Ecological Focus Area 2016: Data from Lower Saxony suggest low impact

19. Oktober 2016

New data from Lower Saxony on the registration of ecological focus area (EFA) of the season 2016 are published now and the data show almost no changes: The EFA is still an expensive measure for taxpayers with low impact on the biodiversity. The first results of the implementation of the Ecological Focus Area (EFA) of 2015 were disappointing from an ecological point of view. But as always with new policy measures, there are a lot of child’s diseases to observe: There were a lot of administrative problems and obstacles and information deficits. In 2015, there were more precise information information by the ministries and the extension services could work and give recommendation to farmers. So the question is, whether farmers would implement more effective measures and whether the performance of EFA has been improved in the second year.

Line of trees as landscape feature

Line of trees as landscape feature

Why is Lower Saxony a good case for studying EFA-implementation?

First of course, because Mrs. Silke Dahl has again done a great job in analysing the data and providing a complete and very detailed overview on all counties in Lower Saxony to the public. Her analysis is published in the monthly bulletin of the Statistical Office Lower Saxony of October 2016. This is especially outstanding, since even the EU Commission has not yet published a complete overview on implementation data in all EU-member states of 2015. So dear colleagues from DG Agri, this data issue is really difficult, but have a look on Mrs. Dahls publication, it’s a good example! And we are still waiting for the data for all other federal state and we wait for good data on the EU-level.

Second: Taken agricultural land, Lower Saxony is the no.2 production state in agriculture in Germany (after Bavaria) with 2.6 Mio. ha of agricultural land. If we take the gross value added of the federal states, then Lower Saxony has the largest value of 3,352 bill. EUR in 2014 (see figure, data from the Statistical Office of the Bundesländer 2016) and contributes 21% of the total German gross value added in Agriculture. In the animal production, Lower Saxony has an even a higher share of 27.3% of the total gross value added and if we take the average profits (reported in the Agricultural Policy Report of the German Federal Government of 2015: p.103), Lower Saxony has the third highest profits on average.

Gross Value Added in Agriculture in the federal states of Germany 2014, Source: Stat. Office of the Federal States 2016, in bill. EUR, at producer prices

Fig.1: Gross Value Added in Agriculture in the federal states of Germany   2014 Source: Stat. Office of the Federal States 2016, in bill. EUR, at producer prices

Lower Saxony has large arable areas with a high production potential around Hildesheim and Braunschweig, but also very competitive meat production in Western Lower Saxony and some regions with highly specialized milk production in Norther coastal regions. And at the same time we can observe environmental problems in Lower Saxony (as e.g. some Nitrate pollution especially in Western Lower Saxony) and also some regions with reduced biotopes and landscapes elements. Also from a biodiversity perspective, Lower Saxony is one of the states, where actions to preserve biodiversity are highly necessary. And especially in that sense, the implementation data of 2016 are still disappointing.

Net Area of EFA in Lower Saxony

In the following, we will refer to the net EFA-area before applying weighting factors (WF). The data show that the EFA-area has been slightly reduced by 3.8% (= 12.100 ha). Since there has been a substantial ‚overbooking‘ of EFA in 2015, this adjustment is logic. Still, in Lower Saxony the share of EFA-area is at 15.9 %, which is significantly above the average share of Germany in 2015, which was 11.5. North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony were the two federal states with the highest shares of EFA (both above 15%, i.e. ‚overbooking‘), which also means, they had the highest share of the EFA-options with low weighting factors like nitrogen fixing crops (0.7) and catch-crops (0.3). So farmers need to register more area of these options to comply with the EFA-requirements.

Ecological Focus Area in Lower Saxony 2016 (Source: Data from the Statistical Office Lower Saxony, Share of area before applying weighting factors)

Fig. 2: Focus Area in Lower Saxony 2016
(Source: Data from the Statistical Office Lower Saxony,
Share of area before applying weighting factors)

With respect to EFA-options chosen by farmers, we can observe almost the same picture as last year (see Figure 2):

  • Catch-crops and green cover are the most important measures with together a share of 86%. The area has of catch crops has been reduced a bit (14.000 ha), half of that in just three counties, which indicates that some of the overbooking was a regional phenomenon. We can see this from the regional data (Fig. 4), where the highest share for catch crops with 92.5% was achieved in the administrative region of Weser-Ems, where the specialized meat-producer are located. Especially farms with meat-production seem the prefer this options, since land for folder-production is scares and land-rents in Western Lower Saxony are high (despite a lower soil quality).
  • The second important measure is fallow land with 8.7%. This options has been increasing a bit (+26.400 ha). This can be regarded as a small step in the right direction. Interestingly the increments could be observed in arable regions of Hildesheim, Hannover, Uelzen and Gifhorn, where the shares of fallow land has been already high in 2015. It seems that this options is not chosen by farms with animal husbandry, since here land is especially scarce and farmers tend to use this land rather for productive options. Note however, that this interpretation is specific to Lower Saxony and cannot be generalized to other regions.
  • Nitrogen fixing crops have a comparably low share of 2.9%, in other federal states this measure is taken more often.
  • Landscape features (1.7%) and buffer strips (0.6%) are almost negligible. Here no changes could be observed, despite the fact that buffer strips are supported by the state agri-environmental program. But as mentioned in my post from June, this additional support seems to almost not affect farmers choices.
  • FiOther elements (forestry area and short rotation coppice) contribute with 0.1% to the EFA-uptake, so the recommendation would be to abolish those options since they are almost not chosen but produce administrative burdens.

If we evaluate farmers choices, we need to see, whether the options can contribute to farm biodiversity. Our own assessment (at the moment under review) shows that agricultural ecologists see especially fallow land, buffer strips and landscape elements as effective measures with a positive impact on biodiversity, whereas catch crops, green cover and nitrogen fixing crops are almost ineffective with regards to biodiversity. Taken this as a basis, we can state that 11% of the EFA in lower Saxony might positively influence the preservation of biodiversity. There is a small development in a positive direction, since this share was at 9.8% in 2015. However, needless to say, that this is too little given the financial efforts taken by the greening-policy.

The other elements might have some general positive influence on the environment here and there. However, the EFA is supposed to specifically address biodiversity (as the EU-commission states in their motivation of the EU-regulation, figure 44) and here we must state, that still almost 90% of the EFA in Lower Saxony will have no biodiversity-effect.


After the second year, the results are still disappointing and we cannot take the administrative problems and missing information as excuse. In Lower Saxony, a production region with high competitive advantages, farmers adjust their EFA according economic grounds resulting in a low effectiveness and just 11% of the area will help biodiversity. EFA is just implemented on 15% of the arable land, but for the remaining 85% no changes are taking place. The protection of environmentally sensitive grassland has been there before and a few farms (with biogas-production) might have to adjust their crop-rotation due to the crop diversification-requirement.

Lower Saxony is a very productive region and the results cannot be extrapolated to the EU. The example of Lower Saxony is (as mentioned above) interesting, since the necessity for biodiversity actions is high. In other regions EFA might function slightly or even significantly better (as data from Schleswig-Holstein of 2015 suggest). It will be interesting to get more data from other states and see, whether adjustments are higher and it would be interesting to compare with other high productive regions within the EU. In this text, we did not analyse the protection of sensitive Grassland and the crop-diversification rules of Greening.

Interestingly, the EU-commission has recently published an Online Survey (See Figure 3) of 3.304 EU citizens (with high participation of German farmers, citizens and NGO-members), which shows that only 51% of farmers expect a substantial or moderate positive impact of EFA on biodiversity. So poor implementation might still be a problem of missing information and extension. And even the citizens in this survey have quite a realistic picture on the potential impacts of Greening.

Long term expectation on the effect of Greening (EU Commission 2016)

Fig.3: Long term expectation on the effect of Greening (EU Commission 2016)

The EU-commission seem to still evaluate the first growing season of Greening 2015. Some general data have been published in a very detailed document of the EU-Commission in June 2016 (EU Commission 2016 Review of greening after one year). However, this document does not contain specific figures on how many hectares of which EFA-option were registered in the member states. This goes back to problems of some member states to report the greening figures to Brussels: Especially France, Italy and Scotland had problems and did not report all necessary data. However, the EU Commission so far does not even given an incomplete overview on EFA with precise figures of the states, where data are available. So the public and interested stakeholder cannot participate in the Greening-debate before 2017.

The publication of the statistical office in Lower Saxony is a positive example how we can precisely publish EFA-data and how we can enforce a debate on Greening. Not publishing precise data on Greening (as the EU Commission did, sorry…) leaves the impression, that the Commission is not interested in a Greening-debate before the official Greening-evaluation is out in March 2017. (However, we still need to admit, that missing data is not only the responsibility of the commission, but also of the member states.)

So the next months will be interesting, since some states will publish their data, so the debate will go on with or without official EU-data. And finally, Birdlife, Nabu Germany, Martin Häusling and Robert Habeck (Green Party) are right in their conclusion, that Greening is an expensive failure and we need an intensive debate, whether or not to continue with direct payments of pillar 1 beyond 2020. There might be still some arguments, to use a general basic environmental scheme as entry level, however, even for this objective Greening in its actual form is not appropriate. NABU Germany and Birdlife will present their vision and reform-model for a new “Fit and fair CAP beyond 2020” on November 16, 2016 in Brussels. We will closely follow this and other reform-proposals for the CAP post 2020 in order to improve the environmental performance and the development of agriculture towards more sustainability.


