Organic farming: the challenges for family farms

Germany’s guild of agricultural journalists, VDAJ, is inviting ENAJ members with an interest in organic production to take part in its second 2018 low-budget press trip.

Taking place between August 22 and August 24, the three-night trip is to the northern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the sixth largest German state by area yet the least densely populated. Organised by Bio-initiative GmbH, a German association of organic farmers, visits will include:

  • EZ Fürstenhof, a community of 19 organic family farms spread across Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lower Saxony and Brandenburg;
  • the Thünen-Museum, a competence centre for organic farming;
  • the Institute for Farm Animal Biology, where scientists are working to improve the sustainability of livestock production and raise animal welfare standards, and
  • the State Research Center for Agriculture and Fisheries (LFA).

EZ Fürstenhof, founded in 2003, is a prime example of the circular economy in action. Raising poultry, pigs and cattle, feed is grown on-farm, while manure and other by-products are refined in on-site biogas plants, generating 300 per cent of their energy requirements. Marketing of poultry under the “haehnlein” brand has been a huge success and earlier this year a new hatchery was commissioned. Efforts have been made to reduce soya usage by up to 50 per cent, replaced by home-grown beans, lupins and peas.

A more detailed itinerary and trip programme is available here…and details about costs, transportation, accommodation, etc will follow. In the meantime, any interested applicants should apply in the normal way through their domestic Guilds to have their names put forward.

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