– Starting to practice money cravings

– Starting to practice money cravings

He estimates himself that he works two full-time jobs. Still, Krong farmer Erlend Fiscum had to take out a loan to pay the bills last year.

Erlend Fiskum took over the family farm Foynem in Krong North in 2001. On the slopes above Namchen, he has 400 acres of grassland.

There are 130 animals in the stall. 35 cows produce 270,000 liters of milk per year. He offers 50 beef slaughters per year. The farm has been in the family since 1890.

The 44-year-old has a partner at another job and two children at home. The past few years have been extraordinary, he says.

– I'm starting to practice being smart about money, so to speak.

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It was a turning point for him, who had been a farmer for over twenty years and had to go to the bank to pay for enrichment:

– No question about investing in a new tractor or building a new barn. These are running costs which must be covered by the income from production.

Family Farm: Erlend Fiscum owns 130 animals. Photo: Private

Fiskum sits on the board of the Norwegian Farmers' Union. On Thursday, he will participate in a large farmers' demonstration at Eidsvolls Place outside Storting.

Industry and politicians agree that farmers should earn like other people. There is disagreement on how agricultural income should be calculated.

The Storting majority agreed with the Norwegian Fisheries Agency's method of calculation, which it called completely unfair and the situation too dramatic:

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– Farmers are not going to take necessary investments for the future. Many people give up if they don't see progress for improvements.

Protest: Erlend Fiskum will take part in the announced mass demonstration outside the Storting on Thursday. Photo: Sven Arne Buggeland / VG

The farmer from Krong faces high investments: new animal welfare requirements mean he has to switch from stall barns to free-range farming by 2034.

– It will cost about eight million. But today the project didn't run and I couldn't make the math work. The risk to me and my family is very high.

Fiskum says it's a matter of presence or absence for his milk production. A somewhat steep stretch of bog and blue clay is suitable for grazing – and a little.

– If we have to abandon handling ruminants, there is no alternative production. Then the area will be out of business. I cannot produce food grains.

– Do you earn less than others in the village?

– Yes. And then I work twice as much as most people.

Fiskum says he works more than two full-time hours on the farm.

– I go to the barn at half past seven in the morning. During the growing and grazing season, I am very happy if the working day is past ten in the evening.

– Why do you do that?

– Because I am motivated to develop the farm. But we should have paid for it. The fear of getting bills you can't pay is all-consuming today.

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Fiskum believes in giving back to the community by producing food on the 400 farms that keep his animals.

– It feels unfair that we can't have a proper economy.

Action: Farmers in Gutbrandsthalen stopped traffic on the E6 on Wednesday in protest against agricultural policy. Photo: Nord-Fron Farmers Union

On April 25, farmers' organizations present their demand for agricultural settlement.

— We have two good settlements, but the increase of expenses is serious. Fiskum says the farmer has no higher income or improved finances.

He shows that input factors such as concentrate, fertilizer and energy are very expensive. An industry that invests heavily and has high debt is hit hard by rising interest rates.

Erlend Fiskum believes there is tremendous uncertainty among farmers.

– Many sit and calculate how to get out of agriculture and do something else. People give up here and now because it's too hard.

Joshi Akinjide

Joshi Akinjide

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