Silke Dahl (2016): Ökologische Vorrangflächen in der Landwirtschaft 2016, Statistische Monatshefte Niedersachsen 9/2016, S. 518-521

EU-Commission (2016): Public consultation ‚Experience with the first year of application of the greening obligations under the direct payment scheme (CAP)‘, Brussels, link:

Statistical Office of the Federal States (2016): Regionale Landwirtschaftliche Gesamtrechnung, url:

Ecological Focus Area (EFA) in the admin. Regions of Lower Saxony in 2016 (Source: Source: Data from the Statistical Office Lower Saxony, Share of area before applying weighting factor)

Fig.4: Ecological Focus Area (EFA) in the admin. Regions of Lower Saxony in 2016 (Source: Source: Data from the Statistical Office Lower Saxony,
Share of area before applying weighting factor)

The role of location economics in organic grassland farming

13. Oktober 2016

Durchschnittliche Technische Effizienz in 15 Produktionsclustern von ökologischen Futterbau-Betrieben in Deutschland (Quelle: eigene Berechnung)

Average technical efficiency in 15 production clusters of organic grassland farms in Germany (source: own calculations)

We analyze the efficiency of organic pasture farming in Germany using data from 1994/95 to 2005/06. Five inputs and one output are analyzed by means of a stochastic frontier production function, allowing for heteroscedasticity and technical effects. Five sets of possible determinants of technical efficiency are considered in the model. These include: (1) farm structure and resources; (2) human capital and management capacities; (3) institutional choice; and (4) subsidies. To these factors that are commonly included in technical effects models, we add (5) a set of variables that capture localization and urbanization economies such as the share of organic farms in a region and the regional share of votes for the Green Party in recent elections.

These regional effects are found to have a significant impact on the technical efficiency of organic farms. We have identified 15 production clusters in Germany with different levels of efficiency. Interestingly, especially the southern clusters perform extremely well. In contrast to this, farms in northern and eastern Germany show lower efficiency level. There might be some shortcomings: Hessen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein are not represented in the data-set and in Eastern Germany has only few observations. In the context of Stochastic Frontier Analysis, we might also conclude, that the production frontier is mainly defined by rather small farms which can be found in Southern Germany. However, to our best knowledge, this is the first formal approach to investigate the relation of regional clusters and efficiency levels by a admittedly simple approach.

In our study we also investigate the evolution of efficiency on farms that are converting from conventional to organic farming. According to this result, the conversion period is longer than the usual 2 or 5 years, in which the federal states provide support for converting farms. After 6-11 years the average technical efficiency is substantially increasing almost reaching the average level of established farms. A conclusion might be, that farmers need to calculate with a longer adaptation period and from a political point of view, it might be appropriate to support 5 and not 2 years. But this has of course some trade-offs. And the literature also shows, that market-integration of converted farms is crucial for a successful conversion to organic farms.

Source: Technical efficiency of organic pasture farming in Germany: The role of location economics and of specific knowledge | Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems | Cambridge Core

Small is beautiful? – In der Agrarpolitik leider ein Irrtum!

15. September 2016

Der Slogan ‚Small is beautiful’ darf in keiner grünen Agrardiskussion fehlen. Ich werde im folgenden Text zeigen, warum dieser Slogan in der Agrardebatte nicht richtig ist und es sinnvoller ist, sich auf die Förderung von spezifischen Leistungen im Umwelt- und Tierschutz zu konzentrieren.

Seit Beginn des Jahres kommt Bewegung in die agrarpolitische Debatte: Im März 2017 legt die EU-Kommission ihren Zwischenbericht zum Greening vor, im September 2017 ist Bundestagswahl und in den Jahren 2016/17 werden auch die ersten Weichen für die Diskussion um die Gemeinsame Agrarpolitik 2020 gestellt. Die agrarpolitischen Akteure arbeiten an ihren Positionen, einige Modelle wurden bereits präsentiert. In diesem Umfeld diskutieren auch Bündnis 90/Die Grünen ihr Agrarprogramm, allerdings deutet einiges darauf hin, dass Agrarstrukturen erneut eine Rolle spielen werden. Dies hat Tradition bei den Grünen, ist jedoch perspektivisch ein Fehler. Warum?

Öffentliche Güter und Leistung als Grundlage der Forderung 

Die ökonomische Theorie der Wirtschaftspolitik kennt als einen wichtigen Grund für politische Maßnahmen die sog. öffentlichen Güter oder Leistungen, die gesellschaftlich gewünscht sind, für deren Bereitstellung ein Unternehmen am Markt jedoch idR. nicht entlohnt wird. Öffentliche Güter sind auch im Zentrum der Agrardebatten, denn Landwirtschaft produziert öffentliche Leistungen im Umwelt- und Tierschutz, für die ein Betrieb meistens keinen besseren Preis bekommt. Neben der Einkommenspolitik der I. Säule, die immer noch den größten Teil des Agrarbudgets ausmacht, werden in der II. Säule der GAP in den Bereichen Umwelt- und Tierschutz öffentliche Güter gefördert. Allerdings fällt diese Förderung weiterhin zu niedrig aus und hat inhaltliche Mängel.


Agrarstruktur in Lindewerra, Thüringen: Landschaft in großen Strukturen?

In der Agrardebatte taucht allerdings auch immer wieder die Forderung auf, kleine oder sog. bäuerliche Betriebe müssten verstärkt gefördert werden, weil sie umwelt- und tierfreundlicher seien. Das Stichwort ist hierbei „small is beautiful“ und Vertreter dieser These finden sich vor allem bei der Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerlicher Landwirtschaft (AbL). Im Einzelfall mag dies richtig sein und jeder von uns kennt mit Sicherheit einen solchen kleinen, sympathischen Bauernhof, der seine Sache vorbildlich macht und den man gerne unterstützen will. Aber um eine ganze Förderpolitik auf dieser Theorie aufzubauen, muss man empirisch zeigen können, dass kleinere Betriebe zumindest im Durchschnitt umwelt- und tierfreundlicher sind als größere Betriebe.

Es geht mir dabei auch nicht darum, einer technokratischen Marktökonomie das Wort zu reden, sondern es geht darum, die knappen Steuergelder gezielt entweder als Ausgleich für öffentliche Leistungen zu zahlen, oder man setzt Gelder ein, um sozialpolitisch gut begründeten Defizite abzumildern. Allerdings gibt es für eine sozialpolitische Begründung im Moment noch keine tragfähigen Konzepte. Insofern sollten jetzt alle diejenigen, die sich nach dem Lesen dieser ersten Absätze aufregen, ganz tief durchatmen und sich die Argumente genau ansehen. Es geht nicht darum, das Konzept „Small is beautiful“ lächerlich zu machen o.ä., sondern genau hinzusehen, damit agrarpolitische Reformen am Ende tragfähig sind – ein Anspruch, dem Bündnis 90/Die Grünen als selbsternannte Agrarpartei gerecht werden muss. Ich werde also im Folgenden an zwei Beispielen zeigen, warum kleine Betriebe nicht automatisch mehr öffentliche Leistungen erbringen und warum es sinnvoller ist, sich auf den Ausbau von Agrarumwelt- und Tierschutzmaßnahmen zu konzentrieren.

Förderung kleiner Betriebe als Lösung der Milchmarktkrise?

Ein typisches Beispiel für eine solche Forderung lieferte die grüne Bundestagsfraktion als Reaktion auf die Krise am Milchmarkt: Im Juni 2016 wurde von der grünen Bundestagsfraktion bzw. ihrem neuen Youtube-Politikerklärer, Can Erdal ein Video zur Milchmarktkrise veröffentlicht (Oppovision #29): In dem Video wird (unter anderem) die Förderung von kleinen Betriebe als Politikziel genannt, um die Probleme am Milchmarkt in den Griff zu bekommen. Der Markt muss reguliert werden, weil wir kleine Betriebe schützen müssen. Die EU-Subventionen seien ungerecht verteilt, weil große Betriebe mehr Subventionen bekommen, als kleine Betriebe. Und dann der entscheidende Satz: „Guckt, dass die Subventionen nicht nur bei den Riesenbetrieben bleiben, sondern auch bei den kleinen Betrieben bleiben, die die Kühe und die Landschaft würdig behandeln.“ (im Video ab Minute 2:25). An dieser Stelle wird es aus zwei Gründen ärgerlich:

Ab welcher Größe ist ein Betrieb riesig?

Die Frage, was genau ein Betrieb ein kritikwürdiger Riesenbetrieb“ ist, wird in dem Video aus guten Gründen nicht erklärt, weil es nicht zu erklären ist. Kombinieren wir die Frage der Technologie und der Betriebsgröße: Es ist z.B. denkbar, dass ein 60-Kuh-Betrieb einen Melk-Roboter anschafft, um mit der gewonnen Zeit Dinge zu produzieren, mit denen der Betrieb eine höhere Wertschöpfung erzielt oder damit die Landwirt*in die so gewonnene Zeit mit der Familien zu verbringen kann. Es ist auch denkbar, dass ein 150 Kuh-Betrieb diese Technologie einsetzt, damit der Betrieb überleben kann und von der Großeltern- an die Enkelgeneration weitergegeben werden kann: Denn junge Landwirt*innen können heute in anderen Berufen arbeiten und werden den elterlichen Betrieb nur weiterführen, wenn Sie mit ihrem Betrieb auch in den nächsten 40-50 Jahren ein ähnliches Auskommen haben wie sie es in anderen Berufen erzielen könnten. Auch ein 500-Kuh-Betrieb mit Melk-Karussell, wie sie in Ostdeutschland anzutreffen sind, setzt diese Technologie ein, damit z.B. die entsprechenden Arbeitsplätze im Dorf gehalten werden können. Welcher der drei Betriebe ist jetzt ein kritikwürdiger „Riesenbetrieb“?  Der Begriff ist schwammig und konzeptionell überhaupt nicht hinterlegt. Aus der Betriebsgröße lässt sich kein moralischer Diskurs konstruieren und es lässt sich daraus auch keine rationale Agrarpolitik ableiten.


