Excursion 1
Efficient crop cultivation within Switzerland’s small structures
Excursion 2Basel Countryside’s agriculture: Quality is priority
Excursion 3Special crops in the Seeland – stable but undergoing a change
Excursion 4Mountain farming and alpine pasture economy in the Diemtigtal
Excursion 5Organic farming Switzerland: Innovative and efficient
Excursion 6Value added in the Freiburg area of the Sense
Excursion 7Value added chains milk and meat Lucerne
Excursion 8Protection of resources in the Canton Solothurn

Excursion 1

Efficient crop cultivation within Switzerland’s small structures

Organised by: Agricultural Centre Liebegg, Gränichen (AG)

The profile of the region
The Freiamt with its flat valley floor was shaped by the glaciers of the Ice Age and the river Reuss. Towards the south the agriculturally important plain of the Reuss widens and opens more and more to be bordered by the Swiss Lower Alps. Ideal climatic conditions and soils advance the fodder and the crop cultivation.

Efficiency by the exchange of land and by  inter-plant use of machinery
Rafael Mueller’s farm is located in Wohlen on an altitude of 420 m above sea level. Wheat, grain maize, sugar beets and potatoes are grown on 32.5 ha. In addition 75 breeding sows including rearing, plus 450 laying hens are part of the farm. The exchange of land and the inter-plant use of machinery are characteristics of the farm.

Farm specialized in storing vegetable
Initially, Kaeppelis‘agricultural business was a mixed farm. Nowadays, crop farming with a focus on storing vegetables is practised on some 50 ha. The products are processed by “Kaeppeli Gastro Service” for industry, processors and retail traders (independent from Kaeppelis‘business itself).

Melioration of the Reuss valley
The remediation of the Reuss valley is an integral improvement whereat the protection of the nature and the landscape is highly taken into consideration. The conservation of the character of the landscape itself as well as the interests of the agriculture and of the landscape planning regarding a developing region were the main focus during the realization.

Unique energy producer
The Recycling Energy Inc. in Nesselnbach exemplifies recycling. The fermentation plant produces biodiesel, gas, heat, power and natural fertiliser out of substrates like green waste, food wastes, pig manure and frying oil. The plant belongs to the biggest of her type in Switzerland. A green electricity filling station makes the company unique.

Excursion 2

Basel Countryside’s agriculture: Quality is priority

Organised by: Agricultural Centre Ebenrain, Sissach (BL)

The profile of the region
The landscape of Basel Countryside becomes more rural and hillier the longer one drives southwards. The plains and hillsides of the Table Jura are situated between 500 and 700 m above sea level. The hilly territory of the High Chain Jura (up to 1,000 m above sea level) is marked by meadows, pastures, open arable land and forests but also by vineyards, orchards and fruit plantations.

Multifaceted orchard Farnsberg
Around Farnsberg a networking project which includes about 20 farms participating. During the last 10 years countless old standard fruit trees have been planted, hedges have been established and small structures have been built. This way the traditional fruit tree landscape is maintained and interlinked. 

Product quality has priority
On the property Farnsburg, bisons, Galloway cattle and pasture pigs are kept. These are slaughtered on the property itself and commercialised by the property’s butchery. The farm manager couple Dettwiler focuses on animal welfare, on a nature-oriented production and on high-quality meat.

Landscape quality is highly appreciated
The hilly landscape of the Upper Basle-Country is demanding with respect to farm management and shows various structures. Thoroughly pruned low hedges limit the areas of pastureland on which splendid trees grow. The Canton appreciates such typical elements characterizing the landscape and supports them financially.

Excursion 3

Special crops in the Seeland – stable but undergoing a change

Organised by: Bildungs-, Beratungs-, und Tagungszentrum Inforama Seeland, Ins (BE)

The profile of the region
The Seeland is known as the «vegetable garden of Switzerland». The Three-Lakes Area with the fertile Great Moor and the adjoining softly rolling hills is predestined for the cultivation of most various special crops. The varied growing of vegetables, berries, fruits and grapevines breathe much charm over the region.

No half-way things in crops as vegetables and berries
All 3 sons of the Herren family in Gempenach learnt the profession of a vegetable farmer. The farm has an eventful history behind it: a pioneer in hors sol cultivation, continuous growth in greenhouse and open air cultivation, permanent search for the ideal recycling energy source, entering in the berry cultivation and modification of the marketing structures are only some of the stations.

Vegetable producers market collectively
The name PROVEG AG stands for «Producers Marketers of Vegetables Inc.». Seven longstanding suppliers of the vegetable trader Mischler Vegetable Inc. in Ried merged together for a producer organization in 2011 after Mischler had stopped its business activities. Since then they have been marketing their vegetable products successfully together.

INFORAMA as an active hub for education and advisory services
Inforama Seeland in Ins offers in addition to the advisory service for the agriculture also education and continuing vocational training for the specialized profession female vegetable farmer/vegetable farmer. With Inforama Seeland apprentices from all over the German-speaking Switzerland and of neighbouring areas enjoy visiting the upper-secondary vocational school and continuing vocational training courses in the centre of Switzerland’s vegetable garden.

