Vasily Tsvik. Most Progressive Goat Farmer of Ukraine.

Ukrainian market is very hard for farmers but this man proves that everything is possible when you have a dream. His name is Vasily Tsvik and he knows how to build the line of the customers in front of his goat farm. We met him on Moscow Agro Exhibition and he agreed to share his experience with us.

MilkyDay: First of all, could you please introduce yourself? What’s your name?

Vasily: Yes, sure. My name is Vasily Tsvik, the farm enterprise “Tatiana 2011” from Ukraine.

MilkyDay: OK. So, as far as I understand, you are the founder of this farm, right?

Vasily: Yes, our farm exists not so long, because it was founded in 2011. I believe that it is successfully developing and promoting its product on the Ukrainian market nowadays.

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MilkyDay: You said yesterday that your farm is focused only on the Ukrainian market, because you do not even have enough time and possibilities to meet the demands of other markets, but only Ukrainian one.

Vasily: Today, the Ukrainian market is very large. But it should be noted that unfortunately, there is no culture of consumption of goat products in Ukraine. Such product should be inculcated, promoted and delivered to the Ukrainian consumers for sure. If this happens one day, then there will be very great prospects for working on the Ukrainian market, because it’s really very big one.

MilkyDay: OK, I see. Can I ask you, why did you decide to be engaged in this type of business? Have you always been involved in a business that was connected with milk processing and farming? Or there was another reason for that?

Vasily: No, I have never been engaged in livestock farming. I am an agriculturist by education. I started my working experience and activity with a position of an agriculturer. Later I was holding the position of the Director of the farm. In 2011 we founded a farm, which, so to speak, was sort of a family farm. Later it developed into something more industrial. Up to date we own more than 2000 hectares of land. Starting from 2011 we were thinking on what kind of livestock we would do. We were considering, calculating and estimating all options, as well as were travelling around the world during three years in order to study the technology of breeding, feeding and milking, to get to know about all the details related to the goat’s breeding. In 2015 we restored the complex where the goats are kept; we also built a milk processing workshop. So, today you can see the results, what we can offer for testing and sale of our products made of goat’s milk.

Vasily Tsvik and MilkyDay

Everyone is happy with Vasily

MilkyDay: Right, I can see you can offer quite a lot of products. Can you tell me please, did you bought a lot of goats from the very beginning to immediately reach big volumes, or you have started with a small amount of a goats on a farm?

Vasily: Actually, we did not buy many goats from the very beginning. Our initial project was for 1200 goats, but we bought only 300 goats instead, because in 2015 due to the political and economic situation in Ukraine, we decided it was enough to start with 300 goats only. Today, we have reached already 1000 goats on our farm. The milk processing workshop was put into operation for producing 7.5 tons of milk per day, that is, we are planning to reach full capacity in 2018-2019.

MilkyDay: As far as I know, you have traveled a lot, you visited many different countries to compare the technology of production, to see what equipment they have and at the end you have chosen French equipment for cheese making, right?

Vasily: Yes, we traveled a lot and saw much there in other countries. I would like to note one important thing that to our regret on the Ukrainian market there is no culture of consumption of goat milk and goat products. We did quite a lot of researches, which show that people remember and know it well that goat milk is useful. However its big disadvantage is the fact that it has a specific smell. That’s why we were examining the technology and finally picked up the technology elements from all over the world, from different countries, which was transformed to be fit for our own economy, for our people, for our customers and consumers, and as a result, today we have products which are acceptable to Ukrainian buyers and have no specific sharp smell. Today the consumers are eagerly buying goat product only after they try it. Once they try it, they become our customers. If they do not try it, we do our best to make as many people try it as possible. Well, I would say that for sour milk production we are using Israeli technologists and are operating on Israeli equipment on our farm. Also, we hired a French technologist, Passer, who is using French recipes, but at the same time we have found a good compromise between French and our technologists to meet the requirements and demands of our Ukrainian consumers and the market itself.

MilkyDay: I guess it will not be a mistake to say that you were in the situation when you had to find a compromise between the French and Ukrainian technologies, right?

Vasily: Yes, absolutely right. Actually, we also had to seek compromises with the Israelis technologies as well, and I would say it was rather difficult to come to understanding that they prefer kefir that has more sour, more pronounced and sharp taste. For sure, our consumers would not have accepted it and we could face a situation when we would need to make them change their mind and put a lot of efforts to make them like it. Nevertheless, I am pretty sure that we’ve made the right decision then and we’ve found the good compromise in technology that now can make our client feel happy with goat products.

