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ART’s Research Forum on Organic Agriculture builds bridges between science and agricultural practice, allowing farm managers and researchers to access the very information that is of benefit to them both.
Organic farming forgoes the use of non natural fertilisers and pesticides, and largely dispenses with concentrated feed as well. In order for it to be profitable despite this, however, farm managers must be intimately acquainted with natural processes and make wise use of them. It is the task of science to study these processes and develop them further for use on farms. ART set up the Research Forum on Organic Agriculture with the aim of enabling researchers to gear their work to practice.
The Forum is an association of organic farmers, consultants and researchers. Its twenty-or-so members are drawn inter alia from the Soil Protection Agency of the Canton of Bern, from Bio Suisse, and from various organic associations. Together they build a network stretching far beyond the Forum. Paul Steffen, Director of ART, is the chairman of the Forum, and the Coordinator is Fredi Strasser.
In 2006, the Forum identified the most important problems and challenges facing organic farming. Chief among these are the improvement of soil fertility, plant nutrition and weed control, the enhancement of profitability and animal welfare, and the optimisation of life cycle assessment. Afterwards, each member of the Forum adopted a topic and developed outline proposals with the relevant ART research group. In this way, the needs of farmers have been incorporated into the definitive projects of the Work Programme 2008-2011.
Current research results are presented at events on a regular basis.
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