Who lives with the farm owners at the Toukomaa farm in Nivala? About one hundred fifty cows and twenty-three alpacas. Eveliina Liinamaa knows them all by name.
“More cows than people,” Eveliina Liinamaa describes the peaceful farming landscape of her native Nivala. 21-year-old Eveliina was raised with the everyday life of a dairy farm and she has worked alongside her parents for as long as she can remember. She will earn her agronomist degree from the Häme University of Applied Sciences next year, and then she will also officially be an agricultural expert.
The future will take Eveliina either to post-graduate studies, to professional work in the agricultural sector, or back to the Toukomaa farm. Agricultural schools may not be appealing to every young person, but for Eveliina it was the obvious choice. However, her mom and dad have done such a good job at the farm that the young woman sighs at the prospect of filling their boots. The farm is actively engaged in the development of its energy use and emissions, for example. Eveliina’s parents have completed the carbon farmer training, and thoughts about what could be done even better are a driving force at the farm.
For the Toukomaa folks, environmental issues, animal welfare, and keeping up with developments are important. Thanks to the expansion completed in spring, now the cows are more comfortable. Increased production is not the main thing, but improving welfare is.
“Most important is that the animals and people are taken care of – even though this work can sometimes be stressful,” Eveliina notes.
In daily farm life, the work easily stretches from morning to evening. Eveliina works at the cowshed, feeds the alpacas, and works in the fields. The chores of the day might be finished by eight o’clock in the evening or they might stretch all the way to midnight. Summers are busy, but winter brings an opportunity for the young woman to spend some time playing guitar and piano and going to the gym. And time for knitting – with the wool produced by Eveliina’s 23 alpacas.
Bringing the greatest joy to the work are the happy, well-producing dairy cows, the birth of calves, successful work in the fields, and harvesting. Doing things together with the family and the peaceful rural setting.
And the cows? Beloved, each with their own personality. Eveliina knows every cow on the farm by name. Just as with human relationships, you form a close relationship with some of them.
“I guess I do have my favourites, even though I should be unbiased,” Eveliina chuckles.
People live at Toukomaa – but on the animals’ terms. Perhaps someday those big boots of Eveliina’s parents will feel just right to her.