Kleinteilige Agrarstruktur in Kanton Appenzell, Schweiz – Die Probleme der Landwirtschaft in dieser Region liegen in den landesweit höchsten Nährstoffüberschüssen.

Kleine Betriebe als Lieferanten von „öffentlichen Gütern“

Das zweite Problem liegt darin, dass die Politikforderungen der grünen Bundestagsfraktion in dem Video von falschen Voraussetzungen ausgehen. Es wird behauptet, dass kleine Betriebe „Kühe und Landschaft würdig behandeln“. Übersetzt in die Theorie der Wirtschaftspolitik heißt dies, dass kleine Betriebe proportional höhere öffentliche Güter oder Leistungen erbringen (d.h. grundsätzlich mehr für Umwelt- und Naturschutz, Artenvielfalt oder Tierwohl leisten) und aus diesem Grund gefördert werden müssen. Ist das tatsächlich so?

Ich werde im Folgenden zwei Beispiele bringen, an denen sich zeigt, dass kleine Betriebe nicht automatisch mehr öffentliche Leistungen erzielen. Öffentliche Leistungen sind in diesem Zusammenhang Leistungen im Umwelt- und Tierschutz, d.h. ein intakte und vielfältige Landschaft, Bereitstellung von Artenschutz durch den Betrieb, die Vermeidung negativer Umweltwirkungen oder artgerechte und tierfreundliche Haltungsbedingungen in der Haltung von Nutztieren.

1. Beispiel: Biotopvielfalt in intensiven Ackerbauregionen

Eine wichtige Herausforderung besteht in den nächsten Jahren im Erhalt der Artenvielfalt. Eine besonderer Schwerpunkt sind hierbei die Ackerbauregionen, wie z.B. die Hildesheimer, Braunschweiger und Magdeburger Börde, auf denen mit Schwarzerde-Böden die besten Ackerbaustandorte Deutschlands liegen. Ein Indikator für eine vielfältige Agrarstruktur mit einer ausgewogenen Biodiversität ist der Biotopindex, der vom Julius Kühn-Institut erstellt wird. Hierbei werden auf Luftbildern die Strukturelemente in der Landschaft ausgewertet und in einen Index umgewandelt.

In der folgenden Abbildung ist der Biotopindex auf Gemeindeebene in der Börde-Region dargestellt. Niedrige Werte (rot) bedeuten , dass die Landschaft ausgeräumt ist, bei hohen Werten (grün) liegt eine vielfältige Landschaft vor. Es sind nur Gemeinden in der Börde dargestellt, die Agrarstruktur und Spezialisierung in der Region ist sowohl im Westen als auch im Osten Ackerbau, allerdings sind die Betriebe im Westen vergleichsweise klein und im Osten eher groß: Während in der Region Hildesheim-Braunschweig ca. 8,4% der Betriebe über 200 Hektar groß sind, liegt der Anteil im östlichen Landkreise Börde bei etwa 40% der Betriebe. Man kann vereinfachend sagen, Westen = vergleichsweise klein, Osten = groß.


Abbildung 1: Biotopindex in der Hildesheimer, Braunschweiger und Magdeburger Börse (Eigene Berechnung nach dem Biotopindex des Julius-Kühn-Instituts)

Aus der Abbildung wird deutlich, dass die Landschaft in der Magdeburger Börde bei Bewirtschaftung durch große Betriebe eher vielfältig ist, während im Westen bei Bewirtschaftung von durchschnittlich deutlich kleineren Betrieben in den meisten Gemeinden eine verarmte Landschaft vorzufinden ist. Es wird deutlich, dass wir den Umweltvorteil „Strukturvielfalt in der Landschaft“ (also reich an Streifen, Hecken, Bäume, Randstrukturen) nicht kleinen, sondern eher großen Betriebsgrößen zuordnen können. Dies ist eine zugegeben etwas grobe Herangehensweise, allerdings zeigt diese Grafik zumindest, dass kleine Betriebe keine deutlichen und unmittelbaren Umweltvorteile aufweisen.

Das Beispiel ist ein besonderes Beispiel, da die intensiven Ackerbauregionen insgesamt Probleme mit dem Biotopindikator haben. Gleichzeitig eignet es sich besonders gut für einen Vergleich – weil im Westen und Osten ähnliche Kulturen angebaut werden und sich nur die Betriebsgrößen unterscheiden.

Es gibt vielfältige Gründe, die man als Erklärung anführen kann. In Westdeutschland hat sich seit dem 2. Weltkrieg eine sehr wettbewerbsfähige Ackerbaustruktur entwickelt, die Landschaft wurde spätestens seit den 70er Jahren ausgeräumt und die Bewirtschaftung durch große Maschinen zu ermöglichen. Im Osten hat der Wettbewerbsdruck erst vor 25 Jahren eingesetzt, dies könnte ein weiterer Grund für den Unterschied sein. Des weiteren können es sich große Betriebe eher leisten, Randstrukturen stehen zu lassen oder z.B. feuchte Stellen im Acker nicht zu bewirtschaften. Kleine Betriebe haben diese Spielräume nicht. Nur eines wird eben auch deutlich: Die kleiner strukturierte Landwirtschaft im Westen hat keinen systematischen Umweltvorteil gegenüber der groß strukturierten im Osten.

  1. Beispiel: Weidehaltung auf Milchviehbetrieben

Als weiteres Beispiel wird im Video behauptet, kleine Betriebe behandelten ihre Tiere „würdig“. Die Würde des Tieres ist an der Stelle ein großes Wort. In praktische Politik übersetzt geht es um tierfreundliche Haltungssystem, die im Video der grünen Bundestagsfraktion kleinen Betrieben zugeordnet werden. Dies ist eigentlich Thema der Tierethologie, allerdings erscheint es schwierig dieses Thema auf einer breiten empirischen Grundlage zu beurteilen. Es gibt allerdings Daten zur Weidehaltung von Michkühen in Deutschland in 2010, was zumindest als grober Indikator für tierfreundliche Haltungssysteme betrachtet werden kann (Tab. 1).


Tabelle 1: Milchviehbetriebe mit Weidehaltung in 2010 (Nach Daten des Statistischen Bundesamtes, Landwirtschaftszählung 2010)

Hierbei ergibt sich folgendes Bild: 82,7% aller Tiere werden in Beständen kleiner 200 Tieren gehalten. Auf Betrieben mit einer Milchkuhherde zwischen 50 und 200 Tieren wird etwa die Hälfte aller Tiere mit Weidegang gehalten. Der Anteil bei Betrieben mit Weidehaltung ist in der Größenklasse unter 50 Tieren kleiner. D.h. auch hier sei die Schlussfolgerung erlaubt, dass ganz kleine Betriebe nicht unbedingt die tierfreundlichsten Haltungssysteme haben. Sieht man sich die Größenklasse über 200 Tiere an, so gibt es zwar auf etwa auf der Hälfte aller Betriebe Weidehaltung, allerdings werden nur 17% der Tiere draussen gehalten. Insofern schneiden auch die ganz großen Betriebe in diesem Vergleich nicht gut ab, während mittleren Größenklassen von 50 bis 200 Tieren einen Qualitätsvorteil haben.


Die scharfe Polemik im Video der grünen Bundestagsfraktion gegen „große Megabetriebe der industriellen Landwirtschaft, bei denen keine Kuh mehr auf die Wiese kommt“ (Zitat), ist somit nur bei 52% dieser Betriebe gerechtfertigt, kann aber vielleicht als Tendenz akzeptiert werden. Die Behauptung, kleine Betriebe würden ihre Tiere würdig behandeln, stimmt dagegen definitiv nicht, da 60% aller kleinen Betriebe ihre Tiere nicht mit Weidegang halten. Es sind die mittleren Betriebe, die ihre Kühe „würdig behandeln“. Und die Behauptung, kleine Betriebe würden die Landschaft „würdig behandeln“, kann getrost als offensichtlich falsch bezeichnet werden.

Der Begriff „industrielle Landwirtschaft“ ist für die praktische Politik kaum überzeugend zu definieren, aber in einem Youtube-Video, das sich an potenzielle Sympathisanten richtet, die idR. in der Stadt wohnen und von solchen strukturellen Themen nichts wissen, gehen solche Begriffe immer? Für mich ist das keine anspruchsvolle und rationale Reformpolitik. Fachlich ist dieses Video fragwürdig, allerdings spiegelt es eine weitverbreitete Meinung wieder, man müsse in der Agrarpolitik nur kleine Betriebe fördern und alles werde gut. Die Bereitstellung von öffentlichen Leistungen hat m.E. nichts mit der Betriebsgröße zu tun, insofern macht es keinen Sinn, dies als agrarpolitische Strategie zu verfolgen.

Damit hier keine Missverständnisse aufkommen: Es gibt kleine Betriebe, die absolut vorbildlich sind, aber es sind nicht alle. Die kleinen Betriebe, die gute Leistungen erzielen, würde auch mit einem Ausbau der II. Säule-Programme in den Bereichen Umwelt- und Tierschutz geholfen werden. Die förderpolitische Umsetzung der „Small is beautiful-Ideologie“ würde dagegen viele kleine Betriebe mitsubventionieren, die keine Leistungen erzielen und andererseits große Betriebe, die gute Leistungen erzielen, benachteiligen. Eine rationale Agrarpolitik, die nach nachvollziehbaren Kriterien überprüfbar ist, sollte sich nach empirisch belegten Wirkungszusammenhängen orientieren. Der Wirkungszusammenhang, dass kleine Betriebe mehr gesellschaftlich erwünschte Leistungen produzieren und daher gefördert müssen, ist nicht nachweisbar. Daher wäre es sinnvoll, sich auf die Ausarbeitung von Programmen zu konzentrieren, die die vorbildlichen Betriebe unabhängig von ihrer Größe fördern.

