Today we made our way to the Bavarian Farmers Association or BBV. We were welcomed and greeted by the BBV CEO Hans Muller and treated to Bavarian sausage and pretzel's for breakfast, per Kelly's request. Dr. Hans-Jurgen Seufferlein explained the importance of the dairy sector to Bavaria. He explained there are 4.2 million cows in Germany with 1.2 million of those coming from Bavaria. He also explained that Bavaria is only one of 4 countries that currently meet the milk quota in Europe. As a note, the milk quota will not exist in 2015. Dr. Seufferlein believes that Germany will be prepared.
We also heard from the Forestry industry and Andreas Tyroller. We appreciate him wearing his traditional Bavarian attire. He explained that 35% of Bavaria is wood. He said that 54.6% of that land is privately held. The problem is most landowners have very small parcels. Many landowners will join wood owner associations in order to market their small parcels more efficiently. We also heard from Markus Peters on BBV public relations and their strategies. We were then given a tour of the very nice facilities at the BBV.
We then made our way to the Bavarian Department of Agriculture and Forestry. We were welcomed to speak with a representative of the ministry and ask questions. After learning about German and EU agriculture for 2.5 weeks, we appreciated his candid answers and validation of what we had observed. For example, Bavaria continues to subsidize the farming of grape vines on the steep and scenic hillsides. It is not so much an agriculture economic decision as it is a tourism subsidy. We greatly appreciate the hour he spent with us.
From there we headed to the Sedlmair Dairy Farm. This family dairy consists of two brothers and there parents as operators, 3 families. They constructed a very modern dairy parlor that was just completed in early 2013. Simon Sedlmair explained how his school internship took him to a dairy farm in New Zealand for 6 months and he gained some knowledge and ideas. He then travelled Canada and the US looking at different dairies. So in late 2012, the family started to construct a new parlor with ideas from all his visits. The family milks 240 cattle. They have 160 young cattle. The parlor is a double 18 herringbone holding 36 cows. Since 2010, the family has used GMO free feedstuffs and their milk is labeled GMO free. They had a very clean and efficient facility built just outside of town. The old farm was in town so they were happy to get a small distance away. We had a great meeting as we asked many questions and they did the same of us. And of course, we had coffee and another great dessert. Brandon had to try all 3.
The farm was located just outside of Dachau. We did not have much room in our schedule but took the time to stop at the former concentration camp. There are no good words to describe the feeling of standing in the camp. We would have liked more time to read and fully take in the experience but the museum was closing.
We continued our day by traveling to a dairy processor named Karwendel Dairy. The Dairy processes 145,000 gallons of milk daily and produce 93,000 tons of cheese per week. He explained their farmers were their most important product. The average dairy is 40 cows and they have customers with 5-5000 kg per day. Some of their farm families have delivered to the dairy for 4 generations as the company started in 1909. The products included cheeses, yogurts, cream cheese, quark and desserts such as cheesecake. The CEO, Mr. Schaffer, provided a very thorough trip into the plant. It was interesting to see all the different products and packaging. Our group found the robotic packaging and sorting very interesting. The company has 4 generations of robots and each generation gets more advanced and faster. We greatly appreciate the time Mr. Schaffer spent with us, especially at the later hour.
Our last stop was to the hotel and restaurant of the Babel's. This family has a dairy but has expanded to agritourism. The property sits at the foot of the Alps and offers a wonderful view. We took advantage of the food and called it a night as it had been a long day.