As human beings, if we are to keep on progressing as species we need to grow intelligently and step out of our comfort zone. We need to undertake challenging tasks and take a shot at it instead of crouching in the fear of failure. The silver lining is that even if we fail, we would at least know what can possibly work and what cannot.
The story of 43-year-old Shankar Kotian is no different in the sense that he too failed multiple times in the beginning. But gradually, he made his way to the less sought-after profession which reaps him significant benefits.
Desperate for something new
Born in Moodbidri, Karnataka, Shankar graduated in computer science from National Institute of Technology, Surathkal in 1996. Being a bright student and an ace programmer, he was soon recruited in Infosys as a software engineer. During his tenure at Infosys, he spent most of his time working abroad in various countries. But on weekends, he would make some time to visit the nearby farms and observe farming and rearing of animals.
Gradually, saturation started creeping into Shankar’s professional life. Although he was heading a team of 10 members and was receiving a hefty paycheck, he wasn’t enjoying his work anymore due to lack of challenges. So, in 2012, he decided to call it quits at Infosys and venture into the business of dairy farming.
In the eight acres of barren land he had bought in 2011 near a water source in Moodu-Konaje village, he started off by building a house as his office. Once the house was built, he bought organic manure from nearby farmers and grew grass on his land. He then bought his first five cows and spent almost three years learning, as he had no prior agricultural experience.
His profiteering ways
With his farm land located on a slope, Shankar decided to make best use of the elevation. He established the dairy on top of the slope, which helped him supply slurry and waste water collected from the dairy to the farmland located on the lower portion of the slope through gravitational force.
To meet the requirement of his cows, he has been growing Napier grass plantation on the lower portion of the slope. At the end of the slope, he has also constructed a water pond for the purpose of rainwater harvesting.
To cut down on fuel costs, Shankar has installed a gobar gas plant to reap the benefits of the dung his cows produce. Being attached to the dairy, the plant meets the kitchen fuel requirements of his family and labour quarters as well. Apart from using slurry for his farm from the biogas plant, he sells the excess slurry for areca nut plantation owners.
Till date, he has sold around three lakh litres of slurry. The reason this method has been so successful is because it is less labour-intensive for buyers and the slurry is more nutrient than handling solid farm yard manure.
Growing slowly but surely
Today, Shankar owns 40 cows in his dairy farm and supplies 180 litres of milk everyday to Karnataka Co-operative Milk Producer’s Federation Ltd (KMF), Nandini. He has also planted 1,800 rubber trees and 1,000 areca nut plants in addition to more than 150 plants. They are planted in the periphery and in the middle of the farm to provide more greenery and ensure moisture to his field, which now measures 25 acres.
“There are challenges but you always have scope to learn and enjoy the learning process. Moreover, apart from the turnover you earn health and you leave the world better than you found it for future generations, isn’t it?” he says when asked about the arduous process of starting a dairy farming business from scratch.
Shankar could have enjoyed his plush and secured job at Infosys. But instead, he decided to challenge his own limits and took to dairy farming, that too when none of his family members were anywhere close to the business of farming.
He has demonstrated that nothing in this world is impossible to achieve if one sets his or her mind to it. Yes, it might take some time to learn and implement something entirely new, but it would definitely be worth the time, dedication and effort.
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