Dairy and grocer launch climate protection support programme

With the joint project “Climate Farmers”, the Berchtesgadener Land Dairy and PENNY support farmers of the cooperative dairy in optimising their farms in terms of energy. The aim of the project is to make an essential contribution to climate protection as well as to the preservation of family-run farms in the Alpine region and thus also to protect the special natural and cultural landscape between Watzmann and Zugspitze.

The programme subsidises investments in energy-saving technology and the use of renewable energy sources.

Both partners pay in

From 25 October 2021, the grocer will waive part of the trade margin on the sale of all “Berchtesgadener Land” milk products and the dairy will double the amount. In this way, consumers can also contribute to climate protection with their purchase decision.

“Sustainability is a central guiding value of our dairy. Supporting our 1,800 farmers in the Alpine region in all measures that serve to protect the environment has always been our goal. As a cooperative, we are particularly pleased to have developed a support programme with our partner PENNY in which everyone – trade, companies, agriculture and consumers – pull together. Climate protection can only be achieved together,” emphasises Bernhard Pointner, Managing Director of the Berchtesgadener Land Dairy.

In 2030, PENNY wants to emit 30 per cent less greenhouse gases than at present, and in the same year 15 per cent less climate gases are to be produced in the supply chains of the national private labels. “But we can only achieve this in cooperation with the producers and farmers,” says Stefan Magel, REWE Group’s Divisional Board Member for Retail Germany and COO of PENNY.

Counselling as a central component

The Future Farmer project starts with an intensive consultation for all participating farmers. They are informed directly about the funding programme in the form of an online information event. This is followed in November by the workshop “Energy Efficiency in Agriculture”, which is part of the “Knowledge Workshop” of the Berchtesgadener Land Dairy. These courses have been held regularly at the cooperative enterprise since 1999. More than 5,000 farmers have already taken part and received further training in a wide variety of agricultural areas. In the energy efficiency workshop, they are shown how to optimise their farms in terms of energy – from milk cooling to building technology.

Lighthouse project “Huabahof”

From January 2022, practical tours with visits to model farms are planned. One of the model farms is Franz-Xaver Demmel’s Hubahof in Königsdorf. On his farm, the organic farmer and engineer shows how it is possible to keep dairy cows as CO2-neutral as possible: from the photovoltaic system to an energy management system that makes it possible to use the self-produced electricity for the electrical machines and equipment on the farm and in the barn in a time-optimised manner.

E-mobility with a difference: fodder mixing vehicle powered by green electricity at the “Huabahof”

Electric mobility plays an important role in this, albeit in the case of the Demmel family with different types of vehicles. In addition to the electric car, a fodder mixer and two farm loaders also run on self-produced green electricity.

Farmer Franz-Xaver Demmel shows his energy storage system

Individual energy checks

This is followed by an analysis of the respective energy situation at the businesses participating in the funding programme. The energy guzzlers are identified and optimisation possibilities are shown. The farmers then receive suggestions for individually adapted measures that can save energy, increase efficiency and also include the possible use or expansion of renewable energies. After working out the suggestions into their own concept, the participants can submit it to the Berchtesgadener Land dairy.

It all depends on the package of measures

An expert committee evaluates the concepts according to a defined catalogue of criteria. The committee is made up of representatives from PENNY, the Berchtesgadener Land Dairy, the scientific community and Franz-Xaver Demmel as an energy consultant. The strongest measure concepts are selected, which then each receive 50 per cent funding – up to a maximum of 10,000 euros – regardless of the size of the company. The right mix of measures is crucial: at least two measures must be implemented. If possible, these should come from two of the five different energy areas: energy saving, energy efficiency, energy recording, energy production and use of own electricity.

Recording the energy status provides important optimisation information

The subsidy is paid out immediately. After completion of the investment, the farmers submit the invoice for documentation.

Klima schützen und familiengeführte Höfe bewahren

The joint project between the Berchtesgadener Land dairy and PENNY promotes investments in energy-saving machines and equipment such as pre-coolers in milk cooling plants, electrified agricultural machinery or more efficient pumps and fans.

The purchase of electric agricultural machinery and equipment is also eligible for support

So are renewable energy sources such as geothermal or photovoltaic systems and energy storage. With the “Future Builders” funding programme, farmers are making a valuable contribution to the energy transition and climate protection.

Text: Peter Grett
Pictures: Berchtesgadener Land Dairy

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