Friday’s papers: Niinistö in DC, fallout from generations of agriculture, Finnish scooter mogul

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Finnish President Sauli Niinistö is in the US this week after also attending the UN General Assembly in New York.

Scootering has become a big business for Helmari Pirinen. Image: Simo Pitkänen / Yle

Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) covered the second leg of president Sauli Niinistöon his US tour during a meeting with Congressional leaders in Washington DC on Thursday. Niinistö said he discussed issues such as Finland’s membership of NATO and Russia during the day.

Niinistö is currently on a week-long visit to the United States, and earlier in the week addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.

Niinistö announced the meetings on Twitter (siirryt toiseen palveluun)r.

“Work continues in Washington DC. A series of good meetings today on Capitol Hill. Discussions on transatlantic security, Finland’s NATO membership, Russia and Finland’s bilateral relations with the US,” the tweet read.

Niinistö met Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosicminority leader in the Senate Mitch McConnell and senator Jim Risch.

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McConnell, in particular, has been a proponent of Finnish membership of NATO in the United States. For example, at a meeting in Helsinki with Niinistö in May, he assured him that the United States would quickly ratify Finland’s application for membership.

Generation casing in agriculture

Agriculturally oriented Maaseuduntulevaisuus (siirryt toiseen palveluun) wore a piece that underlined a trend among small Finnish farms.

The number of farms passing on to the next generations is declining rapidly.

While there are no exact statistics on the passing of careers from generation to generation, the paper reported that in the year 2018, 447 farms applied for support in starting a generation. In 2020 that number was roughly 300 and in 2021 it was 250.

The newspaper predicted that the number could fall below 200 this year.

Companies can apply for start-up aid if the person who takes responsibility for the company is younger than 41 and the annual income of the company is less than 15,000 euros.

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The Special Investigator of the Finnish Food Authority Aulis Kuusela shared her concern about the current situation.

“I’m already starting to get scared. Just changing ownership of 200 farms is not enough. Is production going to decline too much? Will we no longer be self-sufficient?” Kuusela told MST.

Kuusela has 20 years of experience studying generational changes in the agricultural sector as a civil servant, and MST wrote that others should take her warnings seriously.

Kuusela attributed the decline in part to the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, saying it has weakened economic prospects and reduced young people’s desire to continue farming.

Finnish scooter magnate

Seeing Finnish children and young people on non-electric scooters is not new these days, but apparently also big business.

Ilta-Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) had an article about a scooter enthusiast who turned his hobby into a way to earn a living.

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IS claimed that Helmeri Pirinen, is Finland’s only professional scooter rider. His store FinScooter Oy in the Kalasatama district of Helsinki had a turnover of 1.1 million euros last year.

Together with his shop, the former Big Brother Finland star organizes scooter competitions all over Finland and tries to encourage new enthusiasts to get into the sport.

Scootering has grown in popularity and Pirinen estimates that there are about 80,000 people enjoying the hobby in Finland today.

Pirinen is also quite involved in the international competition side of the sport. Last year he was the head judge at the world championships in Barcelona.

After the inclusion of skateboarding in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Pirinen said next time he would like to see scootering added to the 2028 Olympics. He noted that no new venues need to be built as the sport uses the same parks as skateboarding.

“In the coming years we have to show that we are really ready for the Olympics,” Pirinen told IS.

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