Mikko Säynäjärvi, who graduated with a degree in animal science, works as a product group manager at Faba Co-op in Hollola.

1. What did you study?

I studied animal science, particularly animal breeding, in Viikki. In addition, I completed a study module in general animal science. I had a summer job at a bull stud farm as a schoolboy and became interested in the field. I was also intrigued by the philosophy of animal breeding. Breeding opens new opportunities, generates permanent benefits and is also an ecological venture.

2. What do you do for a living?

I have worked in artificial insemination ever since graduation. I have worked as a production manager of two bull stud farms and two boar stud farms. In this work I became thoroughly familiar with semen production. At my workplace in Hollola, semen production decreased in the mid-2000s and ended a few years ago. After that, I have worked in semen marketing and export. At the moment I work as product group manager at Faba Co-op, where I am in charge of the marketing of Faba Co-op in general and VikingGenetics bulls in particular. My employer is Faba Co-op, but most of the time I work for VikingGenetics.
Occasionally I am also still involved in matters pertaining to the care of the bulls. This is what keeps me going in my job. By working next to the breeding centre I can occasionally take some time to mess with tractors and visit the bulls.

3. How does the future look in your field?

People keep saying that this is a dying field. This has been going on throughout my career, i.e., over twenty years. At the moment, the global prices of food and dairy are rising. Dairy products are needed, and insects are not yet going to replace meat and dairy as protein sources. Finland has good opportunities for success in food production, but this can, of course, be ruined through political decisions. The greatest concern is the coping of dairy farmers.
The latest method in cattle breeding, genomic selection, will lead to a decrease in the number of bulls and change the structure of the entire field. However, this is a great opportunity for VikingGenetics and for us Finns. After all, VikingGenetics’ breeding programme is a forerunner in terms of both size and methodology.

4. What is your favourite memory of your studies?

My studies involved plenty of significant events. The best thing about the studies themselves was some of the lectures in my major subject and my agricultural traineeship in Suitia. I was not very active in student organisations, but I spent some time at my regional student association. The best thing about my studies was perhaps the time spent with students from different fields. My wife studied literature and through her I was able to meet students of “aesthetics, cosmetics and comparative erotics”. It was always nice to return to the wholesome and down-to-earth students on the Viikki Campus from these excursions.