Last but certainly not the least we had the presentations of one of the key strengths in the food sector in  South Ostrobothnia: Utilizing data in animal welfare verification and tracking. Mrs. Ina Toppari, executive  director of ETT Animal Health presented Case Sikava. Sikava is a national quality system for animal health  in pork production, and similar is available for beef/milk production as well. The program collects data from  the farmers, veterinarians and slaughterhouses, and ensures for example high standards of national quality scheme. 

Connected to the same GP, the last presentation of the day was a site visit to Atria, a Finnish meat company with farm level traceability. Mrs. Seija Pihlajaviita, Quality director of Atria presented the company and the idea of farm level traceability as well as the antibiotic-free production concept. Digitalisation is an important enabler for both of these, but it also requires lots of passion, will, hard work and cooperation in the food value chain to produce the cleanest food in the world. 

The first day ended to a local and wild food dinner by restaurant Juurella, which we enjoyed in the forest with stakeholders in a nice, warm atmosphere around fire. 

The second day of the study visit started with a bus trip through Finnish countryside to visit Honkajoki Ltd. This was also related to GP of utilizing data in animal production. Production director Mr. Matti Lehtinen presented Honkajoki, which is Finland’s leading processor of animal by-products, that they manufacture and refine into high-quality, clean and safe raw materials for circular economy. Processes are highly digitized, and the company is very interested in R&D cooperation. Possibility for a new initiative under the Big Data & Traceability platform was brought up for interested parties. We hope to continue discussions about this in Pazardzhik in November. 

Last visit was to an advanced dairy farm Finnmilk. Mr. Ari Teppo, co-owner of the biggest dairy company of Finland with 600 cows presented their way of working and utilizing digitalisation. He emphasized the importance of the knowledge the farmer himself needs in analyzing data and utilizing it as well as possible. Finnmilk has a big milking robot carousel that milks ca. 85 cows per hour, making it possible for people to focus in the wellbeing of the animals – based also on data that is collected in this modern farm. 

At the Friday afternoon it was time to say good bye and see you soon, as the partners started their way  home. As organizers we of course wish that everyone found interesting GP’s and learned something new to take home and implement in the future. The process continues in project level in the next study visits with each partner. Main themes of study visit in South Ostrobothnia seemed to be in cooperation and utilizing data – good to continue from here. 

Soila Huhtaluhta, Regional project coordinator, South Ostrobothnia, FI