The owners of Lāses AM, SIA in Rumba parish Aigars Melderis and Dace Antanovičus have received the highest award of the Ministry of Agriculture “Sējējs” in the category of the best organic farm in Latvia. The award was presented in the area of breeding beef cattle in the structural unit KOLUMBI where Dace is in charge.
“This is exciting because this is the first time we are nominated for a significant award — this is an honour for any farmer,” she reveals. “It is very difficult to become a good organic farm because it is necessary to comply with stricter requirements.”
The owners of the farm reveal that a long time was spent for the assessment and the jury panel was friendly, but strict at the same time. Aigars adds that such recognition is a motivation to proceed with the work and to work better. Initially they hesitated to agree on the participation in the contest as it is too early. KOLUMBI is a rather new organic farm because Lāses AM, SIA, which has been in the meat processing business for a long time, changed the focus to cattle breeding only five years ago when a choice had to be made — either to liquidate the farm or to develop further. Dace is very passionate about cattle: “At that point I was ready to convince my husband to purchase cattle, considering their genetics, to keep pure-bred animals and to create animal lines that are not present in Latvia and thus stabilise the herd and produce meat of good quality. At the same time we restored grassland and pasture land as good exterior traits are not enough — proper nutrition is required for good results.”
Another local producer — Milzu!, SIA — was nominated for the award “Sējējs” this year in the category of the Food Processing Company of the Year and also the organic farm Valti in Skrunda. Both received consolation prizes. The Head of the Latvian Rural Advisory and Training Centre branch in Kuldīga Daiga Mellere notes that this is the third time when a local entrepreneur has been awarded a grand prize, but this year high awards were presented to all nominees. This indicates to improvement of the competitive capacity. Last year the award “Sējējs” was presented to the owners of Ezergaļi in Vārme — Iveta and Dzintars Erdmanis, and before that the award was presented to Viktorija and Gatis Zonenbergs from Laidi.