While many of us are still curled up in bed, the morning shift starts at the Täperä farm in Vieremä. Right around five o’clock, Laura Kauhanen heads out to milk the cows while her husband Henri Remes and their young daughter Mette get to sleep in a bit longer. The choice of careers that this thirty-year-old couple made runs in their blood: it’s a calling and a lifestyle. When the heart is in it, the people and the animals thrive.
Henri’s workday starts a little later with Mette. They tend to feed the calves and do other chores that the little helper can handle. In addition to taking care of the animals, the day includes working in the field and paper work. The days are long but the work is a way of life that isn’t run on a time card. Pride and a love for the work are reflected in everything.
The thirty-year-old couple already has a respectable history in farm management: Henri took the reins from his parents when he was just 19. Laura is also from Vieremä, but they didn’t meet in their home village; they met online – as is the trend these days. Laura, who has a master’s degree in health sciences, ultimately returned to her roots via Holland; as she puts it, “you can’t escape your destiny.” She was naturally drawn to farming, and this is officially her second year as a farm wife on the Täperä farm.
The best thing is working in line with your own values
The welfare of the animals is important to Laura and Henri. The new cowshed completed last year, the five-or-so-year-old calf stable, and the more spacious shared stalls are examples of the improvements the young couple have made at their farm. An added bonus in solving issues like a lack of space is that animal welfare often improves. Increased knowledge and skills and new innovations all contribute to the fact that animal welfare on Finnish farms is really good on average, according to Laura and Henri.
Laura, who has experience in animal training, is always thinking about solutions to minimise stress on the animals. For instance, how to get the heifers used to going to the milking station when it’s time to milk. And what solutions it would take to keep calves with their dams. The Täperä farm already has good calving pens where the cows take care of their calves. It is important also in terms of production that the animals stay healthy and live long.
The oat boom doesn’t worry Laura and Henri. Fat- and protein-rich milk will be needed to make high-quality dairy products also in the future. However, Laura has a small request for consumers who are considering their choices: “We do our best at the farm and hold the quality standards at a high level. Hopefully consumers will continue supporting our work by choosing food produced in Finland.”
The cows are enjoying the summer sun, Henri and Mette hop on to the tractor, and Laura heads inside to do some office work. You can follow everyday life on the Täperä farm on Laura’s Instagram page.