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 more than 160 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. The share of agricultural organizations account for 75.5% of the volume of agricultural production.

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.

According to preliminary data, in 2019 the production volume by all categories of agricultural producers amounted to RUR 32,5 billion (with a production index of 108.5% to the level of 2018). The index of livestock production compared to the previous year was 108.8%, and crop production-108.0%.

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.

Our region takes the first place in the North-Western Federal district in terms of sown areas and it takes the second position in Russia's North-West in the area of grain crops.

Agricultural enterprises of the Vologda Region produced 192,700 tons of grain (118,2 % compared to 2018), 190,900 tons of potatoes (118,5 % by 2018), 51,500 tons of vegetables (98,6 %), 559,700 tons of milk (105,2%), 47,000 tons live weight of cattle and poultry (111,4%), 623,6 million eggs (1124,8% compared to 2018), and 592.7 tons of fish (4.4 times more than in 2018).

Dozens of agricultural enterprises and farms of the region are engaged in cultivation of flax.

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.

Winter rye is the first most prevalent crop in the region. 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, 7 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 361 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 14,000 people are being engaged at these enterprises.

Enterprises of the food and processing industry produced food and beverages in the amount of 52.7 billion rubles in 2019.

Milk processing industry, which accounts for 52% of the output takes the leading position of the food industry.

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 3700 branded food articles produced by Vologda's agricultural enterprises get the highest marks with consumers when it comes to the quality and value.

70 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 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.