Berchtesgadener to pay farmers in Germany

German dairy Berchtesgadener Land is supporting its farmers with emergency aid of €1,000 per farm, as agriculture is affected by the coronavirus pandemic. “As a co-operative we want to support our farmers quickly and unbureaucratically in this very difficult test for them, as for everyone,” says Bernhard Pointner, managing director of the Berchtesgadener Land dairy.

Therefore, the management and supervisory boards have decided to postpone part of the investments due for 2020 in order to be able to pay all farmers the emergency aid.

While the income from milk production remains constant for the farmers of the dairy, other important sources of income for the farmers between Watzmann and Zugspitze have partly completely disappeared or are strongly under price pressure. Farm holidays, an important source of income for many farms in the mountain and alpine region, are completely on hold due to the current exit restrictions.

Over 25% of the small farms now run as part-time businesses. The situation is particularly critical for them, since their work outside of agriculture is often the main source of income.

With immediate aid, the dairy can support its farmers with the current costs for field, forest and pasture work that is now due in spring. It was particularly important for the dairy to pay the support not according to the individual delivery quantity of milk, but to support all 1,700 farmers with the same amount. In this way, the co-operative could be more supportive of small businesses.

An important goal of the Berchtesgadener Land dairy has been to slow down structural change in agriculture for years. Because one thing must not be forgotten, says Pointner. “Every farmer, who stops now, is irretrievably lost. This would dramatically change our natural and cultural landscape in the Alpine region, reduce biodiversity, cover the mountain slopes with bushes and make the region lose its charm. Last but not least, this would have an impact on future tourism in the region. There is also a time after the coronavirus and we have to set the course for that now.”

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