Farmers in Kawamata town's Yamakiya district embarking on feed production

3 May 2017

A group of six farmers in the Yamakiya district of Kawamata town, Fukushima Prefecture, is seeking to restore the local livestock industry by launching full-fledged production of pasture grass and dent corn in fiscal 2017 on farmland which has become difficult to manage due to its aging and relocated owners. The government lifted an evacuation order in the district at the end of March this year. The order had been imposed after the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi plant.

The planned feed production will be undertaken by Huette Farm , a judicial agricultural union set up in March by the farmers -- Yasuhiko Kanno, 39; Masanobu Endo, 50; Shoichi Kanno, 50; Hideo Kanno, 50; Tadashi Ouchi, 44; and Hiroyuki Shigihara, 39.

Of the approximately 703 hectares of decontaminated farmland in Yamakiya, about 270 have been commissioned to the union for management by their owners and leaseholders. The farmers plan to gradually increase cultivation acreage in the farming area. In fiscal 2017 ending next March, they will monitor the safety of grass, of which seeds were sown the previous fiscal year, and of dent corn to be planted within this month. Feed crops will be shipped to the prefectural dairy cooperative association and other users after confirming their safety, starting in fiscal 2018.

Before the nuclear disaster, there were about 30 livestock farming households in Yamakiya. At present, two of them are preparing to resume livestock shipments. Huette Farm is poised to establish a system of allowing them to purchase inexpensive feed of high quality in their neighborhood.

(Photo) Farmer Yasuhiko Kanno is eager to restart agriculture and livestock industries in Yamakiya.

(Translated by Kyodo News)