Talking to farmers instead of talking about them

By Christian BlockLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

All farmers want to contribute to clean drinking water. However, the prohibitions and restrictions in drinking water protection areas, the insufficient compensation and the increasing administrative burden are a strain on the farms. Instead of a "top down" approach, they want a dialogue at eye level. Three field reports.

Protecting the country’s existing drinking water reserves is becoming increasingly important in view of expected climatic changes. This was explained by the Lëtzebuerger Journal in an article published in mid-February. But what is the actual position of the agricultural sector, which plays a special role in drinking water protection? We asked three farmers.

“We have to show what we do”

When the new hall is put into operation, Serge Boonen will be a big step closer to his goal. In future, up to 380 cows will supply milk on the farm in Waldbillig. The transition from a mixed to a pure dairy farm with offspring and fodder cultivation will then be as good as complete. “Compared to other countries, Luxembourg is lagging far behind in terms of specialisation, ” says the agricultural engineer. Serge Boonen is certain that this trend will continue and that the classic mixed farm, which grows both milk and meat and rape or bread wheat on the side, is a discontinued model.

With a total farm area of 350 hectares, the merged farm, which has grown over the years, is in the category of the largest farms (100 hectares or more) in the country, according to Statec. It is also the only category that has grown over the past decades. Serge Boonen manages the farm’s day-to-day operations together with his father Louis and Marc Pinnel, who merged their farms in 1985, and employees (three and a half positions).

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