Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day 15 - Sunday, October 9

We started the day visiting the office of the Farmer's and Winegrowers Association of Rhineland-Nassau, they moved to a new building about eight years ago when a hospital wanted to expand into their old building.  Dr. Josef Derstappen and Herbert Netter showed us the buidling and gave us a presentation on the structure of the organization.  The BWV has 12,000 active members and 6000 former farmer members; the wine growers make-up one third of the association with the traditional farmers making up the balance. The state organization offers many services as part of membership, from a weekly magazine, to tax and accounting services, to environmental assistance.  The area borders the four countries of Luxembourg, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, with the headquarters in Koblenz.  They have 12 regional offices, with 10 directors and 180 assistants.  In 1970 there were 99,000 farmers in the area, today the state has 25,000 farms; 41% consider farming as their main income.  This region is best known for its wineries which number nearly 11,000, in the 1970s there as nearly three times as many.  They have a base dues, plus an added fee per hectacre, their additional serivces are also offered for a fee, which most farmers find reasonable and beneficial.  Similar to CFB they have programs for administration, PR, communications, economics, social affairs, social (labor, civil law,) public (wine law, environmental law), tax and accounting as well as youth, women and educationprograms.
After that we went to the Federal Horticulture Show (BUGA).  The show is a stunnig bouquet of colors, shapes and horitcultural masterpieces.  We were impressed by the size of the show as well as the overwhelming attendance of visitors.  The show is taking place on three sites covering a total of 48 hectares at the Electoral Palace, the Blumenhof courtyard and Ehrenbreitstein fortress.  The Rhineland Farmer's and Winegrowers association also has sponsored several exhibits in the show, one showcasing the extensive number of crops that are used for renewable energy production. The show runs for approximately one more week and will see more than two million visitors. In the long-term the gardens that have been established will permanently enhance the appeal of Koblenz. 
We ended the evening with another delicious home-cooked meal at the home of Dr. Derstappen.  His wife and daughter graciously hosted us to a meal of pork, noodles, gratin potatoes and tomato and mozarella salad.  It was a delcectable night of food and wine and we are very grateful.

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