Binsar Farm

(Dairy Farming & Marketing)

Binsar Farm: How the Trio of Three Friends Succeeded In the Establishment of Farm to Table Milk Business

How many of you have ever thought about contributing to the agriculture society along with your busy job schedule? The answer is very few…

For a person who is professionally devoted to the agriculture field for him taking out time for the agriculture society is not a big deal, but for those who are in the service sector, for them yes it is a big deal.

Well, this is the story of three friends who realized their dreams while still attached to their respective job profiles and worked upon it mutually to make it true as Binsar Farm.

Pankaj Navani, 40, the idealist behind Binsar Farm, comes from a background where his grandfather used to work for the betterment of their village Gawani in Pokhara Block, Uttaranchal. His grandfather established three primary schools, one Kanya vidyalas, one intermediate and one degree college for the village children. The upbringing of Pankaj Navani in such environment where his grandfather’s unconditional voluntary work for the society, has built up a positive attitude of responsibility for the community and it has stayed with Pankaj till now.

Carrying his dreams with him, Pankaj was still looking for an opportunity, and while working in the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, he finally met his future partners, Deepak and Sukhvinder (who were interning under him). The idea of Binsar farm came into reality when three of them went on a trek in the hills of Binsar and lost their way while coming back. But luckily they met a kind shepherd and he invited them to his shed and they spent that night comfortably in his hut. Next morning the shepherd showed them the right trail back to the city and this is how their trek to Binsar which seems like a fairy-tale came to an end. Thinking about the kindness and humbleness of the shepherd they decided to do something for the people of Uttaranchal. Basically, first, they thought of picking up the fruits, vegetables, and lentils grown in mountains and sell them in the plains by gathering more village farmers. The trio working along with their respective jobs also started acting on this project and they started gathering support.

It’s the matter of 2011 when the trio almost began to discover the process to proceed with their dream project. As being the election year, wherever they went everybody supported their plan, and in the same year Pankaj flew to New Zealand while working on an official assignment. But it didn’t created much difference in their efforts on their dream project. In New Zealand, Pankaj met Earl Rattray, Founding Director of Fonterra Dairy Group. After having a warm and genuine talk with Earl Rattray, Pankaj shared his idea of dream project with him and after hearing the tale of Uttaranchal, Earl showed interest in joining the trio team and turning it into a quadruple dream. Earl Rattray came aboard as Partner-cum-Investor to turn the Binsar Farm project into reality.

As the election polling took place and the ruling party lost the polls, all the commitments and words vanished overnight and they were again at the zero level of the staircase to their dream project- Binsar Farm. But Pankaj, Deepak, and Sukhvinder never lose their hope and decided to adopt alternative option to help the agriculture society, and this is when Earl Rattray came up with his extensive experience of dairy farming to back up the Binsar Farm project.

Sukhvinder Saraf, Pankaj Navani, Earl Rattray, A Friend, Deepak Raj (From Left to Right)

Both Deepak and Sukhvinder come from the families where their culture and traditions are still the same as in the old times and their sense of living is very deep rooted in the communities. Knowing about the project, Deepak’s father offered his 10 acres of land near Sonipat, Haryana on lease to this project. By 2012 they started the dairy farming business with the inputs of dairy management and advanced techniques of Earl.

That’s not all, working responsibly towards community development, they (Pankaj, Deepak, Sukhvinder & Earl) have leased 40 acres land to five local farmers in the area to grow fodder, they supply seeds, fertilizer, and other resources. This group of five farmers is assured of their regular income and they don’t have to worry about the market price of the crop, which has enabled them to think futuristically about their family and invest in their children’s education and other things.

When it comes to the cattle health, then fodder is the most important thing to work upon and that’s why they have instructed the farmers already to use any kind of pesticide almost 21 days before the harvesting of the fodder. Pankaj and team have spent a lot of time and energy on the better dairy management practices and that’s why they have no water logging or puddle kind of situation in the cattle’s stable. Moreover, paying much attention to the shed they have kept a soil flooring rather than concreting the whole floor, as hard floor affects the milk yielding capacity of the cattle and most of the dairy farmers are still not aware of this.

Pankaj also shared a very interesting information about dairy farming: He told that in his dairy farm the cow lameness point is only 1%, while in comparison to other dairies cow lameness is up to 12-13%.

This is a very unique fact that Pankaj shared because it is sad to know when the cow is lame then she doesn’t turn towards its feed regularly which ultimately affects the milk production.

Well, currently they have more than 1000 cows at Binsar Farm, from which they are supplying farm-to-table milk to more than 600 families in Delhi and NCR region.

Later they planned to start donating the cows to the local farming families, share their expert dairy management knowledge with them and eventually buy back the milk from them. This will help the farmer to earn a stable income and make a positive change in their lifestyle with the time.

Currently, Binsar Farm is working with 12 other dairy farm owners in Haryana and Punjab region, and collaboratively they are producing products like yogurt, cottage cheese, clarified butter etc.

The trio with their united efforts tried to create a governing framework through which they can not only help in the development of the society but can also share their advance agriculture practices with the farmer society. The idea of Binsar Farm project came during the hilly trek in the mind of Pankaj, Deepak, and Sukhvinder and after that, it completely changed the life of many farming families.

Pankaj and team believe that in the coming time money will no longer is going to be the driving force for the next generation; passion to accomplish their dreams is what will motivate the younger generation to realize their virtue and make it come true.