Es ist natürlich auch denkbar, dass kleine Betriebe aus sozialpolitischen Gründen gefördert werden. Hierzu liegen uns im Moment nicht ausreichen Daten vor, da es zwar Daten über die landwirtschaftlichen Einkommen, jedoch nicht über die Einkünfte von Familien in der Landwirtschaft vorliegen und weiterhin auch keine Daten über die Vermögen von in der Landwirtschaft tätigen Menschen. Dies wäre die Voraussetzung für eine belastbare Sozialpolitik. Ich möchte auch darauf hinweisen, dass es über die Einkommenssteuertarife und über weitere Sonderregelungen ohnehin Vorteile für kleine Betriebe gibt. Des Weiteren gibt es bei den Direktzahlungen den Hektaraufschlag für die ersten 46 Hektare. Einige Detailregelungen sorgen ohnehin dafür, dass kleine Betriebe etwas mehr Spielraum haben. Die oben genannten Daten zu Einkommen und Vermögen wären die Grundlage, um zu überprüfen, ob die bisherigen Regelungen hinreichend sind oder ob es zusätzlichen sozialen Handlungsbedarf gibt. Aber gerade Agrarsozialpolitik ist kompliziert, hier müsste noch einiges an Arbeit investiert werden, um überzeugende Konzepte vorzulegen.

Was Apple uns zum iPhone 7 wirklich sagen wollte: Die zensierte Pressemitteilung

9. September 2016

Anlässlich der Produktpräsentation des iPhone 7 wurde von der technischen Abteilung eine Pressemitteilung verfasst, die jedoch von der Marketing-Abteilung nachträglich zensiert wurde. Der Originaltext wurde jetzt geleakt und wird hier exklusiv präsentiert:


Pressemitteilung, Cupertino, 07/07/2016: Neues iPhone 7 ist auch nicht besser

Liebe Kunden,

erstmal Sorry: Das neue iPhone 7 ist leider auch nix geworden! Es ist einfach schwierig, alle zwei Jahre ein tolles, neues Super-Duper-iPhone zu entwickeln. Ständig dieser Erwartungsdruck, J*** hatte seine Scheidung, T** ein Burn-out, es war echt nicht so leicht, inzwischen sind wir alle total genervt! Dann der Baustellen-Lärm und diese komische Steuergeschichte in Irland, die kein Mensch versteht… Aber irgendwas muss man ja machen, Seufz!

Wir haben also ein bisschen an der Kamera rumgeschraubt. Gut, die hat jetzt ein paar mehr Pixel, aber Hey: Fotos macht das alte iPhone SE auch, und die doofe Kamera-Software ist nicht rechtzeitig fertig geworden. Da muss der E** wieder die Wochenende durch programmieren. Den Kopfhörer-Eingang hat P*** blöderweise vergessen, da müssen wir jetzt so tun, als ginge das auch ohne. Da können wir jetzt wieder jede Menge sinnlose Adapter für viel Geld verkaufen. Und diese komischen Air-Pods, die man stundenlang im Rucksack suchen muss. Eine Pest!!! Ok, telefonieren kann man weiterhin mit dem iPhone und es gibt auch zwei neue Farben, die wir aber eigentlich total langweilig finden. Dafür hat Samsung jetzt explodierend Akkus eingeführt, da ist noch richtig Leben in der Bude!

Also Leute, kauft weiterhin das gute, alte iPhone SE, oder eines dieser Samsung-Dinger, oder am besten ein Festnetz-Telefon. Wir arbeiten daran, demnächst mal wieder ein gutes iPhone zu entwickeln, mal gucken, wir melden uns, irgendwann…

Eure Firma Apple Limited

iPhone SE: Macht auch ganz gute Fotos

iPhone SE: Macht auch ganz gute Fotos


Disclaimer: Es handelt sich hierbei um einen satirischen Text bzw. Kunst. Keine der hier getroffenen Aussagen entspricht der Wahrheit, sie sind frei erfunden. Die Pressemitteilung gibt es so nicht, sie ist frei erfunden.
Für etwaige Kaufentscheidungen übernehme ich keinerlei Verantwortung. Im übrigen halte ich das iPhone 6 und 7 jeweils für technisch hervorragende Weiterentwicklungen. Wer sich informieren will, kann dies hier tun:

Supporting Greening with Agri-Environmental Measures: Improvement or rather a waste of money?

21. Juni 2016

The concept of Greening of Direct Payments and more specifically the Ecological Focus Area (EFA) are going into their second year of implementation. I will discuss the pragmatic option to additionally support EFA by agri-environmental measures (AEM) in order to improve effectiveness of EFA. The experience in Germany do not deliver strong arguments for this option. The advantage of this option is the application within the existing CAP-framework.


One effective EFA-option: Flouring strip with phacelia in Lindau, South Lower Saxony

The uptake of effective EFA-options in 2015 was very poor: Landscape elements, buffer strips and fallow land together contributed to 20% of EFA-area in Germany and 25% in the whole EU (figures before weighting factors and excluding figures from France, see my last post here). After the first year of learning and getting along with administrative restrictions, it is unclear whether we will observe an increase of effective EFA-options or not. Beyond the general recommendation to abolish Greening and to use the resources for agri-environmental schemes, we might think about options within the existing Greening-framework. And one of these options are the registration of existing agri-environmental measures (AEM) as EFA-option and thereby improve the effectiveness and focus of EFA-options.

In Germany, agri-environmental measures (AEM) are designed by the federal states (Bundesländer) and additionally supported by the national government. If the federal states want to get financial support form Berlin, the need to adjust their AEM to the regulatory national framework called “Joint Task for the Improvement of Agricultural Structure and Coastal Protection (GAK)“, which sets the general rules for the support by the national government. One rule is, that the payment has to be reduced, since part of the environmental service is already paid by the greening payment. Besides this, the rules have to go beyond the EFA-rules. Within the German framework GAK, the option to support EFA by agri-environmental measures or, vice versa, to register AEM as EFA is given for several EFA-options, as described in the next table 1:

Table: Payments in agri-environmental schemes and reduction rate due to registration as EFA in Germany


Note that there is always the problems of ‚double funding‘, which is forbidden by EU-law: Services cannot be paid twice. However, the rules of the agri-environmental measures are more detailed and strict and the EAM-payment is reduced (as displayed in tab. 1), therefore the services are higher and therefore the EU-Commission accepted the programs by the German states. Following a question of Alan Matthews, the way I put this option in this post is probably not very precise in legal sense. The legal logic is rather the other way: Farmers participate in the agri-environmental measure (AEM) and can register their measure as EFA. And if they do, they receive a reduced payment.

The agri-environmental programs of the federal states show that only some German states are using this additional support and only for some of the EFA-options. This creates a very heterogeneous picture, which is displayed in table 2:

Table 2: Table: Additional support of ecological focus area by agri-environmental programs in the federal states of Germany.

The table shows that some federal states use this additional option extensively like Lower Saxony, Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt (all with three options) and some East-German states like Saxony and Brandenburg, but also Saarland and Hessen don’t use this option at all. Some of the options are more strongly supported, like buffer strips (in 9 states) and nitrogen fixing crops (in 5 states with payment), and on the other hand fallow land is only supported in two states, and the forestry options are not supported at all.

The key question here is on the effect of this additional support. We might very simple look on the figures of the states, which use supporting options and find out, whether we can determine higher shares of the respective option. However, the answer to this question is not as easy, since this goes to more general issue on how farmers decide on the choice of EFA-types. And here we see conflicting determinants of decision, which probably overlap with the incentive of agri-environmental measures. Besides this, we know the existing options, but we do not know (so far) to what extent farmers use the specific option and participate in agri-environmental measures eligible for EFA.

To the more easy and obvious question, whether we can directly discover statistical evidence, I will give a try. This is done, by separating the EFA-figures of the federal states with additional support and without. The result is displayed in table 3:

Table 3: Impact of additional support by agri-environmental measures on EFA uptake
(The figures indicate shares of the respective option in states with and without additional AEM-support)

First of all, the main issue is, whether we can observe a higher uptake of the measures, which are additionally supported. This is the case of buffer strips, catch crops and nitrogen fixing crops with a higher share within the states with support. However, the rest of the results is rather puzzling: In many federal states with support, the share of the supported EFA-options is lower or even substantially lower like in the case of fallow land. And on the other hand, the additional of Nitrogen fixing crops and catch crops is marginal with 20 and 75 €/ha, therefore here the factors leading for an high uptake might be others.

For instance, in Lower Saxony, which supports 4 options, the participation rate is not 100% clear. In 2015, 10.866 of 39.500 farms in Lower Saxony were working under agri-environmental schemes (including the organic farming support and all grassland-programs), which is just 27% of all farms. To figure out an impact, we would need to know, how many farms use the combination of EFA and EAM, because with low participation rates AEM can’t simply exert any impact on EFA. And this was probably the case in many federal states displayed here.

Finally, only buffer-strips we might observe a small impact, for the rest of the options AEM are not leading to high rates of uptake in absolute terms. We might conclude, that the additional incentive of AEM is outweighed by other factors in the decision process.

