Today we are again in Borima to meet you with a very nice family, which together develops its farm on the outskirts of the village. Today’s hero is Hasan Mustafov, who together with his smiling wife welcomes us to his home and farm to tell us about the history and hardships that accompany the Bulgarian farmer.

            We have already told you about this picturesque region, when our interlocutor was Osman Ibryamov, who is a good friend of our hosts today. We sit down for a cup of coffee and start harassing Hassan with all sorts of questions:

– Hello, Mr. Mustafov. Thank you for the kind welcome! Tell us about yourself.

            – Hello and welcome! My name is Hasan Mustafov and I have been an agricultural producer for over 15 years. My wife and I used to be civil servants, and after we were laid off, we turned to animal husbandry. There are not many other livelihood opportunities in our region. I started with a meat breed – Limousin, and then I turned to the combined breeds. I also cultivate land, mainly our and municipal terrains and pastures.

I bought the first Simmental animals from a farm next door, and since last year I have imported them from Austria. The breed is very suitable for our region. Easy to adapt. We also release them on pastures. They have their own regime and even return on their own. Their milk is very preferred and the processors are very happy.

We raise the animals freely boxing, using the pastures around, as I said. In the beginning we started quite primitively – we kept the animals tied up and milked them on rubber bands. Over time, we strive to constantly modernize. We built a herringbone milking parlor for our own convenience, as we take care of the farm ourselves. For the moment it suits us.

We built the farm entirely with our own funds. We applied for a support program, but we were not approved for funding, unfortunately, and we manage as best we can. In response, we received only one letter stating that there were no funds. The situation was very unpleasant, as we were convinced that we would receive funding for a tractor, which we really needed. We realized that our project was not even considered, and we met all the conditions.

We bought the car on lease and are currently paying for it ourselves. When the acceptance of documents was opened, there was supposedly enough money and we spent over BGN 6,000 just to prepare the necessary documents and meet the requirements, and in the end all this was completely meaningless! It is not only us, many people are in this situation in Bulgaria! On the other hand, the Sofia designers assured us that funding would be received and we paid them a significant amount for it.

            – We understood that your funding has gone wrong, and do you miss the inspections by the institutions or is things different there?

– The inspections are very strict and constant! Only last week we had 3 inspections – for the farm, for the land, from the tax ones! A constant running and wandering around institutions, from which we do not have time to work on the farm – if I am 3 days with the animals, then 4 I deal with documents and inspections, and pay fines…! We have to be farmers, accountants, secretaries and whatnot at the same time!

– Is there a place to get informed about the new requirements in a timely manner? Does the state inform you in advance what you need to do and prepare so that you are not “punished” once again?

            – We learn the requirements when we are already punished! The laws change every year, the inspections pass to punish us, and then the next year again. We don’t know how we still exist! We work hard and health around the clock on the farm – me, my wife and our two boys. We don’t have a day off and we often think about the meaning, but we continue in spite of everything. We strive to have quality animals and to raise and feed them as well as possible. In recent years, production is better valued and this gives us the strength to make more efforts.

            – How many animals are on the farm at the moment?

            – The milk yields are about 55, and the total is over 80. The average milk yield is about 20 liters, but the new Austrian animals reach up to 30 liters. This year we managed to get 1000 tons of our own silage and we hope to raise the milk production with the quality food.

In the spirit of the cooperation between the members of NARMS, at this moment Osman Ibryamov arrives “riding a motorcycle” to provide moral support to his colleague, while we “torture” him with questions.

After exchanging a few jokes that we can only tell you “by ear”, we continue to harass Hassan with laughter:

            – Since when have you been a member of the Association?

            – For 7-8 years.

            – Does the subsidy only motivate you?

            – The subsidy cannot be the reason for anything – if we distribute it among the costs of animals for each day of the year, it is extremely insufficient!

Being a member of the Association gives us the opportunity to look up from our reality and look at what is happening in the west. We have visited foreign exhibitions and farms, we communicate with colleagues and we receive full administrative support. Help is very important for us to develop and make things better.

               – What did you see during these trips? Why do things happen differently to them?

– There are long traditions, support from the state and cooperation in the industry. We here from inspections and costs can not raise our heads to see colleagues, to know and defend our rights. However, it is very useful to visit colleagues abroad to adjust our watch and strive for their level. Of course, there is still much to learn. Here we started on bare meadows, and there they build on the heritage created by generations in this regard.

            – And why aren’t you united?

– Because we don’t have time for anything outside the farm, not because we don’t want to.Here in the region we help each other a lot and on the principle of “trial and error” we share our experience, but overall in the industry everyone is doing as well as they can, unfortunately.

            – Are your children interested in this business?

           – For better or worse, we deprived them of a little choice, because they help us a lot in the economy. Without them we will not be able to cope without help, and the problem with labor is big. Our eldest son even completed an insemination course and now he inseminates the animals. So we are not dependent on when which doctor can come.

– What else can the Association help you with?

            – We work with NARMS on a very friendly basis and so far we have no problems. When we need assistance, I know we will get it.

            – How do you see yourself in 5 years?

            – To be healthy, to work and the farm to develop.

            – We wish you from the bottom of our hearts to invite us to a friendly coffee again!

            – You are always welcome!