally got project funding. That finally convinced the administration of the bank too.

 

4.3. Promoter‘s Advice

 

The key elements that lead to success was Viktorija’s genuine interest in farming activities: she wanted to know everything about the production process, was open-minded and tried to spread her ideas around. This would help to design your idea in more concrete terms thus people around would become more interested and you would start getting feedback.

 

4.4. Queries and Consideration

 

Viktorija’s business is also successful because there are no more farms of this type in the area. Moreover, the nature around is beautiful with stunning landscapes and a lot of people want to visit it.

 

Extra information:

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqcZZIenkhE

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfJBdya5FPk

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4z5Tj0s3E0

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJt4_ADlIos

 

      

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