Already about 3 years ago South Ostrobothnia region was introduced to me as a rural and very fast developing region of Finland. No surprise then that a research institute focused on rural studies and rural development, Ruralia Institute, has been successfully located in Seinäjoki exactly 25 years ago. Just recently I had a chance to see with my own eyes an example of the high-tech rural development in the region, in detail, in the municipality of Teuva.
An opening of a brand new robot-stable suitable for 140 cows (for milk production) took place on 22nd of February, 2013 at the agriculture holding of Paula and Seppo Kaleva (Kalevan Tila) located in Teuva. All together; planning, investment and construction phases took 2 years and 10 months out of which the construction phase took only 7 months. With the cost of 1.5 million Euros the Kaleva’s holding is, at the moment, the biggest milk farm in the municipality. The fully automatic stable includes two milking robots, cleaning robots, several computer stations and a large office space. Visiting the stable and seeing all those machines gave the misleading impression that one can run a big milk farm just by sitting in front of the computer, as everything seems to be done itself.
Obviously finalizing such big agricultural investment has many impacts on regional economy, but a kind of surprise was the see the social impact on the local society. The opening day was attended by more than 500 persons of all age; children, teenagers, adults and elderly. Different marketing stands and services made it even look like a small milk-industry fair. Among visitors one could easily notice the locals as well as external institutions and industry representatives.
All in all, it was definitely an interesting and memorable day in the context of regional agricultural development research.