Friday, September 30, 2011

Day 6 - Friday, September 30

Today we started at the LBV in Potsdam, which is a state organization of the DVB. Similar to CFB's relationship with AFBF. The state of Brandenburg is the same size as Maryland with 14 counties. They grow wheat, rye, potatoes, sugar beets and are unique in having many privatized collective farms following reunification.  While the average farm size is oly 250 hectacres, 60% of the farms are more than 1,000 hectacres.  The LBV have 12 state staff.  They work to control state regulations, provide information on various commodities and provide the association administration.
We then went to the RBB, a semen collection and breeding facility.  Breeding livestock is heavily regulated by law in Germany.  As a producer you must have a permit in order to breed livestock. We were given a tour of the facility. The staff is particularly proud of a holstein dairy bull name Lonar that has sold more than 680,000 units of semen world wide, over 100,000 in the U.S.
The RBB also has a growing facility where it will purchase, or raise for a commission, breeding beef and dairy cattle. They have auctions throughout the year where breeders and farmers come to purchase some of the top livestock in Germany.
We then toured a research farm that is unique to the Brandenburg state.  Because of reunification and the unique nature of the area, the privatly owned farm conducts government funded research and education of dairy, beef, pigs and sheep. 
Prior to reunification it was a government collective farm. The funding is from ag profit (70%) and government contracts (20%) to fund the research and education.  The farm educates veterinary and agriculture students, has 1040 hectacres in 23 villages, with a minimal average field size of 7.9 hectacres. The main part of the farm is livestock production and biogas research.  They have one of the first and most widely used biogas research plant.  They farm is also doing a vast amount of research on environmental impacts and feeding research for environmental emissions. 
We ended the evening with some traditional kaffee und kuchen, or coffee and cake at a village on our way back to the hotel.

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