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Stereotypes about farmers : We don't need ideological competition

When I look back on the past decades in agriculture, then I see with regard to Germany, an ambivalent image. The variety of food has certainly increased, and as

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Stereotypes about farmers : We don't need ideological competition

When I look back on the past decades in agriculture, then I see with regard to Germany, an ambivalent image. The variety of food has certainly increased, and as a result, the choice for consumers with small budgets. A farmer feeds today, up to 160 people. Earlier it were significantly less. In addition, our foods today are so good and so safe as never before.

But there are also some negative aspects of this performance are the balance sheet, we clearly felt: The social value of agriculture has undoubtedly decreased. The work in the fields is barely appreciated in value because it's simply become a matter of course. Many people have an idea of agriculture, which has to do with the reality.

All of the farmers that I know and that I've met in my time at Bayer, feel first and foremost a great responsibility, for the fields, the order, for the food that they produce, for their land, they have often inherited from their parents and responsibility to pass their children want. It does not matter whether we are talking about small or large businesses. Farmers are professionals, and work with passion and high dedication – and you know exactly what you are doing.

misunderstandings and mistrust

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For many in the population, does not apply, unfortunately, Many do not even know what constitutes the profession of a farmer and struggling with the challenges that he has. From this, misunderstandings and mistrust arise. So it is for the farmer, of course, to protect his crop from pests and weeds. Because that's what he lives on. The effects of climate change, the many to discuss in theory, farmers far from the reality. You take the extreme heat of the past summer: For many urbanites it may have felt like an eternal season in the outdoor pool. For many farmers it came to the existence.

consumers with get little. Earlier harvest failures had led to a poorer food supply and higher prices. Today, the negotiating alone already makes the big retail chains for stable prices, no matter how the harvest turns out. This is good for every individual, but it also reinforces the alienation of many people from agriculture.

in addition to the level of acceptance has changed in the past few years, particularly the tone of the debate: It has become louder and more aggressive. There used to be something of a basic consensus between the advocates of the organic and the conventional or modern agriculture: It has not shared the opinion of the other, but still, not a Bad thing. Today, farmers are charged a flat rate as a "poison splash" in the pillory. They are accused of, the fields, the natural or the food to be "poison".

for Too long the dialogue has not been searched

As in most cases, if verbal, will be upgraded, remains not without consequences. The hostility against farmers have increased and, unfortunately, against the children of farmers. The children Operated protection Association in lower Saxony, one of the large provinces with many agricultural, has addressed multiple times and from a "nationwide Problem". For me, as someone who is since 30 years in the agricultural industry, it is a social indictment.

But, as so often in life, it also helps here, to grab her own nose. Also, the agriculture, the associations and large companies in the industry have a part in these developments of the past few years. We have neglected for far too long, to open ourselves, and to seek active dialogue. We have allowed old stereotypes exist about farmers, have to do with the highly qualified and digitized farmers of today, nothing more.

We have not missed to tell in exchange with large Parts of the society, as responsible farmers, to deal with finite resources, but to show it also. To change that is our big task for the future. We need to ensure that agriculture and society closer to each other. The distance between the fields and the plates will be smaller again.

future plans

With this aim, we need to make agriculture and agro-industry a clear offer for greater openness and willingness to engage in dialogue with four specific points:

firstly, We need to open the doors to our farms even more. What constitutes agriculture, you can feel the best and demonstrate. At Bayer, we work together with partner companies, which we call Forward Farms. There you can experience how modern agriculture works, such as, for example, by GPS-controlled application of technique to precisely the required amount of plant protection or fertilizer is applied.

Secondly, we must be open and fair about different perspectives and on the Basis of the facts of the debate. Because, of course, there are controversial issues and different views. What are the benefits of organic farming? What are the disadvantages? What are the methods used for crop protection in modern agriculture? What is the ecological agriculture? I myself have engaged in the past few months in several discussions on these topics, for example, with the WWF. This is the path we should continue. We need to talk to each other instead of on top of each other.

Thirdly, we need to push for the openness of the young Generation and is all about education. Only the one who knows, meets conscious decisions. I want young people to know how and under what conditions food is produced. What comes from your neighborhood and what is flown in from Overseas. What plants are in season and what is happening in the Rest of the year in the fields.

This Knowledge also has something to do with Roots in the Region, with a piece of cultural heritage and with a more conscious diet. What actually speaks against it, to convey all of these topics in school nutrition, and agriculture? A discussion I would like to.

Fourth, we need to be open to learn from each other. We don't need ideological contest that is blocking us. We need, on the contrary, the Best of all worlds for the most far-reaching innovations. Agriculture must evolve in order to master the task of the Century to feed with less resources and more effects of climate change, a growing world population, so to speak, more Output with less Input.

With this openness, we need to commit ourselves to bring the people of agriculture. The appreciation for food may not be high enough and therefore, agriculture as a supporting pillar in the middle of the society. We have made us the industrial Agricultural Association and the Forum for Modern agriculture. More close to make for more confidence and social acceptance. Our farmers have earned the right to.

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Green week in Berlin is The eternal Dilemma with the field and livestock

Ariane Bemmer

– Helmut Schramm, President of Agricultural Affairs at Bayer Crop Science

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