In the 13th installment of the Farmer of the Year competition held by the daily Maaleht and the Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce, Tõnu Post of the Kõljala farm in Pihtla municipality on Saaremaa island won this year's title.
Post's herd of 500 Estonian-breed cattle and Holsteins is yielding 11,000 kilograms of milk per year. Although having many other good qualities, the Estonian cattle are not known for high output, which makes his figures all the more impressive.
Moreover, Post recently bought out the Valjala farm, which was in financial difficulty, and the acquisition has made him Saaremaa's biggest farmer in terms of land (2,500 hectares) and production (800 dairy cows).
Post also won the best dairy farmer title in September.
At the award ceremony, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves praised farmers as a class and extolled the virtues of the countryside, saying that over 100 years ago, Estonia was built on the backs of farmers who sent their sons off to school in the towns. He said the rural folk could yet again be the country's salvation, despite the countryside being sometimes popularly equated with deprivation.
"So don't think that life is only possible in Tallinn or somewhere even further off past Estonia's borders. That life totally exists in Estonia. And it is in many ways thanks to you," he told the gathering.