WHO & HOW:
The aim of the organic farmer network is to ensure animal husbandry farms’ protein feed self-sufficiency by pairing it up with crop producers and starting close cooperation, which benefits both farms. Together, the farms find out the need of protein feeds, cultivation possibilities of different feeds and the suitable annual crop rotation.
In an optimal situation, animal husbandry farms can purchase the needed seeds together with crop producers and agree about the harvesting method with the contractor. This close cooperation has are multiple positive effects: the profitability of the crop producers increases and the animal husbandry farms get the needed feed. In addition, the motivation and level of expertise of the farmers on both farms will increase.
The farmer network is a result of cooperation between farmer associations and advisory services. The key to successful cooperation is good and reliable relationship between farmers, which can be developed and deepened in association meetings, with farmer advising and at informative events. Help from active farmer advisors is needed. Farm advisors will introduce farmers to each other and make sure that the farms have a joint cropping plan before starting the cooperation.
The availability of protein feeds is not the only positive side of the farmer network. The network also has a social aspect and enhances farmers’ professional skills. Cooperating farms can learn a lot from each other, and shared success is an important factor in increasing the positive spirit and good sides of the profession.
Erkki Vihonen, ProAgria Etelä-Pohjanmaa Rural Advisory Services
, Tel:+35 8 40 67 87 689
Photo credit: FARMER NETWORK, PixaBay blende22, free commercial use
This best practice is part of the SME ORGANICS project