Better times for reindeer herding

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Nils Torbjorn Nutti, a Sami reindeer herder, feeds his herd in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden December 24, 2006. (Bob Strong / REUTERS)
Nils Torbjorn Nutti, a Sami reindeer herder, feeds his herd in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden December 24, 2006. (Bob Strong / REUTERS)
The revenues of reindeer herding businesses doubled during the last fiscal year mainly because of higher meat prices and lower production costs.

Finland’s Natural Resources Institute expects the 2015-2016 herding year to be at least as good.

The profitability of small businesses engaged in reindeer herding has shot up dramatically, according to a new study by Finland’s Natural Resources Institute (Luke).

Income for those working as independent entrepreneurs in the sector rose to an average of 17,500 euros, equivalent to wages of 11 euros an hour. That is double what it was just one year previously.

Most income for people working in reindeer herding comes from the sale of meat products, but also includes sources such as subsidies from cooperatives and compensation for losses to predators, as well earnings from tourism and forestry.

The most decisive factors, however, are the volume of meat and market prices. During the last herding year, the price of reindeer meat paid to producers rose to close to 10 euros per kilo.

Savings in production costs were mainly the result of fewer working hours invested and lower vehicle fuel costs.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Caribou numbers plummet in eastern Canada, Radio Canada International

Finland:  Up to 500 reindeer killed annually by trains – no fences planned, YLE News

Norway:  Norway’s radioactive reindeer, Barents Observer

Russia: A reindeer tragedy in Russian Arctic, Barents Observer

Sweden: Bear hunt quota worries reindeer herders in Sweden’s Arctic, Radio Sweden

United States: Wildfires could threaten Arctic caribou herd’s winter habitat: study, Alaska Dispatch

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