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DLG winter conference 2024

by Kaja Alina Jurak

On February 21 Julia and Kaja joined the winter conference of the Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft (DLG) which was hosted in Leipzig. The overarching theme of the conference was the interplay of agricultural companies and political regulations, whereas it was claimed that most policies rather hinder a sustainable development of the agricultural sector by imposing a tangle of administrative procedures, requirements and prohibitions. Thus, pointing out that the current agricultural-policy system needs reform.

The conference was structured into various impulse forums concerned with the different aspects of agricultural systems. Julia attended the forum “sustainable finance” which was about existing and upcoming regulations for the financial sector on reporting about the sustainability of their investments. Representatives from the insurance and banking industry discussed the current state and presented approaches to sustainability assessment in agriculture and best practice cases from the field. A speaker from the DLG presented a sustainability certificate that the DLG has developed.  At present, this is only about reporting and the possibility of making sustainable investments transparent. In the future, however, preferential treatment in the granting of loans or reduced interest rates are also conceivable.

Kaja attended the forum “maintain soil productivity”, where representatives of the chambers of agriculture of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia as well as an agricultural advisor for fertilizer usage discussed fertilizer input in times of climate change and high yield demands.  They highlighted that blanket limits on fertilizer input can lead to negative nitrogen balances in productive areas thus exploiting soil nutrients. Further, they advocated for collecting soil and plant samples to determine the optimal amount of fertilizer. The main focus was on economic optimal fertilizer inputs and plant fertilizer needs.  On the other hand, potential environmental damages due to over-fertilization where not mentioned explicitly.

Overall, the conference offered us a great opportunity to get an insight into the perception of policies by farmers and which challenges they face. During the forums and the subsequent discussions we got to experience very different opinions and point of views about the subjects related to our projects respectively.

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