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Polises at Agra

by Julia Kunkel

Polises at Agra

Group picture at the Agra

Every two years, Leipzig hosts the Agra, a large agricultural exhibition for central Germany. Jonathan, Kaja and Julia visited the fair on 12 April. The four-day event includes a large exhibition of agricultural machinery, cattle shows and animal exhibitions, stands on various topics such as agricultural insurance, farmers' associations, research results, digital innovations, as well as talks and discussions.

In the morning, Kaja attended a talk on StripTill, a relatively new conservation tillage method in Europe, where the soil is not loosened over its entire surface, but only the subsequent seed or planting strips are cultivated with loosening tools. Meanwhile, Jonathan and Julia tested a platform that connects farmers and consumers, and learned about the latest technology and innovations in viticulture: Fertiliser drones, VR glasses for crop planning and smart water systems. We then had a go at the giant fertiliser and mowing machines and sampled some Saxon specialities.

In the afternoon we listened to two research talks: one on Community Supported Agriculture, a contract system between farmers and a group of consumers who pay a fixed membership fee in return for sharing a year's harvest, and the other on the need for a post-nitrate strategy. We also took a tour of the stands and discussed farmer protests, direct marketing strategies for grassland farmers, the revitalisation of peatlands and the increased risk for farmers when talking about debits. Even if the presentation formats were a little disorganised and the animal shows a little alienating to us, it was exciting to get a feel for the current mood and issues in agriculture. In particular, there was a strong focus on (regional) value chains in food production.

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