Stone fruits from Seeland
The Meuter family leads a stone fruit business on a 15 ha orchard area in Vinelz. The cultivation of cherry takes place under weather protection systems. Also club varieties (Jazz and Diwa) are cultivated. The farm runs its own farm shop.

Organic vineyard with lake view
Bruno Martin in Ligerz focus on organic vineyard on 8 ha and elaborates its own wine. On a tour through the vineyard we will get information about organic viticulture. Afterwards, we will enjoy a tasting at the lake.

Excursion 4

Mountain farming and alpine pasture economy in the Diemtigtal

Organised by: Bildungs-, Beratungs-, und Tagungszentrum Inforama Berner Oberland, Hondrich (BE)

The profile of the region
The mountain community Diemtigen covers 130 sq. km and encloses the multiply forked valley system of the Diemtigtal. Diemtigen is made up of 8 under sections, the so called «Baeuerten». In addition to the residential settlements one can find extensive forests in Diemtigtal. Diemtigen is the largest community for alpine pasture economy in Switzerland.

Regional nature Park Diemtigtal
Thanks to the beauty of its landscape, its cultivated architectural heritage and its culture maintenance the Diemtigtal obtained the Federal Label «Regional Natural Park – landscape of national importance». Sustainable economies, quality of life and quality of the nature, of the landscape and of the culture are the cornerstones of the Regional nature park Diemtigtal.

Mountain farming within Diemtigtal
In the community Diemtigen there are about 115 mountain farms and an equivalent number of alpine pastures. In Diemtigtal one can find the typical level farms, pasturage at the beginning of the summer season and the alpine pasture. On one of these farms the visitors will experience the joys and challenges of the mountain farming.

A typical alpine pasture farm
The alpine pasture estate «Hinter Fildrich» is managed by the organic farmer Martin Wiedmer. The alpine pasture as a part of the great Kiley alpine pasture area is home for a normal stocking rate of 40 normal grazing animals. For about 110 days the alpine pasture is home for dairy cows and young cattle. The milk is worked in the central alpine cheese dairy Kiley.

Central Alpine Cheese Dairy Kiley
The central Alpine Cheese Dairy Kiley was planned and constructed by the co-operatives of the Kiley Alp Pastures about 10 years ago. Since then it has been carried by the cooperative as an Organic Alpine Cheese Dairy. Per season about 200,000 kg alpine milk is processed into high-quality alpine products like alpine cheese, “Mutschli”, yoghurt and butter.

Selling strategies for alpine and natural park products
The marketing of the products from the alpine pasture area is a real challenge. Since quite some time the products of the Organic Alpine Cheese Dairy Kiley are reaching the supermarket shelves of COOP. Also the natural park products shall be marked profitably. The necessary strategies are continuously developed and improved.

Excursion 5

Organic farming Switzerland: Innovative and efficient

Organised by: Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, Frick (AG)

The profile of the region
The landscape of North-West Switzerland is characterized by the hills of the Jura and the river valleys. The dense settlement creates challenges but also opportunities.

Tradition and new challenges
Since autumn 1985 the Bolliger-Flury family is managing the farm Rigi in accordance with the principles of the bio-dynamic philosophy. Every Saturday morning they can be met in the Solothurn market. Already at the end of the 90ies Niklaus Bolliger started with the breeding of apple varieties.

The Cornfield Openair Hotel Nennigkofen
Under the edge of a forest, at the most beautiful panoramic position with a view across the course of the Aare and towards the southern slop of the Jura with Weissenstein - the popular place of excursions - , the Cornfield Openair Hotel Nennigkofen welcomes its guests. The property has 16 guest rooms. On the farm also chokeberries are cultivated and organic crops are grown.

Creating jointly new knowledge 
FiBL in Frick is one of the worldwide leading research institutions concerning organic agriculture. Its strengths are interdisciplinary research, joint innovations with female farmers and farmers as well as with the food industry, solution-oriented development projects and a rapid transfer of knowledge.

Lifetime production 100,000 kg with organic cows? – already reached several times!
The Huber family manages the versatile farm Castle Wildegg as a show plant with 55 cows as well as fattening pigs, ewes and laying hens. A farm shop belongs to the enterprise, too. Milk and meat are produced efficiently with grassland-based feeding.

Visit to Castle Wildegg
The «Museum Aargau» includes six historic experience places and combines very successfully history, culture and nature. Castle Wildegg is the flowering oasis among the castles in Aargau: 800 years of history, 1,000 herbs and flowers, 4,000 sq. m baroque garden.

Excursion 6

Value added in the Freiburg area of the Sense

Organised by: Institut agricole de l'Etat de Fribourg IAG, Posieux (FR)

The profile of the region
The area of the Sense lies in the pre-alpine hilly region at the Swiss German-Swiss French language border. Milk and meat production are the most important agricultural income branches. The small-scaled industrial processing, the direct marketing and the agro-tourism generate added value in the region.

Growing pears as niche production
Margret and Gallus Schafer produce on their full-time farm in Duedingen apart milk and meat another Freiburg speciality, the so called «Bueschli pear». These pears are marketed as the unique Swiss fruit under the AOP logo (Controlled Designation of Origin) and play an important role in the small-scaled industrial processing.

