At a time when Himachal youth are migrating to the cities in pursuit of better employment opportunities, the success story of this Kangra man stands out like a beacon of hope for others.

Vishal Parmar, 34, who has completed his plus-two, owns a leading dairy farm in Dehra, a small town. He used to run a shop but quit seven years ago to pursue his father’s dream.

“My father had a great interest in agriculture and farming. He always wanted to run his own dairy farm. I could not help switching over when he died of cancer,” Vishal said.

“I got this whole idea of setting up a farm from some of my friends from Punjab. I started with poultry farming. I kept hens for some time but soon I shifted to dairy farming on my ancestral land,” he said.

He started his farm with two cows and extended it to 30 cows (Holstein Friesian breed) in a couple of years. His patience and hard work, Vishal said, paid off and he now has a production of 200-250 kilograms on his farm. In December 2016, Vishal was recognised as the best dairy farm owner of the district by state agricultural authorities.

At his farm, the livestock are provided with proper hygienic and medical facilities along with a well managed system of disposing livestock waste. “The animals are kept under 24-hours monitoring. We use high technology milking machines. We cannot sell unhygienic dairy products to our loyal customers,” Vishal said.

The farmer provides door- to-door milk and other dairy products to his customers. The demand for packaged milk from outside has reduced in the town as most of the people rely on his dairy farm products and become his regular customers because of the quality of his products.

Vishal has not received any government aid like subsidies or loans and is running the farm on his own.

He has not only generated employment for himself but has given work to others too.

“There are 15 men working in my farm. They all are migrants from other states like Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan and came here in search of better employment opportunities,” he said.

Apart from milch cows, Vishal has also ventured into the business of keeping variety of dogs, ducks, Ptarmigans, goats and hens. “We had 10 dogs. All were of different breeds like Pitbull, Pointer and German Shepherd. We have sold all of them and are left with three. But I bought two more,” said his wife.

Despite all this, rearing animals for business purpose is a secondary thing for Vishal’s family. They are primarily focused towards taking good care of animals as they cannot speak for themselves. Peacocks, turtles and parrots are among their pet animals. Vishal works voluntarily for the welfare of animals, providing free medical treatment to dogs and cows on the roads. He has even extended his medical care services door-to-door.

Vishal said he has never received any formal training in agriculture and farming because there was little awareness in this sector at that time.  “I was an arts student in school. I have learnt everything about animal husbandry from my parents. I used to see them working and taking care of animals.”

Vishal has, however, been facing problems of erratic water supply at his farm, which is a major hurdle in farming in rural Himachal. He moves on with the same spirit and tells the younger generation not to run after the government for jobs or leave the state or country for employment.

“There are plenty of sources in our home town. Horticulture and farming can generate a number of self-employment opportunities. All we need is to find the one which is best for us,” he said. Vishal is enthusiastic about his nomination for the best dairy farmer contest at the state level.