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Jan 10, 2012

Europe's Climate Farmer Campaign

On 10 January 2012, EurActiv.com reported on the efforts of the Climate Farmer Campaign to influence changes to the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

According to EurActiv.com, "sustainability is emerging as a contentious topic in EU discussions on the 2014-2020 CAP policy and budget. The Commission is pushing proposals to encourage more organic farming and crop rotation to reduce fertiliser use."  Some farmers argue that they need to increase yields in order to meet higher global demand for food due to the increasing world population and that organic methods will not help them achieve these goals.

Sander Kerkhoffs, one of the leaders of the Climate Farmers projects said that "policy debates and research into what can be done to reduce the environmental footprint of food production often do not translate into useable information for farmers."

Climate Farmers has produced information on sustainable farming methods in Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden and wants to share their recommendations across Europe. They look at how farmers can play a "trimming carbon emissions, cutting pesticide and fertiliser use, and reducing their water footprint while improving crop output and animal husbandry."

Climate Farmers' Kerkhoffs told EurActiv.com that "sustainability and greener farming don’t undermine productivity. He said older farmers accustomed to routines of ploughing and applying chemicals to nurture plants and soils will need to be persuaded to change, but he insists the sustainability measures he advocates save money and increase productivity."

"Kerkhoffs says the Climate Farmers recommendations could serve as a compromise in the EU debate. The Commission, for example, has called for leaving 7% of farm land fallow or reserved for buffers, yet Kerkhoffs says the sustainable methods he promotes can do both: improve the environment without taking land out of cultivation."

For more see: "'Climate farmers' highlight green agriculture practices," EurActiv.com, 10 January 2012

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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