Coming to the conclusion:  The advantage of this option is the comparatively easy application within the existing CAP-framework. So states can decide to take this option and improve the effectiveness of EFA. If we don’t want to loose five years for biodiversity, we might still want to consider this option, even if this has a number of drawbacks like double funding and even more complicated requirements: Farmers in this case need to fulfill the requirements of two systems, where sometimes one is already too complicated.

The additional support of AEM is so far rather a theoretical option and the rates of uptake do not give strong arguments for this option. Greening is not effective and highly inefficient. And at the end of the day, with additional support of EFA we take away money from other, much more effective support schemes within the agri-environmental measures, which are essential for the support of biodiversity in agriculture. So the final long-run conclusion is (again) to abolish Greening, shift money into pillar two and to extend agri-environmental measure instead of sticking to the ineffective and inefficient instrument of ecological focus area.

Greening 2015: First preliminary data show necessity for further reform

13. April 2016

As one main element of the EU’s CAP-Reform 2013, the Greening of EU Direct Payments has been implemented for in 2015 the first year. In the last weeks some first data on the implementation of Greening and the Ecological Focus Area (EFA) were unofficially presented by the EU Commission. I want to share these data and do a bit of commenting on them.

As already reported on this website, farmers have to fulfill three criteria (crop diversification, maintenance of permanent grassland and the ecological focus area (EFA)) to receive 30% of the direct payments. There are some exemptions for very small farms (< 10 ha), some simplified criteria for small farms (10-30 ha) and some exemptions for farms with a high share of permanent grassland or fodder production on arable land. The EU-Commission provides some general information  on greening and the member-states had some flexibilities in the implementation of Greening on a national level. So most of the information were provided by national authorities, since the Greening-regulations are dependent on the decisions taken in the member-states.

In December 2015, EU member states had to report the figures of the first year of implementation to the EU-Commission. On this website, I already reported on the implementation of Greening and EFA in Germany, since the German ministries (in the Federal States and in Berlin/Bonn) published the implementation data in great detail. So it was possible to draw some first conclusions, even though it is clear, that farmers choices will still change to some extent in the next years, when all the details are known and farmers have more time to take their decisions how to comply to Greening.

Ploughing 2016 in Northern Germany

Ploughing 2016 on the island of Föhr, in Schleswig-Holstein, Northern Germany

The EU-Commission also published a document on the national choices with respect to all the flexible element of the CAP-Reform. From this document, it is clear that on the  national states took the full flexibility of national decision. With respect to the ecological focus area, different options are offered on the national level. The following figure 1 shows the number of countries in which the different EFA-options are chosen:

Figure 1: Number of EU-member states offering the different EFA-options

Fig. 1: Number of EU-member states offering the different EFA-options (Source: European Commission 2015: Direct payments post 2014 Decisions taken by Member States by 1 August 2014 – State of play on 07.05.2015-, Brussels, 

So the most chosen option are 1.) nitrogen fixing crops, 2.) land lying fallow and 3.) Landscape features. Figure 2 illustrates the number of options chosen in the EU member-states:

Figure 2: Number of chosen EFA-options by the EU-member states

Fig. 2: Number of chosen EFA-options by the EU-member states (Source: European Commission 2015: Direct payments post 2014 Decisions taken by Member States by 1 August 2014 – State of play on 07.05.2015-, Brussels, 
url: )

14 member states have chosen 10 or more EFA-options. Obviously, large countries like Germany, France, Italy and Hungary took the administrative challenge to provide a large number of options for their farmers (17-18 EFA options), which also includes a substantial administrative costs. On the other hand, nine of the member states only offered a moderate choice of 5-9 EFA options and only five member states offered rather few options to their farmers (2-4 EFA options).

Greening causes substantial administration costs and efforts

We know the offered EFA-options in the member states and some implementation data from single member-states. But it turned out to be very difficult to get concrete EFA-data from other member-states. Some ministries were very constructive and helpful and gave data to our research-group. However, even the EU could not get all the data by 15.December 2015. It was obviously difficult to implement Greening into the EU’s Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) of direct payments. Many representatives, to which we were talking to in the last months, reported difficulties in implementing Greening. The result is, that many countries delivered the data from January to March 2016, and France is still to deliver. Besides the control and administration systems of Pillar II. and of Cross Compliance (CC), we now find a third bundle of regulations, where the administration has to perform controls and register data etc.. So the term „simplification“ is not meaningless in that sense, that the implementation of Greening causes a lot of administrative burden and the overlap of three different control scheme needs simplification. And simplifying without reducing the ecological impact, will be a great challenge of the next mini-reform 2017.

EU-Implementation of Greening & Ecological Focus Area 2015

The EU-Commission announced to publish the first detailed evaluation of data in May/June 2016, however at different conferences in the last weeks, some preliminary data were presented. On April 05, 2016, the European Landowners Organization (ELO) held a meeting titled “A Sustainable European Agriculture: Is Greening the Way Forward?„. At this meeting, Joost Korte, (Deputy Director-General at the DG Agri in the EU Commission) reported some first preliminary figures on Greening on the EU-level. Those figures (probably) do not include the data from France. I also received data from other sources in Brussels, however these figures are preliminary (!) and still subject to data control. However, I still want to present the data here to give some first ideas, how Greening was implemented in Europe. The debate on the further development of Greening will be done this year, because on March 31, 2017 the EU Commission will present a report on the implementation. The public needs to follow up in the debate and influence the discussion. Therefore, even preliminary data might help.

The first figures are about the question, on how much land Greening was implemented: On 73% of the land, at least one Greening criterion was implemented and around 40% of the farms had to comply to at least one criterion. Crop diversification was relevant on 79% of the EU arable land. 67% of the arable land was with obligations of 3 crops, and 12% of 2 crops. This means that 21% of the arable land was excluded from Crop Diversification, which is even more than the first estimates of Pe’er et al. (2014, in Science), who estimated 13% of the arable land to be excluded.

My own calculations and also the calculations of Thünen Institute estimate that around 10% of the farms have problems with the Crop Diversification criterion, but Farmers need to do only small adjustments. In Germany, the main effect of Crop Diversification is to correct a bit of the negative side-effects of the national Biogas-support, which lead to a high share of maize in the crop rotations. Maize is the main crop, which causes problems in Crop Diversification. I would suggest to correct the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) in Germany and leave away the Crop Diversification criterion. I don’t see much of an effect.

Based on Mr. Korte’s report, the Ecological Focus Area (EFA) was relevant on 70% of the arable land. I.e. 30% of the arable land is exempted. The farmers mainly implemented land lying fallow (35% of the arable land after applying the weighting factors), nitrogen fixing crops (38%) and catch crops (15%). Landscape elements (4.5%) and buffer strips (5.9%) are of minor importance.

Other sources from Brussels also report, that there is substantial ‚overbooking‘ on EFA: EFA has a share of 16% of the arable land subject to EFA before applying the weighting factors (WF) and 10% after WF. However, the obligation is just 5% (after weighting factors), so farmers registered far more than necessary in order to avoid problems with controls. This also suggests, that the main debate should not be about the questions whether 5% or 7% of the arable land are necessary. It should be more about which options are useful and effective to target biodiversity problems.

The preliminary land-shares of the different EFA-options are shown in figure 3:

Fig. 3: EFA Choices in the EU 2015 as shares of EFA-area in per cent

Fig. 3: EFA Choices in the EU 2015 as shares of EFA-area in per cent (Source: Preliminary data presented by the EU Commission 2016)

The ‚productive options‘ catch crops and nitrogen fixing crops together take the largest part (53%). Landscape elements and buffer strips, as very effective measures to protect species and link structures within the landscape, have only 11% of arable land (after applying WF). Note that the real shares are given by the figures before applying weighting factors (WF), so the proportion of landscape elements and buffer strips are around 5% alltogether. Countries with the largest shares of landscape elements are Ireland (by far!), United Kingdom, Malta, (surprisingly) Germany and Sweden. Buffer strips are of the registered in Denmark, United Kingdom and Ireland. Also interesting is the fact, that many of the two forest-options don’t play a role: There is a bit of short rotation coppice in Finland and Denmark and a bit afforested area in Portugal, Poland, Hungary and Spain. But on the EU-levels, these options play with 1% a minor role.

If we take a look into the main reform document, EU-Regulation No. 1307/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013, into argument (44), we find the main motivation for the Ecological Focus Area (EFA): „Ecological focus areas should be established, in particular, in order to safeguard and improve biodiversity on farms„. So EFA is about Biodiversity! Ecologists tell us, that mainly buffer strips, landscape element and land lying fallow only show a significant impact on biodiversity. The other elements might be in one or the other way beneficial for the environment in general, however their effect on biodiversity is probably rather limited.

Conclusions: A substantial reform of Greening or beyond is necessary

The preliminary data show that only about 45% of the EFA-area (after WF) useful options are chosen. If we take real area, the share is just about 26%, which is disappointing. There is a lot of water in this system, especially if we take into account the administrative costs to implement Greening. Note that the figures vary substantially between the member states. So I am already looking forward to analyze the full published data-set. Note also that some national experts evaluate the EFA-effects a bit differently across the countries.

The figures clearly show: Greening and the EFA is not the best instrument to perform targeted support of biodiversity and especially endangered species! EFA might contribute for a more broad extensification of arable land – if we take this as an objective for EFA. So from an environmental point it might be worth to think about a pragmatic improvement of EFA. But we need other more effective instruments for a targeted support of biodiversity and endangered species. Greening and EFA are not the solution to this problem.

