The Forum Acker- und Pflanzenbau (Crop and Plant Production Forum ) grew out of the project: Cropping School – Ökologischer Acker- und Pflanzenbau Nordost Brandenburg (Competence Network for Organic Farming and Crop Production).
More than almost any other economic sector, agriculture is affected by changing conditions such as climate change or the prices of agricultural products and land. Farmers are faced with the daunting challenge of adapting their farms to cope with these impacts. This, however, is difficult for practitioners to implement in their day-to-day operations.
One way to support the development of regional, farm-specific and customised solutions is therefore to establish and coordinate a regional network, known as a cropping school.
In April 2018, the first cropping school in Brandenburg was formed under the supervision of Dr. Anna Häring in the Department of Landscape Management and Nature Conservation at the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (HNEE). The project concept was developed and then submitted for approval together with 9 practical partners from the InnoForum Ökolandbau Brandenburg, a forum for innovation in organic farming in the German state of Brandenburg. The network is coordinated by Sabrina Scholz, an employee of the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (HNEE). Support for agricultural technical work is provided by Vera Springer and Dr. Ralf Bloch acts as a scientific consultant.
Through regular dialogue in what are known as cropping events and through on-farm trials, the aim is to develop regional and farm specific solutions to agricultural problems.
The goal of the pilot project is to establish a self-sustaining regional network in the long term. The model of the cropping school will also be spread beyond the borders of the Uckermark region to create more cropping schools. However, the motivation, initiative and, above all, the willingness to find a sustainable business model for a cropping school must come from the farmers themselves.
Contacts at the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development
All photos: HNEE (c) Ulrich Wessollek