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Farming insider: Gürkan Ilhan, Turkey
Animals have been part of Gürkan Ilhan´s life since childhood. In his grandfather´s mountain village, a large proportion of his family have reared and cared for grazing livestock. His parents, on the other hand, worked as public servants: his mother as a nurse and his father as a teacher, but that did nothing to diminish his great passion for animal husbandry and agriculture. Alongside his work as a farmer, Gürkan also runs a veterinary clinic.
The farm in Eskişehir employs seven people. It comprises of both crops and livestock.
People who work in agriculture, cultivating crops, rearing livestock and working on the land, accumulate positive memories day after day.
Why did you decide to become a farmer?
I have always been involved in agriculture, cultivating crops and rearing livestock – I have dedicated my life to my farm. I love nature and I don´t like noise, so the further away I get from the city, the better I feel. For me, agricultural production and rearing livestock are the best and most fascinating forms of production. That´s why I work in this area and why I want to be a part of it.
What do you associate with independence?
Let me put it this way: I try to solve every problem that arises in this enterprise by myself. When I am with my employees, I become one of them. I take care of the livestock, I go into the fields and I treat the animals. If my workers have a day off, I can step in and do their work myself. That's what freedom is to me – understanding everything and knowing as much as possible. I'm responsible for everything that happens here and you have to know what you're doing. It makes me feel strong and I'm not accountable to anybody. That's what being independent means to me.
What does your daily routine as a farmer involve?
It's a risky business and it can be stressful because anything can happen. I have invested a great deal in my business and I inspect and monitor my animals, my fields and my facilities every day in situ. I am continually dealing with questions about animal health. In my establishment we have strict rules that everyone has to follow, including me, and that's something I place great emphasis on. Remaining sustainable is important if you want to rear livestock successfully, which is why we also pay particular attention to biosecurity.
How do you approach innovations and new technologies?
I've been in this business for 20 years. I used to have simple machines and simple systems, but I've kept up with the latest technology because I want to reach an ever higher level and produce high-quality products. That's why I monitor the general condition of my animals by computer and manage the whole facility digitally. If everything is in order, then I can relax a little bit.
On the road worldwide. Always closeby.
All farmers have their own character - which is reflected in their way of life, philosophy and the form of farming and livestock breeding. We visited our farmers around the world and wanted to know what makes them successful, what they stand for and what challenges they have to face. A journey across five continents.