“I have built up a herd of fifty cows of the Salers breed which every summer I move to the heights of Bious Artigues, in the Ossau valley in the Atlantic Pyrenees. These cows are known for being a hardy breed living permanently in the mountain pastures in summer and plains during winter” says Mr Bergara.
He adds, “However, as the income from cattle farming alone is insufficient to live on, we decided to diversify the activities of the farm by starting to produce the world-famous Espelette pepper and moving from the breeding of sheep to the production of goat milk. The Espelette pepper crop benefits from an AOP (protected designation of origin) in only ten municipalities including Souraïde, with strict rules to be respected. It brings us a significant additional income. However, the workload is also increasing, and one person is no longer enough in the farm”.
It was in 2016, on holiday in Mayenne, that the idea to produce goats milk clicked for Isabelle.
"We had visited a farm with a goat herd. I fell in love with the goats, as did one of our two daughters, who became interested in breeding them"
That was when Isabelle took the decision to quit her job and spend all her time helping at the farm.
This is echoed by the managing authority, Alain Rousset, President of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region: “This device is decisive in supporting farmers in transforming their agricultural practices and accelerating the ‘agro ecological transformation’ of agriculture towards new sustainable agri-food systems of production and consumption. This is a concrete and operational example of the ambition displayed by the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region in its ‘Neo Terra’ roadmap. The mobilisation of EU funds clearly demonstrates the value of this approach and the regional volunteering in this sector".
Finally, although Richard Baber admits that the health crisis had repercussions on the development of Alter'NA, which was launched just before lockdown, he nonetheless remains confident about its development: “We can see that consumer trends after the COVID-19 crisis have seen further acceleration in favour of local products that respect the environment and animal welfare. We believe that we will see more and more projects to develop food chain businesses to meet this growing demand. We will support these new projects with this guarantee”.