Sustainable Agriculture in Practice

Awareness, innovation and thorough balance of ecology and economy Integrated Farming points the way for future agriculture

EISA (Brussels): The annual EISA Farmers Exchange, hosted by Odling i Balans, the Swedish association for the promotion of sustainable agriculture, took place in Southern Sweden this year. “The event gave excellent insights in modern, efficient, and environmentally friendly agriculture again”, said Tony Worth, chairman of EISA. “The Farmers Exchange has taken us to Sweden, France, Luxemburg, the UK, Germany and Austria in past years – and even though we have not left Central Europe, it is amazing to see how agriculture needs to respect different regions, different climatic and growing conditions as well as diverse marketing opportunities. The flexibility of Integrated Farming to adapt practices according to site and situation is a clear “sustainability advantage” of this production system”, Worth concluded:

For Sven Norup, Chairman of Odling i Balans, there is one distinctive feature of Integrated Farming (IF): “Farmers who follow this holistic system do not just act according to the relevant legislation: It is the IF planning, management and evaluation approach which allows to go beyond legal requirements, to develop perspectives and to improve everyday practice continuously.”

During the two day event, farmers and representatives of IF and other organisations from the agricultural chain visited three farms in Southern Sweden and the Swedish University ofAgricultural Sciences at Alnarp, putting a particular focus on environmental issues such as climate effects, manure handling, bio-energy, nitrogen efficiency and reduced tillage. Besides EISA members and farmers, EU-representatives and other interested stakeholders are invited to participate in this regular Farmers Exchange.

The European Initiative for Sustainable Development in Agriculture (EISA), founded in 2001, is an association of national farmers organisations from six EU Member States. National member organisations are FARRE (Forum de l’Agriculture Raisonnée Respectueuse de L’Environnement, France), FILL (Fördergemeinschaft Integrierte Landbewirtschaftung, Luxemburg), FNL (Fördergemeinschaft Nachhaltige Landwirtschaft, Germany), LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming, United Kingdom), ÖAIP (Österreichische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Integrierten Pflanzenschutz, Austria) and OiB (Odling i Balans, Sweden), all with the common aim to develop and promote Integrated Farming on a European level.