Today we go to the village of Starnitsa, Smolyan region. From Asenovgrad we set off on the beautiful roads of the Rhodopes to take you to this picturesque place. It is as if time has stopped there, and nature has preserved its beauty and majesty in its full form. We have told you all kinds of stories – of experienced farmers, of young enthusiasts, of successful businessmen with small or large herds. However, our history today will surely surprise you as much as it surprised us. It combines the life of a farmer high in the mountains with medicine, but not veterinary, but humane.
This spring, the Mila and Krum Krumovi family joined the ranks of NARMS – doctors with many years of experience and their own hospital in Sofia. They bought their first purebred Simmentals from Austria and housed them on their newly acquired farm in the Smolyan village of Starnitsa.
To our great surprise, instead of the pretentious and distant doctors that we often meet in Bulgarian medical institutions, we are greeted by friendly and hospitable people on the farm. They proudly show us their first animals and, smiling broadly, insist that we photograph them with the people from the farm staff. The mood in the farm is uplifted and we all sit down together to tell us what two doctors from Sofia are doing in the Austrian Simmental, in the middle of the Rhodopes.
– Hello, please introduce yourself in a few words to our audience.
– Hello, my name is Krum Krumov. I live and work in Sofia, where I have been a practicing doctor with the acquired specialty of urological surgeon for over 25 years. With me today is my wife, who is my faithful companion and partner in every endeavor and will also introduce herself in a few words.
Mila: – Hello from me, and welcome! My name is Mila Krumova and I am also a laboratory doctor with 25 years of experience.
– Does this coincidence in the duration of the professional realization show that you have been together since you were a student?
Mila: – Actually, since school. We have a wonderful 26 year old son.
– You are a member of the Association very recently and I can’t help but ask you how a family of successful and successful doctors with their own business came up with the idea of embarking on cattle breeding, in the heart of the Rhodopes – far from the dynamic urban environment you are used to?
– The initiative was mine. We came to this beautiful village guided by my love for animals and cows in particular. I have always carried this love within me. The second and equally important reason was our need for peace and diversity, which we wanted to bring to our busy daily lives.
– By presumption, people are looking for diversity in the big city. For you, however, it is among nature and animals !?
– Yes exactly. It is this change in the stereotype of life that we have imposed on ourselves over the years that is a huge variety for us. Over time, dynamic life also becomes monotonous with its typical and recurring problems and situations, and regardless of the dynamics, sooner or later one needs change. We found this change in this beautiful place among the positivism and tranquility of the local people. Cattle breeding also has constant dynamics, problems and situations that are a challenge for us and make it even more interesting and exciting.
– You mentioned your love for animals. What is it due to? Has anyone in your family raised cows or other animals?
– No, I have no hereditary experience. Maybe in a previous life I had contact with animals and the rural reality in general, because I always liked the idea very much.
Mila: – As a student Krum raised chickens and not one but two! Recently, the locals in the town of Bankya, where we have a house, asked him for advice on growing up and reminded us of his childhood activities. He has always loved animals.
– Obviously, love in you in every respect is for life, Dr. Krumov, but while it was once reflected in a children’s activity, today you are very seriously motivated to develop a modern farm with purebred animals!
– That’s right. We are trying and we will do something beautiful, working and long-term. We are still learning, but step by step we hope that things will work out.
– And what is the tendency – the new activity to gradually displace the one in the hospital or things will move in parallel?
– Rather parallel. Personally, I really like the diversity, the dynamics and the challenges, and I hope we can combine the commitments.
– You have been a family for a quarter of a century, and you have been together since childhood, and yet how did you manage to convince this beautiful city lady to get involved in farm life?
– Here I must thank the wonderful team that I was lucky enough to form on the farm. These wonderful people predisposed my wife and she felt welcome in her place. This certainly helped her to accept the change positively and willingly. He gradually gets involved in the work, helps and things go. She has always supported me in every endeavor, and a positive attitude is more than stimulating!
Mila: – At the moment I still can’t help much, except that I willingly come here and enjoy the animals and the farm.
– When did you buy the first animals and what are they?
– In July this year we bought the first five purebred Simmentals from Austria.
– How did you stop this breed?
– Quite by accident I had read about this breed and searched for contacts of NARMS on the Internet. A very pleasant and kind voice (turned out to be the chairman, Mr. Atanasov) immediately instilled in me great confidence. Subsequently, we held several meetings, which were enough to remove all doubts about the choice of breed, as well as whether we should take up this challenge at all.
