On the occasion of the farmers’ association’s round anniversary, the Chancellor thanks the industry for its achievements. Politicians also want to support them on the path to greater animal and environmental protection. But there is trouble about the conditions.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) recognized the important work of farmers in Germany and called for a broadly supported change towards more sustainability.
This is not something that can be dumped on farmers, he said on Thursday at a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the German Farmers’ Association in Berlin. “But it is a task for society as a whole.” Ecological sustainability and economic viability are not contradictions.
Protests against government course
On the sidelines of the Agriculture Ministers’ Conference in Kiel, several hundred farmers also rolled up with tractors to protest against the government’s course.
Scholz said that agriculture must deal with the climate crisis and the decline in biodiversity – and at the same time meet consumers’ increased expectations for environmental and animal protection. “And agriculture also means that it is a business model that has to work.” It is complicated to cope with it. And there are no easy solutions. But he is convinced that farmers, politicians and consumers can do it together. The government also supports testing new options – for example pragmatic ways to reduce emissions in animal husbandry.
A change towards better husbandry standards in the stables should now begin. And without the farms having to bear the additional costs alone. However, there is still a dispute about the conditions and funding for this. As a boost, the coalition has initially reserved one billion euros until 2026, but has been struggling for months for more permanent financing. A mandatory government logo will soon be required to show the type of farming for meat in supermarkets – this is already a done deal for pork. Supermarket chains have been labeled for a long time.
Özdemir: End farm deaths
Federal Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir called for cross-party cooperation at the conference with the federal states in order to strengthen animal husbandry, which is deeply in crisis. “By further developing animal husbandry, we want to end the death of farms and ensure that “Made in Germany” continues to stand for good meat from Germany in the future,” the Green politician told the German Press Agency. “This is a feat of strength that we can only succeed together.” The companies wanted planning security and needed financial support. The following applies: “We want to keep fewer animals better. In doing so, we are also responding to the social changes where less and less meat is being eaten – with a view to animal welfare, the climate and the environment.”
The chairman of the state agriculture ministers, Werner Schwarz (CDU) from Schlewsig-Holstein, told the “Tagesspiegel” (Thursday) that the stable billion announced by the federal government would not be enough. Minister Till Backhaus (SPD) from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania complained in Kiel that it was not clear where the trip was going. The farmers have long understood that they have to do more for animal welfare, biodiversity, climate protection, clean water. “But please, you have to factor that into the prices of the products. If that doesn’t happen, there will no longer be any agriculture in Germany in this form.”
Scholz: Contribution to food security
At the ceremony in Berlin, farmers’ president Joachim Rukwied said that agriculture was a guarantee of stability in society. It’s about food security in combination with climate, environmental and animal protection – and about the fact that this also shows a future for next generations. The German Farmers’ Association was founded in 1948 and, according to its own information, still represents around 90 percent of the almost 250,000 agricultural businesses.
Scholz also emphasized with a view to the tense agricultural markets as a result of the war in Ukraine: “In recent months, many citizens have become aware of how great the strategic importance of domestic agriculture is for our country.” German farmers have earned every respect for their achievements over the past decades. “They are the ones who provide us with high-quality, healthy and affordable food every day. And at the same time, they make a very important contribution to global food security.”