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DLG contributes to agricultural sustainability focus at IFAJ 2016 Congress

Farming journalists from around the world visited Germany from 13th – 17th July – The theme for the 2016 Congress was Agriculture Made in Germany – DLG partnered the event and hosted a tour at its International Crop Production Center

FRANKFURT/MAIN, Germany, July 18, 2016 – DLG (German Agricultural Society) was one of the partners supporting the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) Annual Congress, which took place last week in Bonn. The focus at this year’s Congress was Agriculture Made in Germany, with an emphasis on sustainability.

The 2016 IFAJ Congress gathered media from 40 countries and started with a pre-congress tour taking participants to the German capital of Berlin and the surrounding region. Following various presentations on bioenergy, the participants visited DLG’s International Crop Production Center in Bernburg-Strenzfeld, about 65km north-west of Leipzig, in Saxony-Anhalt.

Covering about 600 hectares, this DLG facility conducts applied research on various trial plots, and is currently carrying out experiments on irrigation, tillage and crop rotations. The focus areas of the center address the central challenges faced by agriculture, and play a key role in sustainable, forward-looking and competitive agriculture – supporting DLG’s mandate, which is to promote progress in farming.

Congress participants then travelled onto Bonn and the formal part of the event, which began with a day of high-level presentations addressing the topic “Sustainable Agriculture in Germany”. Speakers included Germany’s Federal Agriculture State Secretary, Dr. Robert Kloos; the CEO of Bayer CropScience, Dr. Helmut Schramm; the Chairman of the Federal Organic Food Industry (BÖLW), Felix Prinz zu Löwenstein; the Chairman of the DLG-Test Center for Technology and Farm Inputs, and Vice President of DLG e.V., Hubertus Paetow; Professor Dr. Ralf Pude from the University of Bonn; and Hanka Mittelstädt, a farmer from Brandenburg, Germany.

In his statement, Hubertus Paetow described how DLG’s focus on innovation and progress fitted perfectly with sustainability, which he defined as the ability of the current generation of farmers to manage their farms in ways that would leave no negative impacts on future farmers.

He said sustainability could be broken down into the triad of ecology, economy and social responsibility, and that it required farmers to take a continual critical look at their own actions. And like other economic sectors, agriculture had to adopt sustainable practices to remain competitive. Conserving natural resources went hand-in-hand with efficient use and unlocked potentials for cost savings. Sustainable farming practices would also result in sustainable products that should improve sales and create acceptance among the general public. In conclusion, only sustainable farms could survive in the long term.

Mr Paetow said that DLG, together with scientific partners, had now developed a Sustainability Standard that allowed farms to be measured objectively on the basis of ecological, economic and social aspects. With the DLG Sustainability Standard, farmers could assess their own farm for measures including: protection of soil, water, air and biodiversity; improvement of climate impacts and energy efficiency; optimization of fertilizer and plant protection use; and strengthening of cost effectiveness and competitiveness.

The following two days of the congress featured a choice of farm visits that provided participants with an up-close and personal view of the region’s agricultural economy. The journalists were taken to typical mountain regions in and around Bonn and Cologne, as well as visiting farms in the Münsterland, Rhineland-Palatinate and both sides of the Rhine River.
Representatives from the DLG were in attendance throughout the five-day 2016 IFAJ event, which ended with a choice of post-congress tours that showed participants even more aspects of Germany’s agricultural industry.
 
 
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Malene Conlong
Tel: +49 69 24788237
Email: m.conlong@dlg.org
 

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Friedrich W. Rach

f.rach(at)dlg.org 
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Press Officer Agriculture and Exhibitions

Malene Conlong

m.conlong(at)DLG.org 
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International media and communications manager