Crop-swimming Latgale farmer says floods were a learning experience

The farmer who scored an internet hit when he dived into the flood waters of his inundated fields says this year's experience has taught farmers valuable lessons for the future.

Nicknamed the Latgale Schwarzenegger by some as a result of his ripped torso, 30-year-old Lauris Ļubka told Latvian Radio he was surprised by all the attention his lighthearted video had drawn after he splashed through the fields at the family farm in Karsava district.

The autumn crops were ruined when it came time to harvest them but despite the catastrophe, which has led to farmers being given special compensation payments by the European Commission, he said positives could be taken from the situation.

"It should be compulsory to learn how to deal with such emergencies and how to be prepared for the worst and how to make more efficient use of our time," he said.

"I have promised myself that next year I will use every spare moment. I'll sew early and end when the days draw in because after such floods the grain is damp and otherwise we could face even bigger losses."

He also insists that allegations some farmers asked for inflated compensation payments do not apply to his farm.

"With a clear conscience we can say that we claimed only for what could not be saved and the evidence is still there in the fields."

The young farmer says that only 120 hectares of land were claimed for land compensation of 1,000 hectares in the total holding.

And while he says his swim was just a bit of fun, it served a dual purpose in showing that the flooding was a real problem but also that farmers should adopt a more positive and pro-active mood in coping with it instead of simply moaning.

You can see the plunge that started the whole thing below.

 

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