We began our day with breakfast at our "hotel". The hotel, in actuality, is a training facility owned by the German Farmers Association (DBV). The facility trains farmers and those working with the DBV. Classrooms can also be rented and courses are available for other organizations.
From here, we were able to take a leisurely drive on the autobahn to our next destination.(170 km/hr avg) Our first stop was the lignite mines in Rhineland.
These mines have been in operation since 1900 and currently moving through about 80 hectare a year.We visited two of the mines currently operating, with approximately 21,000 acres being mined. All of the acreage is strip mined to around 400 meters of depth. The lignite is removed from the land and the dirt is moved back to the previous mine sites to reclaim the land. Extensive work is done to ensure that the new land becomes proper farm land and protected areas. Most farmers in the area prefer the new acreage created by this process as it produces better.
Because of the extensive amount of land used for the mining, many communities have to be moved. New towns are completely rebuilt and even the autobahn is moved for future mining sites.
The next stop was Am Buchholz owned by the Unterhansberg family. This family boarded horses and operated a direct farm market. They were selling there own products such as asparagus, strawberries, and eggs as well as fresh produce from neighboring farms. The horses were housed in beautiful renovated barns as well as new facilities, with riding and training arenas.
From here we visited the Rutherhof Ostrich farm. Here we saw yet another diversified farm. Ostrich are raised for meat and other high value products, much of which is sold at the restaurant on site. To attract customers, the owner has utilized oversized wine barrels reconfigured for dining and sleeping quarters. These seem to be a popular addition to the farm.
Yet another recent addition to the farm is "Swin Golf". This seems to be a hybrid of golf, mini-golf, and soccer. The course is similar in size to a 18 hole golf course, with a larger ball in play, and mini-golf hazards. We were unable to play, so our understanding is minimal. Nevertheless, this game is becoming popular in the area.
We would all like to thank our hosts again for giving us such gracious access to their farms.