Island of Senja (NO), 6-7 May 2019
Rita Backer Natvig, our Norwegian National Coordinator on the Annual Meeting of EUROPEA-Norway:
“We arranged our annual meeting for the agricultural schools in Norway this week on the beautiful Island of Senja in the northern part of Norway (an hour by boat from Tromsø). We visited Gibostad agricultural school and the headmaster Stein-Erik Svendsen welcomed us and together with his colleges: Oddny Asbøl and Mona Richardsen, we really got a «deep dive» into farming both on land and sea farming and fishing in the arctic region.
We had a very beautiful and interesting trip visiting the school farm with goats and cows at Gibostad, the sea farms on the vest coast of Senja and to Mefjordvær, a small fishing society where they are fishing cod, haddock, pollock, herring and shrimps. They also have processing factories nearby to dry the cod and haddock and to make fish fillets and shrimps. The sea temperature was around 4 degrees now and goes up to 10 degrees in summer.
The farms in this area are scattered, but they have dairy farming with cows and goats and produce nice white cheese from goat milk. The milk farms cut the grass once during summer and in autumn the cows go grazing. They let the animals go to the pastures or into the mountains in summer. But predators like wolfs, bears, wolverines, lynxes and eagles create big problems for farmers on the mainland. On the Island of Senja they have problems with sea eagles. They produce very nice potatoes. They also have much reindeer farming in this region and in Finnmark further north.
Norway have had a policy to keep farms all over the country. But the government has favoured the big farms, and during the last 15 years, many of the small farms have given up. In the northern part it is hard to get the young people into farming, because they earn much more money if they start fishing or get other jobs in the region. Now they are starting projects to recruit youngsters for agricultural education and farming.
In the photos you can see Senja, both nature and the school farm where you can see Oddny and the small goat, Aadne and Martin with many goats, Svein with the cows, a play-garden for the small goats, Trond Håvard, Bente og Linda visiting the sea farm, the group picture and also pictures from beautiful Senja.”
Acknowledgements: many thanks, Rita 🙂