Anniversary celebration in times of upheaval

At 75 years, one is experienced, has experienced a lot. For most people, this is the last stage of the journey through life. The bavarian farmers’ association celebrates this special birthday this year. The decision-makers did not give a thought to the possibility of his death.

On 7. September 1945 the association was founded in munich, shortly after the end of the second world war. In view of the trummerfeld, the food of the population should be ensured. This is what the preamble says. 22 farmers from all over bavaria founded the association, they wanted to speak with one voice in the future – voluntarily and independently. The principles were disseminated via radio and posters in the villages – and were well received. Within half a year, 100.000 members enrolled, the number doubled in the course of the following year. "The founding fathers succeeded in creating a work of art," says district chairman alois kraus with admiration 75 years later.

"The founding fathers succeeded in creating a piece of art." Alois kraus, district chairman

At the beginning of 1946, the local, district and county associations began to be set up, and in 1948 the countrywomen were founded. The structures still exist today. "In my eyes, there is nothing that can be equated with this system," says county farmer annette vom berg-erbar. As an individual, one is not perceived, in the group many things are easier. Personal exchange also helps when problems arise. Alois kraus also speaks of a strong sense of togetherness. "The farmers’ association is like a large family."Full-time and honorary members are doing an exemplary job. Four full-time staff members are active in the office in kitzingen. They advise members on legal or tax issues, give tips on how to make the transfer of the farm run as smoothly as possible, or how to implement the new dung ordinance.

145.The association has 000 members in bavaria, and 2200 in the county of kitzingen. "The level of coverage is relatively high," says managing director winfried distler. Not only farmers, but also vegetable growers and winegrowers are taking part. Nevertheless, structural change in agriculture does not stop at the association. Fewer farmers automatically means fewer members. Business offices are being merged throughout bavaria. Since this summer, distler has not only been responsible for the district of kitzingen, but also for wurzburg. Alois kraus describes the question of the future as difficult. The association must be politically successful and create the best possible conditions for its members. This has not become easier, because the farmers’ association has long since ceased to be the sole advisor to politicians in the area of agriculture. Kraus admits that the association’s influence has diminished somewhat in recent decades. "Without success, it will certainly be difficult for us," he says. The association wants to be a reliable partner for policymakers, providing factual and well-founded advice – in contrast to some non-governmental organizations, "where, for example, animals are humanized.

The challenges are not becoming any less, says annette vom berg-erbar. In view of climate change, sustainable management is a top priority. Farmers still have to be able to earn enough money to live, despite their respect for natural resources. At the same time, there needs to be enough room for research. New varieties, new irrigation techniques must be studied. Structural change means that farms are tending to become coarser. "But coarse is not automatically something bad," she emphasizes.

The public must be taken along on this journey. "We missed some of that in the past," kraus confesses. The romantic image of an idyllic agricultural landscape still holds sway over large sections of society. "But these times are long gone."The association had planned eight sundays for public relations work this summer. Volunteer members answered questions at information booths. Because of corona, all dates had to be canceled – including the rough celebration of the 75th anniversary, which was planned for sommerach.

But the anniversary year is not to be celebrated entirely without festivities. This sunday, 4. October, the members are invited to a harvest festival at the bleichwasen in kitzingen. The special birthday is to be commemorated at a tractor service in the afternoon. The festive service will be received on the tractor radios and cell phones with a separate radio frequency. A maximum of 60 tugboats are allowed to participate, there will be no catering.

In the coming year, the three hope for many more public events, but also for internal meetings and trips offered by the farmers’ association’s educational organization. "The social part is part of it," says alois kraus. Even – and especially – at the proud age of 75.

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