Today we travel to Southwestern Bulgaria and our final destination is the town of Bansko. The resort, which has gained an international popularity with its modern ski facilities, SPA centers and active nightlife is a favorite destination for sports, entertainment and relaxation for Bulgarian and foreign tourists.
In recent years, however, Bansko and the region have become a center with developed purebred livestock breeding. Herds of sheep and cattle are multiplying and becoming more and more part of the beautiful landscape.
It is here that Jordan Erinin, our current host, built his farm with Simmental and Limousin breeds. In addition to being a successful breeder, he owns and manages several of the most visited nightclubs in Bansko, is involved in construction business and now we will understand how he combines these different activities, what motivates him to create a farm and why Simmental is his favorite breed.
Hello, Mr. Erinin. Thank you for welcoming us to this beautiful place! Tell us about yourself.
My name is Jordan Erinin and I have been a cattle breeder for over 10 years. My father and grandfather raised sheeps. At the age of 35, I decided to follow their example, but turned to cattle. This was my best decision and today the farm is my favorite place and brings me great joy and peace!
What were your first animals and how did you approach the Simmental breed?
I started with Hereford animals, which I kept for 3 years. I replaced them with the Limousine breed. Five years ago I bought my first 10 Simmental heifers from Austria and then for two years in a row I bought as many more from there. The bull I imported is also Austrian. We made a very careful selection of animals with high milk yield and very good performance. I am extremely pleased with the choice of the breed – Simmentals are wonderful animals. At first I was impressed by their appearance and after careful research I was adamant that this is the breed I want to breed. The average milk productivity of my cows is 7500 liters. They adapted without any problem, and the region from which we took them has the same altitude as Bansko – 1000 meters. Extremely calm animals – their milk is with very high quality. This is definitely my favorite breed!
Where do you sell dairy products? Are you having difficulty?
No, none. My milk is preferred by most of the hotels I the region. I also “supply” my grandmother, who makes the best homemade yellow cheese from it. Her products are in demand all over Bulgaria and we have even sent her yellow cheese to a Sheikh in Dubai!
What breeding technology have you chosen?
Free-stall barn with a central milk line. I have over 1000 decares of pastures around the farm. We feed the animals with our own feed.
What is the most important thing for a person to know before starting cattle breeding? What were you not prepared for?
I was not surprised by anything, but it is very important for people to be aware of how serious and responsible business this is – there is no day off for animals and they require constant attention and care! You have to learn a lot and work 24/7!
Did you build the farm with your own funds? Are you planning any changes?
The farm was built with my own funds and the state helped me to buy equipment, for which I am very grateful. We are about to build a new farm for 100 Simmental dairy animals next to this one. The project is ready and now we are waiting if there is an opportunity to benefit from support under measure 4.1. in March. I also plan to improve the infrastructure to the farm and asphalt the existing road.
How do you deal with the crisis with the workers?
This is our biggest problem and we are currently negotiating to hire workers from Moldova and Albania. If I didn’t have a problem with the work force, I would keep 1000 animals, but unfortunately there are no people and it’s getting harder!
What do you think should be changed as a priority in terms of cattle breeding in Bulgaria?
There is much to be desired. Breeding branch needs to be supported much more and a distinction needs to be made between animals with better production and farmers who make a real effort to develop successful farms! It is very good that they have already started taking DNA samples, because purebred animals deserve adequate support,
Since when have you been a member of the Association and do you receive adequate assistance?
I have been receiving full cooperation for five years now. The selection is very important and administratively the help is very valuable. With each succeeding generation, the animals improve their performance and I am very happy! The association helps us a lot!
Are the farmers in Bulgaria united? One of our new members told us that he received invaluable help from you in setting up his farm. Does anyone help you?
No, farmers in Bulgaria are extremely divided and this is a huge problem. I try to help everyone as much as I can and I think we should all do that – work together, help each other and go in the same direction. I traveled all over Europe to learn and see how things are done. I really want in Bulgaria to cooperate with colleagues and to defend our rights.
Great call and we hope more people will listen to your words! Thank you and good luck!
You are always welcome!