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European Arable Farmers Club – Study Trip 2022

Farming in Belgium favcing political and economical changes

The European Arable Farmers Club has started its 2022 study tour to Belgium (08.-12.06.2022). More than 40 participants want to discuss and explore the challenges of agriculture in Europe with various experts from administration, farmers and industry during the excursion. In 2022, the Secretary of the Club was Erik Guttulsröd from the Centre for Agriculture, who succeeded Dr Alexander von Chappuis, who had been in charge for many years. At the beginning the kick-off was at the EU Commission to discuss the challenges and the Common Agricultural Policy and an excellent welcome dinner after a 2-year break due to the pandemic.

The second day of the European Arable Farmers Club had great insights into Belgian agriculture. In the morning the club visited the Bayer Forward Farm in Huldenberg. The focus was on new approaches in arable farming and sustainability. This was complemented by a visit to the European Carbon Network with the measuring technology directly on the grain field.

The day was rounded off with excellent entrepreneurs from the value chain of potato production (farm and marketing cooperative) and a visit to a farm with parsley and successful direct meat marketing. The diversification of agriculture was impressively comprehensible from these examples.

The third day of our European Arable farmers' study tour started in the morning with a visit the company AGRISTO. The logistics behind the potato value chain and the production of French Fries penalty procedures were the focus of the visit.

Afterwards, the company AVR gave us an insight into the production of planting and harvesting technology in potato production and discussed further market perspectives in Europe with the members.

The afternoon was rounded off with a visit to a vegetable farm in the greenhouse to see how automation has influenced sowing and logistics.

The evening concluded with a visit to the memorials in Ypres, which impressively depicted the horrors of the material battles of World War 1. Culture and history are a part of us and should not be missing on an EAF trip.

The fourth day of the study tour of the European Arable Farmers Club took the group to two remarkable farms in the south of Belgium. Efficient structures in labour management and the use of drip irrigation through hoses were intensively discussed with the group and showed new production approaches, which can also be relevant for other regions in Europe. In addition, the integration of a food market into the family business was explained as diversification and forms of cooperation with regional marketers were presented and discussed. The annual general assembly was also held at the farm, where the formalities of the club were discussed and voted on. The evening ended with the Farewell Dinner in Brussels, where the discussions could be continued. The study tour provided an excellent insight into the agricultural value chains in Belgium and left a lasting impression on the participants.

The EAF study tour came to a worthy conclusion on Sunday. A big thank you to the president Hans Henning Rottboell, the organising team and the local farms for giving such a great insight. The club is looking forward to the upcoming projects of the European Arable Farmers in the next years.