In a previous article, I wrote that I will talk about two interesting foreigners living in Russia who are engaged in agriculture. It's time to talk about the farmer from England John Kapiski and the German farmer and entrepreneur Stefan Duerr.
John Maxwell Kopiski is a Russian businessman of English descent, the founder and owner of the Christmas dairy farm for almost 4,000 cattle and the Bogdarnya farm, which is located in the Vladimir region - Petushinsky district.
John Kopiski was born on July 17, 1949 in London. After graduation, he trained at Coutinho Caro & Co, a steel trading company. Since 1972, he managed the company’s subsidiaries in Bangladesh, and then in Pakistan and South Africa.
In 1982, he headed the coal company «Balli Trading» London. For business, he first came to the USSR (Russia) in 1991 with the aim of exploring the possibility of opening a market in the Republic of Tajikistan. After the collapse of the USSR, about a year later, he acquired a mine in the city of Michurinsk, founded his own coal company «Michurinskugol» and moved to Russia for permanent residence. In 1993 received Russian citizenship. Married to a Russian beauty, has five beautiful children.
Soon after moving to Russia, he founded the «Bogdarnya» farm and the «Christmas» and dairy livestock complex in the Petushinsky district. Initial investments in «Bogdarnia» amounted to 500 thousand dollars, several million US dollars were invested in the construction of Christmas, in 2006 he attracted another 8 million US dollars for «Christmas» on soft loans: the new farm became a member of the national project for the development of the agricultural complex. In 2007, he signed a contract for the supply of milk with the «Wimm-Bill-Dann» company (Pepsi-Cola division in Russia), and soon after that he signed a contract for the sale of milk for the production of baby food «Agusha». In 2009, he received loans in the amount of $ 20 million from the budgets of the Vladimir and Lipetsk regions for the development of farming. And in 2015, he sold his company «Christmas» for $ 100 million. Now he is engaged in his beloved brainchild by the «Bogdarnia» farm, where he has 400 heads of cattle, supplies milk to his own cheese factory and is one of the most famous cheese makers in Russia. John Kopiski is a rather unique person in his 70s at the «Bogdarnya» farm, organized an agro-tourism complex where there is a contact zoo, sailing lessons and sports games are held. He teaches horse riding, is a co-owner of several dozen horses of Russian breeds - Vladimir heavy truck and Orlov trotter. The almost forgotten direction in Russia is developing a race on the Russian three horses in winter in a sleigh in the snow. John also does charity work - he restored the destroyed Orthodox church in the village of Vospushka, Petushinsky district. He built the chapel of St. Blasius, the patron saint of animals, and the Church of the Holy Myrrh-bearing women in the village of Krutovo.
Stefan Duerr, Russian businessman of German descent. Born in 1964 in the city of Eberbach, province of Baden-Württemberg - Germany. The owner of the agricultural holding «EkoNiva» in Russia. The first time he came to the USSR back in 1989 on student exchange.
Stefan started his business in Russia in 1994 with small operations for the sale of agricultural machinery by 1998, he began to supply imported agricultural machinery in significant quantities. And since 2002, engaged in agricultural production. In 2011, the company was divided into two independent holdings, «EkoNivaTehnika-Holding» LLC and «EkoNiva-APK Holding» LLC. And in early February, the co-owner and president of the largest milk producer in Russia, «EkoNiva Holding», was elected chairman of the board of the «Soyuz-Milk» association.
Having launched the first milk processing project back in 2013. Gradually, the company became one of the leading agricultural holdings in Russia. EkoNiva agricultural enterprises operate in the Voronezh, Ryazan, Orenburg Kursk, Novosibirsk, Kaluga and Tyumen regions on an area of 1 million acres. About 9.5 thousand employees are employed in agricultural production. Now about 70% of «EkoNiva’s» revenue comes from milk. Another 30% of the company receives from crop production. The company has a herd of cows over 100 000 heads, 4 processing plants. Stefan leads an active life, constantly developing his business.
You probably noticed that these two prominent representatives of the business are actively developing it in the field of milk production and its processing into dairy products and cheese. This is due to the fact that milk is one of the most profitable and strategic products in Russia, with the proper organization of the business in the field of feed production, it can bring from 12 to 40% per annum of annual investments in this direction. And the processing of raw milk into finished products brings an additional 20 to 40%. Buying land in Russia and choosing the right direction, you will return your investment within 3-7 years. Unless of course we are talking about horticulture or viticulture, this industry returns investments after 7-10 years, so it is better to buy in this case not land, but finished gardens or vineyards.