Bioenergy and climate friendly farming practices were discussed at the first in a series of Transatlantic Ecologic Riverside Chats that took place in Berlin on 17 August 2007. The event was held on the occasion of the visit of 30 farmers as well as policy makers, scientists, and journalists with an agricultural background from within Germany and the United States in the context of a transatlantic farmer-to-farmer exchange. During the dialogue, different strategies in Germany and the USA on the challenges of climate change and the issue of producing biofuels became evident and were attributed to different underlying policy approaches in Germany and the USA.
The Riverside Chat, moderated by R. Andreas Kraemer, was intended to (1) specify different approaches and visions in Germany and the USA in operating farming systems and applying research, (2) exchange views and experience and (3), on a political level, identify actions that should be implemented in the field of bioenergy and carbon sequestration from a farmer’s perspective in the respective countries.
Key findings include:
- Approaches in Germany (and Europe) and the USA to link climate and agricultural policy show significant differences. For example, production of biogas in Germany is usually connected with heat and power production, while in the USA examples for CO2 sequestration by no tillage systems and bioethanol production are dominant.
- Different approaches in climate friendly agriculture mainly result from different underlying policy frameworks and support mechanisms.
- Farmers from both sides of the Atlantic agreed that there is more than a single option for sustainable practices in agriculture, depending on the location as well as political, economic and cultural framework.
- Solutions for utilization of renewable primary products should be based on sustainability criteria.
The event was held in the context of a transatlantic farmer-to-farmer exchange.