Aid rules causing cattle to be shipped up and down Finland

FINLAND - Finnish beef farmers are transporting hundreds of head of cattle a year from across Finland, to be fattened up in Lapland's biggest beef farm in Kittilä.
calendar icon 29 December 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
The fatterned cattle are then back down south again to be slaughtered, the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) reported Thursday.

The motivation for all these movementsis the higher aid paid for each head in Lapland than in provinces like Ostrobothnia and Savo further south.

The animals may have to endure a round trip of more than 1,000 kilometres, according to YLE.

Kittilä's Levi-Farm, the biggest beef cattle farm in Finnish Lapland, is owned by two of Finland's biggest beef farmers, based in the south. The municipality of Kittilä lies about 950km north of Helsinki. The distance from Kittilä to Atria's abattoir in Kuopio is about 640km.

"The industry will supply the calves to places where the cowpens are, be it sensible or not. In any case this is how the EU system works, one simply has to live with it," Ilkka Nykänen, head of purchasing at AtriaNauta, told YLE.

The subsidy paid for each slaughtered heifer in Lapland is three times greater than in the south. The national subsidy is 447 euros a head, compared with 270 euros a head in Ostrobothnia and Savo.

The producers say their investment into the disused agricultural college in Kittilä four years ago was not motivated by the differences in agricultural aid.

"Had we bought this kind of farm in central Finland, its profitability would probably be just as good. It is simply a matter of the costs being higher and that is why the subsidy is greater," Pentti Ylinampa, the chief executive of Levi-Farmi, was quoted as saying by YLE.

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