Our day began by leaving Germany to visit a farm in France. "Ferme Moog" was a small poultry farm with some acreage of corn and canola. The farm owner had 5 barns to house the poultry with outside pasture for the birds. Currently on the farm, 3 of the houses were full, of which the capacities vary depending on the type of poultry placed in the barns. He was raising turkeys in one barn, broilers in another and capons in the last. One barn can hold 5000 chickens or 2500 turkeys. His most profitable market raising the birds for Christmas consumption.
In four of his barns, the poultry is raised for a company that markets the meat under a premium label. The farm must abide by strict welfare and environmental standards to be able to sell under this label. The fifth barn raises broilers that the farm owner markets himself to the local markets.
We learned that there were slight differences in governmental policies that affect the farmers of France as related to Germany. But overall, the subsidies for acreage and environmental improvements were very much the same as in Germany. One difference was in the pension plan for farmers, which starts at age 62. Their pension is a set rate for everyone, no matter what the farmer has paid into it throughout his life. Once retired, another income is usually needed.
Going back into Germany, we stopped at the home and farm of our guide, Thomas Huschle. Thomas farms with his father and will take over the farm upon his retirement. The Huschle farm consists of crops, a farmers market, beef and eggs. The farmers market began with Thomas' mother baking loaves of bread for family and neighbors. Now they sell 400 loaves each week from the market and bakery built within their home. The bread attracts customers to buy their other products as well. The eggs sold at the matket come from the very modern poultry house located on the farm. The poultry house is mobile and is moved a few times a year to remove the waste and give the birds another outdoor area. The beef come from the farm as well. Thomas buys mostly young Holstein bulls from neighboring farms and raises them for about 22 weeks before taking them to the butcher.
The Huschle farm has an interesting history as well. The farms in the area were low wetlands until the late 1930's, when the land was ditched and drained. The land was then farmed communally by the area townspeople for many years.After WWII, there was a great need for food and good farmland. At this time, the fields were split into 15 hectare tracts and a lottery was conducted to provide good farmers for the land. Thomas' grandfather won the lottery and in turn, sold his existing farm in town and bought the new farm with a low interest 50 year loan. The government also built the homes and barns on the tracts of land, which are still being used today. That same land is being farmed by the Huschle's today, along with rented hectares totaling 90 hectares.
Our next stop was a visit to Obstgrossmarkt Mittelbaden (OGM) in Oberkirch.
OGM is cooperative that markets and distributes many types of fruits grown in
the region. We were able to see the sorting of apples on a massive scale. The
products sold here are very seasonal because all the products are locally
Strawberries are their number one berry sold with 386 tons sold daily in their peak season and 5500 tons sold per year. 15,000 tons of apples are sold each year along with 3800 tons of plums. Many fruits, such as cherries, raspberries, pears and others, are sold here as well.
We enjoyed another informative day and would like to thank our hosts again for all their hospitality.