Farmers and conservationists are working together in Europe

New alliance Landcare Europe

Brussels, 6 February 2017 - A new alliance of farmers, conservationists and local politicians wants to reward farmers' environmental performance better in rural areas of Europe, stabilize biodiversity and strengthen social cohesion. The initiative "Landcare Europe" has been based so far in the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Austria, Romania, Spain, Luxembourg and Scotland. Representatives from these countries have now presented their goals to MEPs, Commission officials and representatives of the Union in Brussels. According to Josef Göppel, chairman of the German Association for Landcare and member of the German Bundestag, the initiative is intended to strengthen the pro-European forces.

The key feature of Landcare Europe is the equal and voluntary cooperation of farmers with environmental associations and local politicians in rural regions. Farmers are given more support in the population and the conservationists reach a consensus with the land-users much more than in the dispute. In particular, the pasture management with cattle and sheep as well as the re-creation of hedges, buffer zones, boundary ridges or fallow grounds are supported. Landcare wants to allure the farmers with a change of view in the agricultural promotion. So far, minimum ecological requirements are a prerequisite for standard payments. In future, every farmer should be able to decide individually how much he wants to do beyond nature's legal requirements. The more ecological services it offers, the higher its funding from European treasury.

The initiators of Landcare Europe are confident that their model will have a majority. In any case, the French Ministry of Agriculture has already written to the European Agricultural Council in a strategy paper: "We must continue to take into account the added value for society and the environment, which does not appear in the operating manuals." Josef Göppel considers this to be the decisive prerequisite , in order to finally allow the owners of the Natura 2000 network to receive a fair compensation for their welfare benefits.

Invitation 6th February 2017 in the Bavarian Representation in Brussels.

Landcare Europe presented a new model “Public Goods Premium” for the CAP past 2020 and our ideas on the further development of Landcare Europe to reach European Goals for our cultural landscapes together with our European farmers.

The lectures can be found here.