Development of extension strategies for sustainable grassland farming - Germany

In the mountain region of the Black Forest, farm families have kept cattle for generations. Even though the region challenges the farm families with altitudes up to 1000 m and extremely steep slopes, most of them still work their land and thus sustain the typical Black Forest landscape. However, these families are presently undergoing a fierce adaptation process due to changing socio-cultural and economic conditions. In order to support their development, the district office for agricultural administration (ALLB) in Donaueschingen in co-operation with PACTeam launched an extension project. The focus of the project is to develop extension strategies for the Black Forest high regions. Within a pilot area, a comprehensive situation assessment was performed. Based on this, extension groups were initiated and accompanied. Some of these groups worked on measures to make agricultural production in the region more location specific and thus more efficient, while others elaborated and implemented activities that can help to generate or augment non-agricultural family income (rural tourism, renewable energy provision).
At the same time the staff of the district office elaborated an office profile with suggestions for a structural reorganisation of the extension service. These suggestions will be an argument for negotiations as the hitherto sector-specific organised agricultural offices recently were are integrated into the district administration.