DeLaval VMS, first milking robot in Russia, farm RODINA, Vologda Oblast

Security of food supply is a common concern around the world. Agriculture has always played a major part in the lives of Vologda's residents. Agriculture of the Vologda Oblast is represented by hundreds of enterprises of various organizational and legal forms. By virtue of natural conditions and economic factors, the following branches are developed in the region: grain-, potato-, flax-growing and cattle-breeding. Today, when almost 70 percent of agricultural products come from animal husbandry, nearly one-half of all arable land is used for raising feed crops.

The Vologda Oblast Government gives considerable support to its agricultural sector. The targeted programs of agricultural development in Vologda Region indicate the following high priorities - cattle breeding, meat and milk processing, development of linen industry, development of family-run farms, supplying with high-qualified personnel and development of rural areas.

The region is more than self-sufficient in nearly all major products. It produces close to 100% of its needs for cereals, flax fibre, meat, dairy products, poultry meat and vegetables. Farmers of the Vologda area are amongst the most productive in Russia. They supply the essential foodstuffs for the region; they feed other parts of Russia as well.

Agroindustrial complex is one of the basic industries in the economy of the Vologda Region: it produces 5.6 % of gross regional product and employs 7.2 % of working-age population. 28 % of the region's population live in rural areas.

Ruminant livestock production is a significant land use activity throughout the Vologda Oblast. Vologda’s livestock farming is characterised by the farming of both cattle and pigs.

In 2015 the production volume by all categories of agricultural producers amounted to RUR 28,4 billion (that is a 3,8% increase in comparable prices against the 2014 level).The livestock production output in the region was RUB 19 billion in 2015 (a 3,6% increase in comparable prices against the 2014 level) and the crop farming amounted to RUR 9,4 billion (a 4,2% increase compared to last year figures).

Due to historical conditions and convenient geographical location, dairy farming is the primary commodity sector in agricultural production of the Vologda Oblast.

Some farms of the Vologda Oblast changed over from a milking parlour to automatic milking. For the first time ever in Russia a milking robot was installed on a dairy farm RODINA (Vologda Oblast) on December 18, 2007. Automatic milking is a serious alternative for a traditional milking parlour. A successful use of automatic milking depends largely on the farm conditions and the management skills of farmers. There is a tendency to increase the number of farms milking with an automatic milking system throughout the Oblast.

New milking technology reduces the labour input during milking, resulting in a higher output per man-hour. It also leads to big changes for both farmers and cows. With automatic milking, the milking process does not require permanent supervision. Automatic milking places emphasis on the cow's motivation to visit the AM-system to be milked more or less voluntarily. For this reason all AM-systems are equipped with concentrate dispensers.

Agricultural enterprises of the Vologda Region produced 252,700 tons of grain (109% compared to 2014), 234,700 tons of potatoes (104,8%), 60.600 tons of vegetables (110,4 %), 469,400 tons of milk (105.6%), 51,800 tons live weight of cattle and poultry (99,3%), 479 million eggs (101,8%),

Dozens of agricultural enterprises and farms of the region are engaged in cultivation of flax. Thanks to the use of plant variety, new species and new cultivation technologies, Vologda’s farms succeed to obtain a high yield of flax fibre and flax seeds even under unfavourable weather conditions.

The region's agricultural land occupies an area of 10% of the total territory of the Oblast. 70% of the agricultural land is under crops, the rest being under grazing and haying. Traditional farms and personal plots play an important role in the sector, providing most of all production.

Main crop of the oblast is winter rye. Much land is under barley, oats and spring wheat.

Every year Vologda becomes home to the All-Russian Fair and Exhibition "Russian Flax". The exhibitors demonstrate innovation technologies to be applied in the linen industry, in production of technological equipment for textile industry and manufacture of flax fibre and flaxen goods. Flax-growers of Vologda are known in the whole Russia by the quality of their product.

The Vologda Oblast is participating in a national priority project Efficient Agriculture designed to raise living standards of rural residents and boost the productivity of private farms and farmers' economies. Another aim of the agriculture project is to develop cattle breeding, encourage small farms and provide affordable housing to young people who want to stay on the land. The program is aimed to develop social welfare by additional funding by the state.

Within the framework of the state program for Development of Argibusiness and Consumer Market for 2013-2020, 17 subprogrammes aimed at the development of plant-growing, livestock-breeding, fishing industry, development of small forms of economic management in rural areas, sustainable development of rural areas and personnel of agricultural organizations are being implemented in the Vologda Region.

The food industry of the Vologda Region is represented by 350 enterprises of various organizational and legal forms producing a great selection of meat and milk products, confectionery, liqueur, non-alcoholic drinks, distilled alcohol, frozen vegetables and fruit, caviar and bakery. About 13,000 people are being engaged at these enterprises.

Numerous food enterprises of the Vologda Region have certificates of international quality management systems.

In 2002 Rospatent, the Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property registered a trademark "Vologda Made Product". This trademark of staple products produced on the territory of Vologda region can be considered an established regional brand.

A system of voluntary certification under the same name "Vologda Made Product" is a sign for clients and consumers that our goods and services focus on quality and are run with efficiency. When we purchase Vologda products, we contribute to the local agricultural economy, helping to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy the beautiful Vologda farming community.

The oblast exports considerable amounts of food product: milk, poultry, meat and famous Vologda butter. High quality of products under the Vologda Made Product trademark was repeatedly awarded with various prizes.

Over 1640 branded food articles produced by Vologda's agricultural enterprises get the highest marks with consumers when it comes to the quality and value.

45 enterprises located on the territory of the Vologda Oblast are leading suppliers of branded food products in the food service industry. They offer a broad range of trusted, time-honoured goods that food service operators across the region and the country have come to depend on.

Every region has its claim to fame, but there's none sweeter than Vologda's position as Russia's butter capital. Butter-making, being one of the clearly expressed specializations of the Vologda Oblast, has a many-centuries old tradition. Just mention butter and quality together and every Russian will invariably reply "Vologda butter". Vologda butter (Vologodskoe) is a traditional Russian product, with delicious taste and natural lightness. Industrial production of butter on the territory of the Vologda gubernia developed rapidly. In 1913 there were 1290 creameries in the region in comparison to 15 in 1875. At that time the Vologda province produced 20% of butter manufactured in the European part of Russia. Butter became a special item of the Vologda export late in the 19th century.

Over the last 100 years the settlement of Molochnoye has evidently become a major centre for dairy farming in the Vologda Oblast. It boasts the Vologda Dairy Academy, a local creamery, a research institute and a livestock breeding farm. There prominent dairy experts take important and innovative initiatives and work hard to create the institutional framework of the Vologda butter production and trade. This delicate and delicious brand is made at only six dairies in the Vologda region.

The countryside is not just the home and the centre of activity of the people who live there. Its open spaces, hills, woodlands, lakes and rivers offer recreational and leisure possibilities for city dwellers. Tourism can be developed in natural beauty spots or in areas with noteworthy flora and fauna.