The satisfaction of producing quality milk for Gruyère AOP

Mathia Mayor is the president of the Grandcour Area Dairy Company. This milk producer is currently in the process of solely taking over the farm that he has tended with his father for the last 29 years.

17 Jun 2021
Around Le Gruyère AOP
Mathias Mayor, milk producer ©Aliénor Held

“It’s important to have a profitable business. It’s just as important to enjoy what you do.”

Mathias Mayor, president of the Grandcour Area Dairy Company

The agricultural farm situated in Ressudens in the community of Grandcour has belonged to Mathias Mayor’s family for several generations. “At sixteen, I was naturally oriented towards our domain,” he recalls. “I did my studies at the agricultural school, and then I came to work on the farm. I am committed to the continuity of the family property. Moreover, I love the cattle.”

In the beginning, Mr. Mayor worked on the previous family farm with his father. Together they had 25 cows and cultivated cereals and tobacco at that time. “We didn’t have much room in the stable, but it was functional enough.”

Twenty years ago, Mathias took over a family cousin’s domain in partnership with his father. They entered into an agreement to manage the farm together. As they were on a single property, his father granted him the surface rights registered in the Land Registry. This legal statute suited them perfectly.

Together, they built a new farm. Today, they have about fifty cows in free stall barns. There is no lack of work, but they are well equipped. “It’s a notable improvement for our cattle,” he notes. “They have the advantage of more mobility and exercise. Therefore, they are less stressed. That has an impact on the quality of milk, as does the feed. I’m convinced that it’s a plus for the final product.”

Mathias Mayor enjoys taking care of his cattle. “It’s important to have a profitable business. It’s just as important to enjoy what you do. When a cow is healthy, she’ll have a calf, she’ll produce good milk and the final results at the dairy farm are good, which is a great satisfaction. On the other hand, when a cow is ill and must be put down, it’s very hard. However, when one has animals under one’s responsibility, that’s part of the job.”

Over the years, the farm abandoned the tobacco growing and now grows only wheat, barley, corn and prairie grass for the cows. Mathias Mayor concentrates primarily on the cattle, while his father, now retired, lends a hand. “I remember a time when we still had twenty some sites to deliver milk in the village. Today, there are only 8 production sites, 5 in Grandcour, and 3 between Chevroux and Delly. As the quota has remained the same, the farms are now larger with fewer producers.”

A little over a year ago, Mr. Mayor accepted the post of president of the committee of the Grandcour Area Dairy Company. “With the decrease in the number of producers, I felt the need to be committed.” He was already president when the Gruyère AOP of the Grandcour cheese dairy was pronounced the cheese of excellence by the Vaudois government for the year 2021. “This honour was a real pleasure,” he adds. “I don’t work to win prizes, but all the same, it’s an excellent recognition of the dairy farmers and cheesemakers.”

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