It is still to early to give a final comment on the figures, since we don’t have more precise and detailed data. And 2015 is just the first year, so given the low commodity prices for agricultural goods, I would expect e.g. the fallow land to be chosen more often in 2016. Also the buffer strips might gain a bit, since the regulations are more clear this year and farmers know how to implement buffer strips.

On the other hand, my two main argument would still be the low efficiency of EFA and Greening and missing effectiveness for endangered species. And remember: The endangered species are the main objective of EFA. This still highlights the potential but also the necessity to substantially adjust the EFA-measures and to financially increase the share of Pillar II and also to reform Pillar II-programs. I will comeback to this in a few months, when more data are available.

Did I miss something or is something unclear? Just write or comment, I am happy about feedback!

Thanks to Dr. Jürgen Wilhelm from the Ministry for Agriculture in Lower Saxony for presenting some of the data in Loccum and for fruitful discussion. Also note that not all data stem from Dr. Wilhelm and I won’t take any guarantee on the data, which are still preliminary.

Organic vs. Conventional Yields: Critical Remarks on a Germany Study

6. März 2016

A new study claims of the „Agriculture Industry Association“ tries to proof that organic farming is less sustainable than conventional farming. This finding is in sharp contrast to the published literature and the study in fact has a lot of shortcomings, which are worth commenting.

In Germany, the beginning of January is usually time for the so called ‘green week’ (“Grüne Woche”), a fair in Berlin, where agricultural producer and the agribusiness present their products. During this green week, the different farmers associations and environmental NGO are coming up with their political proposals. So on January 14, 2016, the German ‘Agriculture Industry Association’ (Deutscher Industrieverband Agrar (IVA)) presented a study showing that ‘productive agriculture causes less biodiversity-loss’. The study was basically a yield- and biodiversity-comparisons between organic and conventional farms, which I want to put into perspective here.

Conventional wheat production 2015 in the region of Göttingen

Conventional wheat production 2015 in the region of Göttingen

The main results (based on bookkeeping data of German farms) is that organic farms achieves a lower yields and also lower yield-growth than conventional farms. First of all, this is not a new or surprising results, since these results from the German test farm-network are yearly reported by the Ministry of Agriculture. However, the author of the study Dr. Steffen Noleppa used the data-set to analyse the yield-performance of different crops. The following graph taken from the study shows the yield-growth in two periods, between 2007/08 to 2009/10 and between 2011/12 to 2013/14:


Figure 1: Yield-level of organic farms in comparison to conventional farms (=100%) (Source: based on data by Noleppa 2016)

Figure 1: Yield-level of organic farms in comparison to conventional farms (=100%) (Source: based on data by Noleppa 2016)

The graph documents, that organic farms had lower increases of yields in both periods and that the yield gap of between organic and conventional farms is drastically increasing. Showing those data, we need to discuss, whether bookkeeping data are reliable enough to compare yields. There are some arguments in favour and against this database and sadly enough, none of these arguments have been mentioned or discussed by Steffen Noleppa, which is my first criticism on this study. Anyhow, let us start with some arguments in favour of bookkeeping data:

  • The database of test farms (usually hosted by Thünen Institute in Braunschweig) is one of the broadest and most detailed database. Therefore, if we want to have a broad and representative source for yield comparisons with many observations, this data-source is a good option.
  • The author of the studies, the agricultural economist Steffen Noleppa from ‘HFFA Research’ has chosen farms with a similar soil-quality index on the farm level, which is an appropriate and established method to compare organic and “comparable conventional farms”. A similar method is used by the Thünen Institute for economic comparisons of organic and conventional farms.

Therefore, this database can provide empirical results based on a broad data-set. The message of Noleppa however is not brand-new, we can observe the same long-term trend since many years. I have used the same data-set to do exactly the same type of comparison as in the following graph published in one of my post on efficiency and productivity of organic farms, but mentioning the short-comings of this type of data. If we compare this data-source with e.g. field experiment, there a number drawbacks of book-keeping data:

  • Errors in yield-data: The main purpose of bookkeeping data in Germany is the tax-declaration. Yields are recorded not in the obligatory, but in the voluntary part of the bookkeeping. According my experience with bookkeeping data, we find more error-values in the voluntary than in the obligatory part. But besides typos and incomplete records, I am not 100% sure, how internal use of grain is treated in this part of the bookkeeping. This should be recorded, but this is not easy, since the internal use of fodder-grain might not be measured precisely. I assume that those problems are being corrected in the before mentioning the data. Thünen Institute has a long experience with this type of data, however the description of methods and database in the study is quite short without any background.
  • Use of grain is unclear. A huge part of the grains in organic farming are used as fodder-grain. Farms keeping animals are producing their own feedstuff, therefore, we might observe a higher rate of fodder-grains as in conventional farming. There are some indication according Agrarmarkt Info GmbH, that about 65% of all organic grains produced in Germany are used as feedstuff. However, this is a rough estimate and comparisons to conventional farming (with 62%) might be misleading, since there are no restrictions for conventional animal farms to by external feedstuff. This system-difference might also cause part of the yield-gap. And again: No mention in the study of Noleppa.
  • Locations of organic farms: In Germany many organic farms work in regions with low yield potential. The comparison of Noleppa takes this into account on the farm level, however, the yield potential of the single field is not known and therefore not used in the study (in contrast to the press-release).

So in a nutshell, we don’t know to what extent bookkeeping data is reliable for this type of study. Therefore, field experiments will bring more precise results than bookkeeping data, however bookkeeping data have the broader empirical basis and reflect the sectoral results ‘as the are’. We should discuss findings from these data, but I would argue, that it is highly problematic to estimate something like the ‘world-production’ based on German bookkeeping data. For projection, field trials or practical yield assessments might be more appropriate.

There has been the first meta-study of Badgley et al. (2007) “Organic agriculture and the global food supply”, who found a yield ratio in grain production of 69 per cent (Badgley et al. 2007). They also compared industrialized and developing countries and found on average even higher yields. The study of Bagdley et al. (2007) has been criticised, since according Avery (“Organic abundance’ report: fatally flawed”), they used a too broad und partly unclear definition of organic farming (Avery 2007). However, they started a complete string of literature. Some years later, de Ponti et al. (2014) found organic yields in cereal production to be on average 79 per cent of the conventional yield-level, but huge range from 40 to 145 per cent (de Ponti et al. 2012). Seufert et al. (2012, Comparing Yields of organic and conventional Agriculture) found a yield ratio of 75 per cent, Ponisio et al. (2014) found (using a more strict method of study-selection) a yield ratio of 80.8 per cent. They excluded ‘subsistence yields of unimproved agriculture’ (Ponisio et al. 2014). This paragraph shows, that most studies find a yield level between 70 and 80 per cent of the conventional level, but with a wide range of results (as it is shown in figure 3 from the study of de Ponti et al. 2014).

Figure 3: Organic yields relative to conventional yields (Source: de Ponti et al. 2014: p.5)

Figure 3: Organic yields relative to conventional yields (Source: de Ponti et al. 2014: p.5)

Steffen Noleppa is mentioning some of the studies, however without a fair discussion of the results.

There is a second part of the study, which is even more critical. Noleppa asks, whether conventional farming would provide more biodiversity in relation to their high yield levels by comparing the relation of biodiversity and yields. The main result of Noleppa is, that based on the yield differences, conventional farming is loosing biodiversity by 86 per cent and organic farming by 67 per cent.

I see the main problem again in the selectivity of literature. And at this point, the study losses it’s scientific relevance: There is a long chapter discussing literature on biodiversity, without taking into account a number of important studies, published in international journals. Just to mention one recent study from Schneider et al. (2014) published in Nature in June 2014, also coming to significant advantage for organic farming systems. I won’t list all the other studies from the past yeards, which find a substantially higher biodiversity on organic farms. There is a rich stream literature, which is simply ignored by Noleppa. The most prominent point in Noleppas study is, that there are also cases, where conventional farms have the same or even better levels of biodiversity. So the exemption is emphasized and the regular case hardly mentioned, that organic farming has a higher level of biodiversity. We also learn things like ‘the one biodiversity does not exist from an objective point of view and its measurement is more or less a subjective matter’. So obviously Noleppa concludes, that we might be able to change (or even manipulate?) the level of biodiversity by simply changing the settings of a trial. This is a strong statement against ecology research in general, which is mostly published in peer reviewed scientific journals.

The same holds for Noleppas selection of biodiversity-studies: Many of the single figures are difficult to verify according the literature, which is the case for the study Armentgot et al. (2011). I still wonder how Noleppa calculated the biodiversity-loss values, none of the values used by Noleppa are directly mentioned in the study. Another study from Reidsma et al. (2006) is cited with positive figures for conventional farming. However, this study is a theoretical modelling-study, which does not use empirical data. The figures for biodiversity loss were assigned to the farming system before modelling in order to see, what happens if those figures are assigned. So presenting this study as empirical is strongly misleading. The source of Keeling and Lillywhite (2012) is a poster from University of Warwick. This is not an argument against scientific posters and the results look credible and well documented. However, the figures cited by the study of Noleppa do not appear at all on the poster, for whatever reason. The study of Lillywhite et al. 2012 is much better documented, their approach also ‘assigns’ biodiversity values to the farm-types and they use exactly the same approach as Reidsma et al (2006) and Alkemade et al. (2009). And again, no empirical but rather theoretical data are presented with a totally different purpose. So Noleppa basically replicates an approach four times, which is not appropriate to compare biodiversity loss since it is not based on empirical data.