He gave me great confidence and desire to go in this direction and thanks to him today we are in our farm with purebred Simmentals. Thanks to him!
– Are you used to it already? How do you progress and catch up on what hereditary cattle breeders have been learning all their lives?
– We constantly read and keep informed. We consult with Mr. Atanasov regularly. As they say – we returned to the “first class” voluntarily! I am of the opinion that things must be done consistently and patiently. We combine theory with practice and listen to the advice of the team, because we work with people who have raised animals all their lives and have very good knowledge and experience. This gives us peace of mind and confidence that at any moment we will be able to react adequately together.
– Do you already have offspring from Austrian animals?
– Yes, our first calf is male and his name is Peter – he is very important and sentimental. We are currently negotiating with the mayor to stay in the village for breeding, as we want him to live long.
– Did the first calving bother you? How did you cope?
– It was very “easy” for us, because we were on the road and the head of the barn together with another colleague managed without bothering us. They called us and said, “Happy baby!” When we saw Peter, already on the farm, of course, we were very excited.
– What is ahead of you as farmers?
– The realization of my next dream in this direction is forthcoming – to supplement the herd with another 17 Simmentals so that we can apply for support. This will allow us to think about more serious things now.
I hope, for now, to have light calving and to be able to provide both the herd and the staff with everything they need. From now on we will increase the number of animals with our own female offspring and reach a serious herd with quality and well-kept animals.
– How did you choose this building for your herd?
– I have been coming to the village for many years as a doctor. We bought a house here afterwards. We accidentally found out that this barn is for sale and decided to buy it. Negotiations lasted a very long time – the sellers wondered, we negotiated a price and finally we reached a point of contact and the purchase became a fact.
– The building is not quite suitable for raising cows yet. Do you plan to renovate it before buying the new animals?
– As a size it is large enough, but reconstruction is really needed. We need new equipment and another organization according to the cultivation technology we will choose. There is a lot to do. We will contact a technologist from a specialized company to give us their recommendations.
– Are you considering grazing them?
– Yes, we are even negotiating with the mayor to provide us with lands for grazing.
– From the conversation so far I understand that you have already established good relations with the local administration?
– Yes, for which I thank them. We strive to be fair and loyal, and to maintain good relations with everyone. The people here in the region have a very hospitable and positive mentality. They always try to help and are genuinely concerned.
In the capital, we are all so hurried and closed in on ourselves that we no longer greet each other. Here, on the other hand, it is impossible to get away with someone without saying a few words, sharing, complaining and laughing. There is no basis for comparison.
– When the animals become 20 and more, won’t you have to be physically present more often?
– Attendance is of course important, but good organization and personal responsibility are much more important. If everyone knows and fulfills their duties and commitments, if they do them on time and willingly, the work will go.
– You run a ward, I suppose?
– In fact, we have our own small hospital and already accumulated purely organizational and managerial experience. If everyone does their job and the next one will do it easier and more efficiently. Good organization motivates the team. If I bury myself in milking the cows, which I have been practicing lately out of pure curiosity, then the team will not be able to cope with my commitments to develop and provide for the farm. This is the meaning of teamwork.
– Do you intend to apply for support under any measure to optimize the conditions in the farm?
– Yes, I really want it, because we have set high goals and we want things to happen properly. We will also deal with our own resources, but we will not have the necessary peace and security to act with the necessary scope. The goal is to reach the highest possible technological security and adequate animal husbandry.
– You are obviously maximalists and do everything right – you start with a herd of purebred animals and strive for a high-tech farm. Do you plan to produce your own dairy products?
– Yes, we have such a long-term plan. Here, next to the farm, there is a plot of land for a building, where we plan to build a small dairy in which to produce yellow cheese, cheese and yogurt.
– How do you see yourself in 5 years?
– I hope to have a well-selected herd, bred in a modern and technological barn by world standards. I would like to already produce our high quality dairy products, which is greatly facilitated by the ecologically clean area in which we are located.
– Aren’t you worried that after achieving all these goals in cattle breeding you will embark on a new adventure?
It’s quite possible! I really don’t stop and I’m always looking for new challenges!
Mila: – That’s right! He doesn’t stop and I’m close behind him!
– We are a team and my wife has great merit for each of my achievements so far. Her support is invaluable!
– Your energy is contagious and we sincerely wish everything to happen according to plan, and even to exceed your expectations. We will visit you again in time to check.
– First we will brag to you and look forward to seeing you!