In October 2008, Karen Jacobsen, DVM, went on her second assignment to the
On her second trip, Jacobsen went to assist the same dairy with their nutritional program. The August 2008 war between Russian and
In an e-mail home on Oct. 23, 2008, Jacobsen wrote:
The town looks much the same as before except for the train station that
Today I spent my time designing a ration for dairy cows that presently get no minerals added to their feed! The owners previously bought a grain mix from a Turkish man, but when feed prices doubled, they opted to buy their own commodity feeds. He refused to sell them just a mineral premix, which he imports from
The farm grows and buys ear corn and they remove the kernels by hand. Labor is cheap here. Typical wages are $150/mo and 70 % of the people are unemployed. Grain and fuel prices are 25 and 50% higher than in the
The sad part is that everyone here will tell you that life was much, much better during communism. Even though they had less personal freedom back prior to 1991, there was 100% employment and their houses all had electricity, natural gas, and running water. This little country has been being punished by
The Lutalyse and Cystorelin donated by Pfizer and Merial were gratefully received by the dairy. They can buy neither here, as there is apparently not enough dairy infrastructure to warrant it yet.
This farm, with 100 milking cows is the largest in the country and the only one with milking machines. There are cows all over the roads in the villages, though, as most every family keeps a cow in the yard for milk and cheese-making.
Excerpts from a follow up e-mail on Oct. 27, 2008 from Jacobsen:
…The house had a well, but only cold water. Electricity was intermittent at both the dairy and the home, so we lucked into a hot shower mid week when the power was on at the dairy's cheese plant (they routinely milk with a generator during power outages).
The cow ration was also badly protein deficient (10.9%), as they stopped feeding soy due to cost. I suggested they get hazlenut waste, as there is nut production in
The country is still hugely pro-American and Pro-European. The people are still hopeful that they will get admitted to the EU and/or NATO. The dairy owner made a big deal about my visit, and even arranged a meeting with Senaki's mayor and city manager, in which they gave me a bouquet of roses.
When a car is going somewhere here it never travels with less than 4-5 people, even just across town. Gas costs $4.70/gallon and diesel is $8.00/gallon. Almost no-one has a car, and if they do, it becomes a taxi. There are lots of horses pulling carts on the roads (except in
Tomorrow I meet with some Turkish mineral suppliers in
*The Farmer-to-Farmer program is funded by the United States Agency for International Development, and is administered through various non-governmental organizations.
Have you had an interesting experience in the last year involving international or domestic travel where you have interacted with and helped other bovine veterinarians or livestock producers? Are you a veterinary student who has had a unique bovine-related international externship? If so, e-mail a description of your adventure and a photo or two to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put you on the BovineVetOnline.com Web site.