MilkyDay: OK, I see. Well, as far as I understand Ukrainian market accepted your products very well from the very beginning, right?

Vasily: Yes, that’s right. Today, everything is going well. But behind it was a very hard work of the whole team: the managers and people who were engaged in marketing and logistics, etc. A lot of people are engaged in this process and they have done their work so good that now we see great results. I see a lot of colleagues from Russia and from Europe, who are complaining for many cases of their product return. But in our case we have just few situations like that.

Vasily Tsvik

Vasily Tsvik with his tasty dairy products

MilkyDay: I see. Ok, so, could you tell me please, what are your plans for the future?

Vasily: Well, it’s reaching a volume of 7, 5 tons of milk per day.

MilkyDay: You mean it will be for the Ukrainian market only, right?

Vasily: Yes, that’s right. Only for the Ukrainian market, because I am sure that it can easily consume such volume. I think if we try harder, we can promote and bring our products to the consumers, which means we need to broaden the range of our products. Actually, as soon as we arrive back home, we will do it for sure, as it is already on the way. So, first of all, our task is to broaden our assortment and secondly, to focus on quality, namely to make it remain at the same level it was from the beginning. And I think in the end, the Ukrainian consumer will be very happy.

MilkyDay: I see. OK, I have another question for You. Despite my little experience, anyway I’ve come to conclusion that all over the world, almost every farmer, no matter where is he – in USA, Australia, Europe or Ukraine, – he faces the same problem everywhere, namely, the farmer is not very well familiar with the technology of milk processing and therefore he is forced to sell milk at a cheap price to the processing enterprises. So, what do you think is the best solution for farmers in this case? I know some farmers hope for politicians, which would give them bigger subsidies, another count on large cooperatives that might allegedly dictate their own conditions and prices to the large processors. But it seems to me that this is only an illusion, because manufacturers can actually buy and use milk powder instead of milk and therefore be more flexible, while the farmers have time limits for milk storage as it can be spoiled quickly. So, what is the solution for them in such situation?

Vasily: Well, I think there is only one way out – we have to process the milk, no matter where we are, whatever we do, in what country we live, – we simply all need to do it. But how to process the milk is another matter, as well as who will be doing it – let it be a cooperative, or a private company, or a family farm. I tell you one thing – today everyone has the right to make his own product. If he makes his own product and presents it to the market, it is already a big plus and advantage. But when a farmer is only complaining for that nobody needs his milk and doesn’t do anything to do something about it, then it’s not working this way at all. As for me, I’m always telling that in order to avoid problems, it’s a must to get up early and to go to bed little bit later, thus everything will be OK. These small steps can be already a solution and a way to success. But if someone wants to live well and do nothing for that, then it’s not going to work this way. Nowadays, we belong to those countries, where the dairy industry and goat breeding is not developed so well. I can give such an example. Once, I visited one of the plants that take 300 tons of cow’s milk per day. So, I offered them to take 5 tons of goat’s milk a day from my farm, but the Manager of that plant just laughed at me straight in my face, despite the fact he was my friend. He said to me: “Vasya, for us 5 tons of milk is good only for washing out the pipes in our large factory, and that’s all!” Sure, I understood him very well, anyway I was offended to some extent. So, what I did after that, – I bought a ticket and went to Israel to see by myself how the Israeli farmers lived and worked. That was a moment, when everything changed drastically. I’ve learned how to process the milk in a right way and began applying it in our production.

MilkyDay: So, we can say that trip inspired you and it was a pivotal point, right?

Vasily: Yes, that’s right! For sure it was.

MilkyDay: I guess that you are even grateful for what that Plant Manager told you then?

Vasily: Yes, for sure I’m very grateful to him. I’m telling him thank you always. Moreover, every time we meet with him I treat him to my goat products, and I must say that it makes him feel little bit nervous, but it’s all right. (*laughs)

MilkyDay: OK, I see. (*laughs)

Vasily: That’s just the way it is.

MilkyDay: Well, actually that’s all I wanted to ask you about.

Vasily: Thank you.

MilkyDay: Thank you very much for interview. Well, if you don’t mind, I’ll take a picture of you and your product…

Vasily: Yes, sure! Go ahead.

MilkyDay: Thank you very much once again and bye for now.

Vasily: Good-bye!

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