And again, there is a part of the literature missing in Noleppas study. There are some studies, which are simultaneously analysing ecological and economic data, like Eltun et al. (2002), Poudel et al. (2002) or Kantelhardt et al. (2009), to name just a few examples, where modelling has been done on real-world data, and not on theoretical data. And in two of these three studies, organic farming has advantages against the other systems. And to avoid misunderstandings: The theoretical modelling is useful, however, we should not confuse models used in Reidsma et al. (2006), with studies using empirical data.

Another approach is to relate yields to e.g. energy input: The FIBL in the 21-year DOK-trial (published 2002 in Science) found the organic yield 20% lower than the conventional farm-system. The energy-input were lowered by 34 to 53% and pesticide input by 97%. So from an efficiency-point of view, the assessment of Mäder et al. (2002) based on 21 years come to the opposite result and these are results published in science, not by the German Agricultural Industry Association. Aldanondo-Ochoa et al. (2014) is using empirical data to model productivity by using economic and environmental data (nitrogen and pesticide). According their results, the environmental productivity is 8 per cent higher for organic farms than for conventional farms (Aldanondo-Ochoa et al. 2014). Again, there are two studies using empirical data with a completely different result.

So to conclude, unfortunately the results from the test-farm network are not used to start a constructive debate, but rather constructing arguments against the organic system itself and stimulating an attack against organic farming in Germany and the Green Party, who is backing the support of organic farming. Usually, this type of debate comes at the costs of practical organic farmers! This also reflects the general policy of the „Agriculture Industry Association“, who seem to care more about the input-industries (fertilizer, plant protection…) than about practical farmer. Even the German Farmers Association (Deutscher Bauernverband e.V.) has released a press-release in December 2015 how to support organic farm, which also recognized the services of this farming system.

Yes, we need to take the yield results serious, in order to improve yield-levels in organic farming. Besides this, it would be helpful to figure out, to what extent are the bookkeeping data reliable. And finally, we cannot ignore the environmental benefits of organic farming, which are given in the literature. And this is my main criticism on Steffen Noleppa: His selection of studies leads to a distorted view on the organic farming system. There are economic and ecological benefits to the systems, which might even provide chances for developing countries and which are simply ignored by Noleppas study. A recent paper with the title “Organic Agriculture in the Twenty-First Century”, recently published in Nature Plants on February 03, 2016 by John Renagold and Jonathan Wachter is giving a good overview on the literature and their conclusions are rather positive.

Three conclusions from my part on the issue of yields and biodiversity:

  • We should take the yield-gap serious. The data from Noleppa are there and this is still the constructive part of his study reminding us on this huge difference. However his explanations are not convincing and he is (at least in my view) not doing a fair system-comparison. But maybe the remarks are a starting point to better analyse the data, also giving arguments to support-programs for the specific breeding of organic varieties.
  • For the world food situation, there is the necessity to consider high-yield strategies for the developing countries. At the moment, the main problem is distribution of food, but that might be different in 20-30 years from now and organic farming will no solve the quantity problem. I am not claiming to be an expert on these issues, but the study of Noleppa is not helping on that issue, since his study is not applied to the specific challenges of developing countries, but rather simply forecasting from the specific German data to the world food-situation, which is (again in my view) not a good idea.
  • But there are also ecological challenges, just take the topic of land-degradation documented in a publication of IFPRI. For such farm- and ecosystems in developing countries we need to gain more insights, how organic farming works in developing countries. As Renagold concluded in 2012 in his Nature-article “Comparing Apples and Oranges”: “No one of these systems alone will produce enough food to feed the planet. Rather, a blend of farming approaches is needed for future global food and ecosystem security. Organic farming provides multiple sustainability benefits, and Seufert and colleagues‘ findings indicate that it can play a part in feeding the world. Yet just under 1% of agricultural land worldwide is now managed organically. This percentage should be much larger in the future.

As always, questions and comments are of course welcomed!

Ökolandbau 2015: Weiterhin konstantes Wachstum der Biobranche

10. Februar 2016

Der Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft (BÖLW) hat wie jedes Jahr zur Biofach die neuesten Zahlen zur ökologischen Landwirtschaft in der Broschüre „Zahlen Daten Fakten – Die Biobranche 2016“ veröffentlicht und in einer Pressemitteilung zur Biofach 2016 diese Zahlen besprochen. Nach diesen Zahlen wächst der Umsatz mit ökologisch erzeugten Lebensmitteln weiter stärker als die ökologisch bewirtschaftete Fläche und die Zahl der Ökobetriebe.

Die Marktdaten in dieser Broschüre werden üblicherweise vom „Arbeitskreis Biomarkt“ und der Agrarmarkt Information mbH in Bonn beigesteuert: Beim Umsatz liegen wir inzwischen bei 8,62 Mrd. EUR, was ein Zuwachs von 2014 auf 2015 von ca. 11% bedeutet. Der Lebensmitteleinzelhandel (Supermärkte/Discounter) halten weiterhin einen Anteil von 55% an diesem Umsatz, Naturkostläden haben einen Anteil von 31%, während der Anteil der sonstigen Vermarktungswege bei 13% liegt. Der Zuwachs fand vor allem im Lebensmitteleinzelhandel statt, der in den Jahren zuvor weniger gewachsen war. Die Entwicklung ist eher von größeren abgesetzten Mengen als von der Preisentwicklung geprägt, da für viele Produkte die Preise nur geringfügig stiegen. Mehr details zur Entwicklung des Biomarktes finden sich in einer Pressemitteilung der AMI vom 10.02.2016.


Fläche und Betriebe nehmen wieder etwas stärker zu als in den Jahren zuvor, allerdings weiterhin nur einstellig. Im Moment wirtschaften 24.343 ökologische Betriebe (+4% gegenüber 2014) auf 1.047.633 Hektaren (+2,9%). Insgesamt wirtschaften in Deutschland 8,7% der Betriebe ökologisch und 6,4% der Flächen wird ökologisch bewirtschaftet.

Zuwachslücke 2015.png

Das geringer Wachstum der letzten zwei Jahre 2013 u.2014 kann mit den unklaren Förderbedingungen erklärt werden: Zu Beginn einer neuen EU-Förderperiode müssen die Programme der ländlichen Entwicklung von den Bundesländern bei der EU-Kommission neu beantragt werden. Dies geht üblicherweise auch mit neuen Fördersätzen einher. Der Genehmigungsprozess dieser Programme durch die EU-Kommission dauerte bis in der Jahr 2015, allerdings war bereits 2014 klar, welche Fördersätze für den Ökolandbau in der neuen Förderperiode angewandt werden. Wenn man bedenkt, dass WJ 2015 das erste Wirtschaftsjahr war, in dem die Rahmenbedingungen für die neue Periode der Ökoförderung 2014-2020 fest standen, so erscheint ein Flächenzuwachs von 3% und ein Betriebszuwachs von 4% eher moderat. Allerdings ist EU Bioverordnung immer noch im Entscheidungsprozess und mir ist nicht ganz klar, ob die Neufassung evtl. auch bei potenziellen Umstellern Unsicherheit erzeugt. Insofern wird es interessant sein, die weitere Entwicklung zu verfolgen.

Ein höheres Marktwachstum kann auch zu steigenden Importen auf dem Biomarkt führen. Die Schlussfolgerung von Anton Hofreiter (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) 2015 auf der Biofach (Interessanterweise ist Hofreiters PM von der Seite der BT-Fraktion verschwunden…), dass mangelnde deutsche Produktion und Bio-Importe für den Ökolandbau insgesamt ein Problem seien, kann ich weiterhin nicht ganz teilen: Wenn Anbieter im Ausland günstig anbieten können, so ist dies zunächst für Verbraucher vorteilhaft. Auch gesamtwirtschaftlich ist dies vorteilhaft, weil z.B. in Rumänien oder im Baltikum Flächen ökologisch bewirtschaftet werden. Landwirte in Deutschland stellen nicht blind um, sondern überlegen zu Recht, ob Ökolandbau eine wirtschaftliche Alternative ist, denn eine Umstellung erfordert für einen Betrieb große Anstrengungen. Kritik an Bio-Importen verbietet sich aus meiner Sicht auch, weil die Bio-Branche auch gleichzeitig exportiert. Es dürfte schwer vermittelbar sein, warum die Produktion von Rohstoffen in Deutschland erfolgen soll, die hier hergestellten Lebensmittel aber munter gehandelt werden dürfen. Ich bin gespannt, ob und wie Hofreiter sich dieses Jahr zur Entwicklung der Biobranche äußert.

Auch die ersten Zahlen zur Gewinnsituation von Ökobetrieben im Wirtschaftsjahr 2014/15 wurden zur Biofach von Dr. Jürn Sanders vom Thünen-Institut für Betriebswirtschaft vorgelegt:

Gewinnvergleich bis 2014.pngAuch hier zeigt sich gegenüber den Vorjahren eine Umkehrung des Trends: Während in den Wirtschaftsjahren 2012/13 und 2013/14 die Gewinne in der konventionellen Landwirtschaft die Gewinne von Biobetrieben im Durchschnitt überstiegen, gab es bei den konventionellen Betrieben im WJ 2014/15 einen drastischen Gewinneinbruch (so Pressemitteilung des BMEL 25.01.2016), der auf EU-Ebene bereits von Eurostat am 15.12.2015 in einer Pressmitteilung gemeldet wurde. Die Entwicklung bei den Biobetrieben war dagegen positiv, sie konnten ihren Gewinn in einem schwierigen Umfeld wie in den Vorjahren leicht (+2%) steigern. Die mit Biobetrieben vergleichbaren konventionellen Betriebe hatte einen Gewinneinbruch von -13%, nimmt man den gesamten konventionellen Sektor, so fällt der Gewinneinbruch mit -25% noch stärker aus.