Women farmers‘ Baking Service Area of Sense
The six members of this service organization bake jointly for several customers, but every woman farmer in her own kitchen. This implies an efficient group organization. They make their specialities mainly with regional products. For lunch we will be served in Heitenried.

Schwallers‘ farmer shop and pilgrim camp
The Schwaller farm is located in the village St. Antoni. The economy activities are the cultivation of grain and potato as well as fattening pigs and suckler cow farming. Out of the former cowshed the Schwaller family made a shop in which they sell their own produced meat and other farm products. In addition St. Jacob pilgrims can stay over night in the granary.

Regional slaughterhouse
Located at the foot of the Freiburg Alps there is the slaughterhouse of the Cooperative Slaughterhouse Sense Oberland. Thanks to the farmers ‘initiative the transports for animals can be shortened and the value added as well as working places can be kept in the region. The collaboration between employees and butchers from the villages ensures a good use of the capacities.

Fair weather supplementary programme
Return journey over the Gurnigelpass with its splendid view to the Lake of Thun, to Eiger, Moench and Jungfrau.

Excursion 7

Value added chains milk and meat Lucerne

Organised by: Berufsbildungszentrum Natur und Ernährung BBZN, Luzern (LU)

The profile of the region
Lucerne with its 390,000 inhabitants is the largest canton in Central Switzerland. 6.7% of the persons employed work in the primary sector. 56% of the surface of the canton is used agriculturally, thereof 80% as grassland. 4,900 farms produce mainly milk and meat. The upstream and downstream firms are of high importance.

Insemination, breeding and fattening – pig farm Sandacher in St. Urban
The Schmitz family runs a farm of 41 ha. They have 380 sows to inseminate and 40 breeding sows, fattening pigs and 30 dairy cows. The farm is a member of a piglets ring owned by the UFA (in English: UAF, Union of Agricultural Federations). UFA is a company for animal nutrition and is part of the fenaco -group.

Monastery church St. Urban
The Cistercian monastery St. Urban was founded in the 12th century. The monastery was a spiritual and economic center in the border area of Berne, Lucerne and Aargau. The baroque monastery complex dates from the 18th century.  

Experience Agrovision Burgrain Inc. – from grass to the plate
In Burgrain foodstuffs are produced based on the principles of the organic farming philosophy, processed and marketed. On the organic farm 70 Simmental cows are kept on full pasture and with seasonal calving. The show dairy processes 200,000 kg silage-free raw milk. The products are sold via the farm shop, Regiofair and the restaurant.

Alberswil Pioneer Milk Business – APMB
4 farmers run a collective farm with a surface of 100 ha, thereof about 40% grassland. In their collective stable they keep 150 Holstein Friesian cows and 150 fattening veals. With two VMS milking robots 1.2 million kg milk are milked per year. The mixed fodder ration consists mainly of corn and grass silage.

Kaltbach sandstone caves – Emmi Switzerland Inc.
150,000 cheese wheels are stored in a 2.3 km long cave system. Brought to maturity are cheese varieties as Emmentaler AOP or Le Gruyère AOP. The cheeses come from commercial dairies in Switzerland. Emmi is the biggest milk processor. Main shareholder is the Central Switzerland federation of milk producers (ZMP).

Additional information

Excursion 8

Protection of resources in the Canton Solothurn

Organisiert durch: Bildungszentrum Wallierhof, Riedholz (SO)

The profile of the region
The Bucheggberg district is located at the south-eastern edge of the Canton of Solothurn. It is characterized by a decentralized settlement in small farming villages and covers about 65 sq. km. The agriculture is small structured with mainly mixed farms practising cattle breeding and crop cultivation.

BORES – measures against erosion
The light and structurally weak soils on slopes tend to erosion. For 15 years measures to help prevent erosion have been applied in the pilot project Aetigkofen. The experiences of the pilot project have made possible the cantonal soil protection programme BORES. The measures are recognised by the farmers and the authorities.

ARES – measures to reduce ammoniac
The aim of the resources programme ARES is the change of the farms towards a production process with less emission of ammoniac. Supported by the programme are: the trailing hose applicator, the covering of open slurry tanks, and the use of Nitrogen-reduced fodder as well as individual projects (f. ex. air washer).

Specialisation through division of work and co-operation
Thanks to a reasonable co-operation the two farms of Andreas Wyss and Thomas Ritz could specialize in milk production (full pasture with seasonal calving) and pig fattening respectively in potato production, cattle and chicken fattening. Both farms participate in the programmes BORES and ARES.

The relocation allows an efficient milk production
Bernhard Wyss had to relocate his farm because of limited space conditions. Out of the former farming cooperative a modern dairy cattle house could be built. Another pillar of the farm is the potato production.

Castle Buchegg
Nowadays, the «Buechischloessli» is a foundation. It is a popular point of departure for hikes. Robert Flueckiger, long-standing director of the Education Center Wallierhof and director of the Office of Agriculture is a member of the board of trustees. He invites to an aperitif and tells about interesting facts from the present and the past.