A great team between working on the farm and the family
Pascal Reidy and his wife Claudia run the family farm in Lanthen in the municipality of Schmitten. Together they look after about 40 cows. As president of the dairy company, Pascal was particularly pleased when the Fribourg State Council chose a wheel from the village cheese dairy as the best Le Gruyère AOP for the year 2022.
"We work together every day and we are a good team," they both say. "It's a challenge to reconcile family and work on a farm, but it usually works out very well."
Claudia & Pascal Reidy, milk producers in Schmitten
Pascal Reidy trained as an agricultural engineer. He then started working on a project at the Zollikofen School of Engineering where he studied. Shortly afterwards, his father died. Pascal thought he would devote 50% of his time to the family farm and the other half to the project he was working on. But it was not easy to take over the reins of the farm, despite the help of an employee. Therefore, he decided to manage the domain full time, first as a tenant of the heritage, and then from 2005 as the owner.
Pascal Reidy decided to build a stable where he took care of the forty or so dairy cows of the association he had created with his cousin. In addition, he has about 120 fattening pigs and a few hectares of grains for sowing as well as potatoes.
In 2001, as part of a Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) project, Romanian engineers came to Switzerland to do internships on farms. This enables them to acquire new skills and subsequently support the farmers in their own country. One thing led to another and after spending a few weeks at the German-language newspaper "Schweizer Bauer", Claudia arrived at Pascal's for an internship. It was love at first sight on the family farm! Two years later, they got married and today they have three children.
"We work together every day and we are a good team," they both say. "It's a challenge to reconcile family and work on a farm, but it usually works out very well." They also point out that Claudia receives a salary as an employee. They feel that this is essential in order to be able to receive social security benefits and for the sake of equality. Finally, for the past year they have hired a student at 50%. This allows some weekends off and short holidays for the family.
Pascal Reidy is president of the dairy company, which has a dozen producers. His great-grandfather and his father preceded him. It should be said that the members take it in turns to hold this position. Currently, as president, Pascal Reidy is keen to promote good cooperation and a pleasant atmosphere between the members and the cheesemaker. When there is a problem with the quality of the milk, he believes it is essential to listen and respect each other's work. "Today," he explains, "the quality has improved. The farms are bigger, the technical means have been perfected and the work is more professional. Like everywhere else, agriculture can't stay put. It evolves with the times."
Mr Reidy likes to share his interest in his profession with young people. Together with other former students from Grangeneuve, he organises visits to farms in the region for school classes. The children can thus discover the work of farmers, beekeepers and other trades of the land. In the past, he has had several apprentices and today he serves as an expert for the apprenticeship exams in Grangeneuve. Through all these activities, he would like to make children and their parents aware of the quality of the food that comes from the farms in our regions. Like Claudia, he hopes that the profession of farmer and producer will be better recognised in the future... and of course that the Lanthen cheese dairy will continue to produce such high-quality products.