Diese für den Ökolandbau eher freundliche Entwicklung hängt sehr eng mit der Entwicklung landwirtschaftlicher Preise zusammen. 2015 war festzustellen, dass die konventionellen Preise v.a. für Fleisch und Milch stark einbrachen. Auch die Preise für konventionelles Getreide fielen in der zweiten Jahreshälfte 2015 leicht, was mit den international gut ausgefallenen Ernten zusammenhing.


Diese Preisentwicklung wurde im Ökolandbau so nicht nachvollzogen, was zunächst ein wenig überraschen mag, sind doch Ökopreise (so unsere Analyse in Agricultural Economics) wie auch Preise für konventionelle Ware auch von internationalen Entwicklungen abhängen. Bei Getreide fiel die Ernte 2015 mengenmäßig geringer aus, allerdings bei gleichzeitig hohen Qualitäten. Diese Entwicklung war gegenüber dem konventionellen Getreidemarkt gegenläufig, was dazu führte, dass die Preisrelation zwischen ökologischem und ökologischem Backweizen von ca. 150% auf 250-270% anstieg. Gleiches lässt sich auf dem Milchmarkt beobachten:


Im Milchbereich zeigt sich die Preisdifferenz noch deutlicher als bei Getreide: Hier blieb der Milchpreis im Bundesdurchschnitt konstant oberhalb 47 ct/kg und stieg gegen Ende des Jahres sogar etwas an, während der Preis für konventionelle Milch unter 30 ct/kg fiel. Dies spiegelt sich auch in der Gewinnsituation der Milchbetriebe wieder: So war der Gewinnabstand 2015 bei den Milchvieh-Betrieben mit +33% am deutlichsten, während der Gewinnabstand bei den anderen Betriebstypen moderater ausfiel.

Auch in der medialen Wahrnehmung zeigt sich 2015 ein anders Bild als in den Jahren davor. Während diverse Tageszeitungen 2013 und 2014 über die angebliche Krise am Biomarkt berichteten (eine These, die durch Zahlen eigentlich kaum zu belegen ist…), waren die Berichte z.B. des Spiegel am 17.01.2016 zur Grünen Woche über die gestiegenen Flächenzahlen und Gewinne ausnahmsweise mal recht positiv. Insgesamt scheint die Entwicklung im Ökolandbau sehr viel konstanter, was zunächst aus betriebswirtschaftlicher Sicht positiv zu bewerten ist. Für die Betriebe mag es sehr viel günstiger sein, in drei Jahren moderate Gewinnanstiege zu verzeichnen, als (wie in der konventionellen Landwirtschaft) in zwei Jahren starke Ansteige zu erleben um im dritten Jahr einen Einbruch verkraften zu müssen. Interessant erscheint auch die Tatsache, dass der Anteil der Betriebe, die nach EU-Bioverordnung zertifiziert werden, leicht rückläufig ist: Seit 2010 ist der Anteil dieser Betriebe von 47,7% auf 46,6% gesunken. Verbandsbetriebe2015.jpg

Vielleicht bestätigen die Daten die These von Dr. Ika Darnhofer (Universität für Bodenkultur Wien), dass der Ökobetriebe fehlerfreundlicher (resilienter) sind als konventionelle Betriebe. Die These ist vielleicht gewagt, aber so könnte man die Preis- und Gewinnentwicklungen der letzten drei Jahre lesen.

Offen ist 2016 weiterhin das Thema der EU-Ökoverordnung: Hier muss sich noch zeigen, welche Lösungen auf EU-Ebene gefunden werden und wie sich dies auf die Entwicklung der Branche auswirkt. In einem Briefing von MdEP Martin Häusling (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) vom Oktober 2015 kann man den aktuellen Stand der Verhandlungen nachlesen: Im Moment finden die Verhandlungen zwischen Parlament und Rat statt (Trilog), allerdings gibt es noch keine Ergebnisse.

Ein weiteres Thema für die Biobranche für die nächsten Jahre könnten die schleppenden Ertragszuwächse im Ökolandbau sein. Hier hatte Dr. Steffen Noleppa auf der Grünen Woche für den Industrieverband Agrar eine (methodisch umstrittene) Studie vorgelegt, deren Ertragsdaten einem jedoch Kopfzerbrechen bereiten kann. Der BÖLW hatte hierzu zwar kritisch Stellung bezogen, allerdings sollte man sich die Ergebnisse genau ansehen. (Hierzu demnächst mehr auf diesem Blog: ). Ich könnte mir vorstellen, dass das Thema Saatgut eine immer größere Bedeutung im Ökolandbau erlangen könnten (sofern es nicht schon wichtig ist…). Der BÖLW hatte schon vor einigen Jahren zu Recht gefragt, ob der Ökolandbau eine eigene Züchtung braucht: Wer züchtet neue Sorten für den Ökolandbau, die an das System angepasst sind und Erträge steigern und die gleichzeitig auf fragwürdige Züchtungsmethdoen (CMS-Hybriden) verzichtet? Hier gibt es weiterhin einiges zu tun.

Und sonst: Ergänzungen und Kommentare gerne jederzeit!

Public Debate on Perspectives of sustainable/organic farming for developing countries

25. Januar 2016

Organic farming is a growing sector not only in Europe in North America, but also on the global level. The system of organic agriculture has the objective to protect the environment and achieve a sustainable farming system. It has been shown in many study-cases, that organic farming often provides a number of advantages for the environment like lower levels of nutrient runoff and a higher level of biodiversity. However, in practise we can also observe, that organic farming often comes with lower yields. At the same times, higher prices are necessary to make the system pay economically viable.

Organic berry production in the region Maulé, Central Chile

Organic berry production in the region Maulé, Central Chile

We want to discuss, whether organic farming is a useful instrument to develop agriculture in developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, South-East Asia and Latin America. Most of farmers in developing countries are small subsistence and semi-subsistence farmers, therefore organic farming might provide interesting examples to help farmers in those countries to improve their income. Besides this, we can observe that agriculture in ecological sensitive areas can be a challenge. On the other hand, according the report “how to feed the world 2050” from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) we need to increase the food-production by 70% until the year 2050. The share of people living in extreme poverty nowadays is already at 1.4 Billion persons, the number of persons who are suffering from chronic starvation is estimated by FAO at 870 Million people. Therefore we also need farming systems with constantly high yields in order to supply international markets and contribute on the world food situation. In that respect, organic farming has been sometimes criticized due to it’s lower yields. It might also be an interesting debate, if we can combine organic farming with other strategies and approaches to optimize farming systems in developing countries and at the same time improve yields. But poverty, starvation, small farming and farming in ecologically sensitive areas might also be problems, which are interlinked. We will critically investigate and discuss the role of organic farming for agriculture in developing countries.

With us are four experts in the area:

Dr. Marie von Meyer-Höfer has done her dissertation at University Göttingen on “Product Differentiation and Consumer Preferences for Sustainable Food“. Her main research interests are food consumer research, sustainable and organic food consumption in industrialized and emerging countries, sustainability labelling and animal welfare.

Viola von Cramon-Taubadel studied agricultural economics at the University in Bonn. She is politician for the Green Party in Germany and has been member of the Bundestag 2009-2013. She is working on foreign policy and human rights in Eastern Europe (mainly Ukraine), but she also brings a wide expertise on agriculture in Eastern Europe.

Prof. Dr. Matin Qaim has done his PhD in Kiel and Bonn. Since 2007 he is professor for “International Food Economics and Rural Development” at the University Göttingen. Since then he has supervised many PhD-students, he has an outstanding publication record, he has won many scientific awards and he has a wide expertise in developing countries. His main research interests are the economics of biotechnology, issues of food security and sustainable development, nutrition and health economics, agricultural markets of high value products in developing countries and rural development.

Eberhard Prunzel-Ulrich has studied agriculture at Göttingen University. In 1981 he and his wife founded his small farm in Landolfshausen (Käsehof Landolfshausen) some km from Göttingen, which since 1987 he runs under the Bioland-certification. They mainly produce grain, and milk & cheese from sheep and goats, which they sell on the weekly market in Göttingen. Since many years, they are also in involved in education-projects like farm-courses for children or guided tours and open-farm events. Eberhard Prunzel-Ulrich is also involved in activities of the small-farmers association in Lower Saxony.

Jan Fragel: studied law and education science in Göttingen. He is a freelancer journalist working for print media and radio, who also brings many experiences on agricultural and development topics especially in developing countries like e.g. Nicaragua or Thailand.

Time: Do, 04.02.2016, 19:15 Uhr

Location: Tagungszentrum in der Sternwarte, Geismar Landstr. 11, 37083 Göttingen

The discussion is part of the accompanying program of the DAAD-Biofach Winterschool, which takes place in Göttingen and Nuremberg between February 2-14, 2016 and which is organized by the Section for Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture and Forestry (SeTSAF) (Antje Henkelmann) of the Georg-August University Göttingen and which is supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

So hope to see you there!

CAP direct payments post 2020: German positions

23. Dezember 2015

What are the different political parties‘ positions – in Germany and at EU level – likely to be regarding CAP reform? (written by Sebastian Lakner, edited by Oliver Moore from Arc2020, first posted on the website

The debate on the next reform on the common agricultural policy (CAP) 2020 in Germany is taking shape. Political actors are announcing their positions for the next reform 2020. In this post I will describe how the political actors in Germany are positioning themselves on direct payments beyond 2020. Is there momentum for change? Is support for more targeted programs and more efficient use of taxpayers money in agricultural policy emerging?

Quelle: CAP direct payments post 2020: German positions