I am a born farmer – one of my first words I said as a young boy was sveit, which means farming. I was born in Reykjavík, but at the age of eight my family moved to Dalir and became dairy farmers.
My wife and I started our own farm in 1997. We bought the farm Erpsstaðir in Dalir with 24 cows. 10 years later we moved into a new and modern cow shed for 77 cows. At the same time we started our own little creamery where we make dairy products, such as ice cream, cheese, cream and skyr, as well as our signature product: skyrkonfekt. Icelanders have produced skyr for hundreds of years – it is a traditional soft cheese made from skimmed milk. It is eaten with a spoon and often, to make it tastier, people put wild berries such as blueberries in it or a bit of cream. Skyrkonfekt is a product made from our own skyr, which is also called sveita skyr (farmer’s skyr). It was invented in cooperation with students from the art college in Reykjavík.
I get up at around 6am, go to the cow shed and take care of the animals – I feed and milk them. We don’t actually milk the cows any more, as we have a milk robot to do the milking, but we have to control it and look after it, and there are always some cows that need extra attention.
As the morning work is done, I go home to have breakfast at around 8 am. I have porridge with whole fresh milk directly from my cows and a good cup of coffee.
On days when I make cheese or other dairy products, I skip the cowshed and my wife takes care of it. Then I start at 4.30am as I need to pasteurise the milk and make everything ready before the workers will show up at 8am.
After breakfast my work varies according to the season. In winter I do maintenance work on the buildings and usually something else will come up, such as a calf birth or hay bales that need to be moved, or I might have to clean manure from the cow lays or call the vet. In spring, summer and autumn I’ll do machine work, ploughing, harvesting hay and corn. I fix fences, the tractors and other broken machines. A farmer’s day is never a quiet and relaxing one, that is for sure.
The day in the creamery can be rough as well. In summer I mainly run the creamery from my tractor. I supervise the staff from the tractor while I am cutting hay or ploughing fields. We have about 3-5 people joining our family for the summer. Mostly people from overseas, both from Europe and America.
We run a little farm shop at the cowshed. There the customers can watch how the milk robot milks the cows. They can also see how we produce our dairy products. They can also take a tour into our cowshed, pet the cows and calves and of course the cat.
In Iceland we don’t have a lot of trees, but my wife and I decided to plant some ourselves in those areas of our land which are not suitable for hay or corn production. We do that in spring and early summer. We have now planted about 30.000 trees, which will hopefully be able to grow big.