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In a ceremony at Valmiera Drama Theater on Friday, March 4, Latvia’s leading milk processing group Food Union honored best raw milk suppliers to the dairy companies Rīgas piena kombināts, Valmieras piens and Rīgas piensaimnieks in 2015. Farmers were praised for significant achievements in improving their farms’ effectiveness and development, and contribution to the development of Latvian dairy industry. The event brought together 300 farmers from all over Latvia.

Food Union presented awards to 31 milk suppliers from various regions in Latvia in a total of seven categories: For Significant Contribution to Development of the Dairy Industry in Latvia, For Efficient Farming Practices and Production of Quality Raw Milk, For Supplying the Largest Amount of Raw Milk, For Successful Cooperation and Active Involvement in the Development of Dairy Industry, For Long-Time and Loyal Cooperation, For Diligence, and in the category of Latvian Dairy Industry Patriots.

“Food Union cooperates with more than 400 farms and raw milk suppliers on a daily basis. This year the number has further increased as Rīgas piensaimnieks joined Food Union Group. I wish to thank all these farmers, their families and farmhands for our cooperation and contribution to attaining the highest level of effectiveness and production of milk of the highest quality, as it is their hard work that started the success story of Food Union products that are so popular in Latvia,” says Harijs Panke, Deputy Chairman of the Food Union Council.

“I welcome the tradition of Food Union to congratulate those Latvian dairy farms that have been reliable cooperation partners to the company and ensured steady supplies of raw milk. For the past one-and-a-half years, the milk production and processing industry has been going through difficult times, when milk prices paid to farmers fell steeply and markets reduced for dairy companies. The Ministry of Agriculture has done very much to provide support for the dairy industry. As a result, even in this complicated situation we can see several positive trends. Export of dairy products to 19 new countries has begun, and the amount of exports to the existing markets increased. I wish all Latvian dairy farms and companies to continue their fruitful cooperation in the future,” emphasizes Minister of Agriculture Jānis Dūklavs.

“The current period in the dairy industry is characterized by milk overproduction, on both the global and local markets. As a result, prices of dairy products have been decreasing, which inevitably lowers the price of milk as a commodity. These are difficult circumstances, for dairy farms and companies alike. Now is the time that dairy companies and farms should cooperate closer than ever, focusing on the quality of milk and production efficiency. It is for this reason that, during the ceremony of annual awards presented to the cooperation partners of Food Union in 2015, the Central Union of Latvian Milk Producers wishes to honor those dairy farms that have already proved that they employ effective farming practices and make milk of especially high quality,” as Jānis Šolks, Chairman of the Board at the Central Union of Latvian Milk Producers, said during the Food Union ceremony.

In the category For Significant Contribution to Development of the Dairy Industry in Latvia, awards were presented to Kalnāji farm owner Vladislavs Butāns in Tukums Region, Agro-Kaķenieki owner Vasilijs Pravdivecs in Dobele Region, Pampāļi owner Jānis Vaļko in Saldus Region, LIS Latgale owner Valentīna Sarkane from Viļāni Region, and J. Gierkena Farm owner Juris Gierkens from Krimulda Region.

In the category For Efficient Farming Practices and Production of Quality Raw Milk, awards went to farm Pauguri owner Uldis Innis from Priekule Region, farm Silmalas owner Anita Veinberga from Krimulda Region, farm Mazdzērvītes owner Jānis Ločmelis in Kocēni Region, farm Kalntontes owner Aigars Kalve in Rūjiena Region, and farm Zilūži owner Jānis Grasbergs from Kocēni Region.

In the category For Supplying the Largest Amount of Raw Milk, Food Union awarded Agrofirma Zelta Druva owner Edgars Silakalns from Dobele Region.

In the category For Successful Cooperation and Active Involvement in the Development of Dairy Industry, honored were farm Kalndunduri owner Viesturs Liepiņš from Krimulda Region, farm Rīti owner Ēriks Mediss from Alūksne Region, Sidgunda 2 owner Normunds Kalniņš from Mālpils Region, farm Kalnblāķi owner Artis Janelis from Mazsalaca Region, and farm Dzintari owner Andrejs Kārklis from Kocēni Region.

In the category For Long-Time and Loyal Cooperation in 2015, awards were presented to farm Madaras owner Jānis Rancāns from Ogre Region, farm Ūdri owner Ēriks Kreitūzis from Limbaži Region, farm Dambjupītes owner Ivo Cinglers in Alūksne Region, farm Palejkalni owner Silvija Miščenko in Aizkraukle Region, and farm Cerības-2 owner Ameļa Jablonska in Ozolnieki Region.

In the category Latvian Dairy Industry Patriots, Food Union awarded Bormaņi owner Jānis Miezītis from Koknese Region, farm Apsītes owner Ranta Šmita in Beverīna Region, farm Viļānu SIS owner Leopolds Zunda in Viļāni Region, farm Ceipi 1 owner Diāna Vašuta from Burtnieki Region, and farm Kadiķi M.A. owner Mārtiņš Augstkalnietis in Alūksne Region.

Latvian Rural Advisory and Training Center’s Valmiera office presented its For Diligence award to farm Mareņi owner Didzis Liepiņš, farm Zīvāni owner Māra Jēgere, farm Avoti owner Daiga Logina, farm Virši owner Andrejs Bērziņš, and farm Tiltgaļi owner Māris Bošs. These awards were presented Daiga Siliņa, head of the Valmiera office of the Rural Advisory and Training Center.

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