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Agriculture has been practised for a long … Agriculture has been practised for a long time in Saamiland. The main booms in the building of farms took place in the 1950s and 1970s.
The practice of self-sufficient husbandry expanded in Saamiland in the nineteenth century along with settlers and the influence ofenlightened speakers and writers on the subject. The administrators and the government also encouraged people to take up agriculture because it made it easier to assess and tax the population.
The general barrenness of the land, the long distances, the short growing season, the nutrient content of the soil, summer frosts and the deep snows of winter have always meant that agriculture is harder and less attractive as a means of livelihood than it is in the more fertile regions of the south.
In Norway there are about 700 farmers engaged in agriculture from Tysfjord to the Varanger Fjord. In fact, agriculture used to be more widespread than it is today, but many farmers have given up because it is uneconomic. The produce consists mainly of cow and goat milk, beef and mutton. In Norway, the income from the sale of produce together with state subsidies amounts to approximately 250 million kronor. There exists no special legislation regarding Saami agriculture. The old legal practice of the Saami courts is no longer valid in such matters as inheritance; for example, according to Norwegian law it is the eldest child who inherits, while according to the traditional Saami custom it is the youngest.
As elsewhere, after the Second World War self-sufficient tilling of the land and cattle raising turned to intensive farming in the northernmost areas of Finland, too. The pressure resulting from the increased Finnish settlement of Lapland forced the authorities to initiate special plans regarding sources of livelihood and they primarily focussed on agriculture and its growth potential with regard to the state economy.
As Lapland Cattle disappeared in the period between 1944 and 1948, the agricultural associations of northern Finland, which operated under the state Settlement Committee, procured through the North Finnish Cattle Breeding Association and the East Finnish Cattle Breeding Association some pedigree bulls for stud purposes for the areas they represented. The state supported these acquisitions by subsidizing transport costs and purchasing pedigree bulls for different places in Lapland. For example, four stud bulls were purchased with government funds for the Utsjoki region, and a covering fee was charged for their use.
In the 1950s, stronger demands began to be made for the efficiency of agriculture in Finnish Lapland be improved in the name of the common good. It was thought that the growth in the population of the province made agriculture the only viable occupation for the Saami people, too. In the 1960s,a macadamized road was built as far north as Utsjoki, and soon after this Valio, the major dairy produce company in Finland, incorporated the pedigree cattle of Utsjoki into its dairy network.
The pedigree cattle that had been brought from the south demanded more tending and were bigger in size than the old Lapland Cattle. Without the purchase of fodder and various agricultural machinery, it was not possible to maintain a new herd and practise agriculture as a viable livelihood in Lapland. By the following decade, most of the inhabitants of Finnish Lapland had given up agriculture and cattle-raising as uneconomic.iculture and cattle-raising as uneconomic. +