At Faridabad-based Milan Sharma’s Revnar Farms one of many cows had been in misery for nearly eight hours, and no native veterinarians had been accessible then. She bought on a video name with a vet related to the Animal Husbandry Division of Haryana, which she’s been in contact with for some time, who guided her over the cellphone.
“For the primary time in my life I’ve put my hand inside a cow and felt the cervix,” she remembers in an interview with The Higher India. Together with his assist, she carried out an inside examination, checking the dilation of the cervix and confirming the place the calf’s head was. He then guided her on methods to soothe the cow until the delivery.
This, Milan remembers, was a breakthrough for her as she earlier used to assemble her garments round her and stroll cautiously, ensuring no animal on her household farm touched her.
The previous German language trainer co-founded Revnar Farms together with her husband Chetan Sharma and has carried out a sustainable, natural farming mannequin.
Immediately, the farm has 50 grownup cows and 70 calves. “They’re pretty, lovely beings and we get pleasure from being across the animals,” says Chetan.
Twelve acres of the land are used for fodder cultivation and 21 acres for grains, pulses and seeds. These merchandise are offered by way of direct orders and their web site, clocking an annual income of Rs 70 lakh on common.
After finishing her Masters in Biochemistry, Milan bought married and was a homemaker for a number of years. As soon as her sons had been all grown up, she began studying German as a pastime. This was a occupation the place she spent a number of years instructing the language at Amity Worldwide Faculty. She was additionally a member of the Central Board of Secondary Schooling (CBSE) syllabus committee, co-authoring a number of German language textbooks.
In January 2017, after her father-in-law, who owned 4 cows and a farmland, handed away, issues modified for Milan. In reminiscence of his father, Chetan purchased two extra cows. Over the months, they bought extra cows, and by early 2018 they’d 35 cows on their land. However round April, they misplaced 5 of the animals. “That was a jolt, that they aren’t machines which have stopped working. They’re residing beings and anyone needs to be there to take care of them,” remembers the 52-year-old.
This prompted her to give up her job and deal with the farm full-time. Underneath Dr AK Singh at Karnal’s Nationwide Dairy Analysis Institute (NDRI), she undertook two one-month programs on business dairy farming and worth addition to milk merchandise. In August 2018, she took over the farm. “From chopping crops at hand milking the cattle and understanding what quantity of focus to feed every animal, I grew to become concerned in all the pieces,” she says. Over the primary two years of enterprise, the household invested Rs 1.5 crore to get the enterprise up and operating.
Given the abundance of cattle, they’d began with dairy farming, utilizing the milk at dwelling after which sending the surplus to family and friends. As phrase unfold, the enterprise took off, as an increasing number of prospects began shopping for their milk. However Milan quickly realised that promoting milk alone wouldn’t maintain the enterprise.
Immediately, in addition they promote grains, oils, and different merchandise. The farm has grains like wheat, jowar (sorghum), bajra (pearl millet), pulses like arhar (pigeon pea), moong (mung bean), and urhad (vigna mungo), and seeds like sesame and mustard, amongst others.
Revnar Farm’s merchandise are offered on-line by way of their web site and so they additionally promote the farm’s byproducts. One kg paneer is offered at Rs 675, 850 ml mustard oil is offered at Rs 299, and one kg of dried and powdered khad (slurry) is offered for Rs 70 and extra.
Sustainable, pure and natural farming
On their farm, the couple practises natural, cow-based farming, utilizing sustainable strategies. They eradicate all pesticides and dangerous chemical compounds from the agricultural course of to supply pure, wholesome merchandise.
To grasp methods to go about organising the farm and placing these practices in place, Milan has been engaged in steady analysis. She learns about new concepts and views by way of persistently visiting close by universities and talking with college there. She usually visits the CCS Haryana Agricultural College and Lala Lajpat Rai College of Veterinary & Animal Sciences in Hisar, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary & Animal Sciences College in Ludhiana, and Uttar Pradesh Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Pashu Chikitsa Vigyan Vishwavidyalaya Evam Go-Anusandhan Sansthan (DUVASU) in Mathura, amongst others. “I used to be pleasantly stunned that each professor, in every single place, offers all their time and knowledge. It has been an exquisite expertise.”
Amongst their sustainable practices are intercropping, so even when one crop doesn’t give sufficient yield they’ve others to depend on; including furrows and ridges alongside the sector, making it simpler to provide gobar slurry and making the weeding course of extra environment friendly; the usage of sprinklers as a substitute of flooding the sector which conserves water and saves on the electrical energy a pump would use. And Chetan says, “The farm has an eight-kilowatt off-grid photo voltaic system which we put in ourselves.”
Milan began making jeevamrut (a pure liquid fertiliser) and beejamrut (an answer with microbes which are helpful to vegetation) and following Indian agriculturalist Subhash Palekar’s books and his zero-budget farming mannequin. “I mixed this with prakritik kheti (pure farming).”
As an illustration, the soil and crop are nourished utilizing a mix of cow dung, cow urine, tree leaves, jaggery, and besan (gram flour). As an alternative of pesticides, vegetation are saved pest-free by way of a concoction of cow urine, neem, garlic, inexperienced chillies, and fermented buttermilk. Moringa is used to supply minerals to vegetation as a substitute of buying a packaged mineral combination from the market – being natural and saving cash on the identical time. The farm additionally has an 80 cubic metre gobar fuel plant the place all of the cooking for the farm is carried out, and which gives ample slurry that’s used as manure. “Nothing synthetic is utilized in my fields,” she says. “This additionally saves on the expense of something chemical or sprays,” she provides.
The animals are additionally handled utilizing pure practices, following the booklets on ethnoveterinary medicine printed by the Nationwide Dairy Improvement Board (NDDB) and the state’s Animal Husbandry Division. “These medicines are sourced from vegetation and bushes like chuimui (disgrace plant), peppermint leaves, aloe vera, and extra.” She explains that she prefers these to antibiotics for a number of causes. One, these medicines include a 72-hour milk withdrawal interval, that means the milk produced by the animal throughout this time shouldn’t be consumed by people. Two, the antibiotics trigger stress to the animal. And three, they’re usually costlier than pure strategies.
Whereas utilizing pure, sustainable strategies reduces prices for the enterprise, Milan says they’re additionally dedicated to offering the best high quality merchandise to market. “The primary lesson I’d learnt at NDRI was that worth addition all the time provides to your merchandise’ worth and offers higher income,” she remembers. Revnar Farm thus gives processed oil as a substitute of simply seeds, dried and powdered manure, havan sticks fabricated from cow dung, and dals which are cleaned and processed. In addition they supply processed dairy merchandise like butter, paneer, chaas (buttermilk), and extra.
As they proceed to develop their enterprise, the couple’s love and fondness for the animals additionally will increase manifold. Milan slowly realised that they recognise love and care and reply to it in form and so they have come to recognise her. “My voice and presence are soothing for them, and their presence for me,” she says.
Edited by Yoshita Rao