Close to farmers:
Farming Insider: Ievhenii Bondarchuk
About Mykhailo, Ievhenii, and Vitalii Bondarchuk
It was back in the 1960s that Mykhailo Bondarchuk sowed the seeds for the family business in agriculture. His son Ievhenii developed Yavir Agroservice in Bershad, central Ukraine, into a prosperous agricultural business that now focuses on sugar beet production. Ievhenii’s son Vitalii joined the company after completing his studies and now assists his father with legal administrative matters.
Family-run farm where three generations work together.
Location: Bershad, Vinnytsia Oblast, Ukraine
Crops cultivated: Sugar beet
Special features: In addition to farming, Ievhenii Bondarchuk is passionate about landscaping as well as sheep breeding. He transformed a neighboring piece of wasteland into a botanical garden within a period of twelve years. The farmer also raises Dorper sheep, which are a fast-growing, meat-producing breed. Bondarchuk crosses the Dorper sheep with his native sheep to improve meat quality.
The most important qualities that parents can
pass on to their children are a love for people, respect,
and doing what you love.
Ievhenii, before we talk about your work, let’s take a look at the beautiful spot that has taken shape next to your house. You have given your little town of Bershad the gift of a beautiful idyll.
Ievhenii: Alongside agriculture, landscaping and garden design is something that gives me great pleasure. And next to the house where I live there used to be a patch of fallow land, so I decided to purchase the land and plant a few lime and birch trees there to turn it into a nicer spot. Over the course of twelve years, the site has transformed into a beautiful arboretum, I think. Bershad is a small town, and people love to cycle or walk here to enjoy the beauty.
It sounds like you’re really passionate about the things you work on. Where did you get that from?
Ievhenii: It’s something you have to be born with. I think that if you want to be a farmer, you probably can’t learn that in an institute.
The special thing about your family business is that three generations have been working there. A new generation also always means a different perspective on the profession. What’s your take on your beginnings in agriculture and your passion for your job?
Mykhailo: I started working back in 1969, and during the first 16 years I taught myself everything. Gradually, new technologies came about, which are helpful for cultivating our kind of sugar beet. These days, when I see the farm and the work my son is doing, I am very happy that it’s going so well for him.
Ievhenii: My first memories go back to summer holidays on the farm. As the head agronomist, my father used to take me to work on a T-72 tractor. So I was always close to the field while I was growing up. I saw how sugar beet was cultivated and I saw how wheat was sown. That’s what sparked my love of machines, nature, and farming.
Vitalii, can you share these early farming experiences as the youngest member on the Bondarchuk family farm?
Vitalii: Yes, I can actually. I remember some moments going back to my early childhood. When the sowing was going on, for example, we children asked my parents for two square meters of land to take care of independently, so we could grow something of our own ...
… and harvest it?
Vitalii: Well, we were typical kids, when the summer came around we had forgotten our two square meters of course. Nevertheless, every year these moments of sowing and harvesting left their mark on us. It got us children thinking that we could work in agriculture in the future, too.
What values are you passing on to your son, Ievhenii? What qualities does Vitalii need to make the legacy of your farm fit for the future?
Ievhenii: Overall, I believe that everyone has to find their own way in life. We are born with our own personalities and everyone has their own preferences. As the saying goes, “You reap what you sow.” The most important qualities that parents can pass on to their children are – in my opinion – a love for people, respect, love for your work, not slacking off, working hard, doing what you love, and living your life in such a way that people speak well of you.
Paving the way. For a fruitful tomorrow.
Farm life is often characterized by family cohesion and traditions that have grown over decades. Around the world, many generations live and work on farms under one roof, and at some point the question of farm succession comes up. Our new Farmer Portraits focus on this generational change that many farmers are facing. Young and old alike - we visited farmers on their farms to have them tell us about their stories, their challenges and their hopes.