Celebrating Women in Agriculture: EU-FarmBook wishes Happy International Women´s Day


The world is striving for gender equality. Agriculture and forestry are no exception. For centuries, women have been the backbone of agriculture. Despite their central role, women have historically faced significant barriers to access resources, land, technology and markets. Empowering women in agriculture is not only a matter of gender equality; it is essential for economic development, environmental sustainability, and food security. Women bring unique perspectives and innovations to agriculture and are often at the forefront of adopting sustainable practices that benefit the environment and enhance biodiversity.

The European Commission supports projects for gender equality in agriculture all year round. But why not celebrate International Women´s day by highlighting some of these projects?

FLIARA – Female-Led Innovation in Agriculture and Rural Areas

One of those projects is the EU-funded FLIARA project that aims to create a more sustainable future by highlighting the role of women in agriculture and rural areas and boosting gender equality to empower women in EU farming. FLIARA stands for Female-Led Innovation in Agriculture and Rural Areas. According to project coordinator Professor Maura Farrell, women in the agricultural sector have to face many obstacles such as education gaps, gender stereotypes, limited confidence, and challenges in balancing work and family responsibilities, and barriers accessing resources like land, finance, and business networks, compounded by patriarchal inheritance practices.

The project will create practical tools and policy proposals to enhance women´s capacity in innovative practices in agriculture and rural areas. FLIARA will combine futures, case study methods, network building, and policy benchmarking to identify visions for sustainable farm and rural futures and the innovations required. Overall, they want to heighten visibility and awareness of female-led innovations. FLIARA is committed to strengthening the visibility and awareness of women-led innovations. This will be achieved initially by carrying out a series of case studies with agricultural and rural women engaged in sustainable innovations across the EU. The project will build a Community of Practice developed with women identified throughout the project’s case studies alongside key innovation policy and governance stakeholders. The Community of Practice Network will spotlight women as key innovation actors. Maura Farrell explains, that it is essential to identify women already carrying out innovation projects on farms and in rural areas, which can inspire other women to do likewise. These women can play a key role in transferring their knowledge, while encouraging policy change around key issues which can enhance women-led innovation. Providing easily accessible knowledge for practitioners, particularly for women in agriculture, is crucial. It empowers them with the necessary tools and information to enhance productivity, sustainability, and economic independence. By breaking down barriers to access, we can amplify the impact of female agricultural innovators, driving positive change across communities and industries.

The EU-FarmBook platform can support projects like FLIARA by providing a centralized space for women-led innovations to be displayed and disseminated, says Maura Farrell. In spotlighting and disseminating the innovation led by women, EU-FarmBook can amplify the visibility of women in agriculture and rural areas and celebrate the work they are doing and encourage others to do likewise.

“Our vision is to have a thriving agricultural sector and rural environment that champions equality and inclusion, where opportunities are accessible to all, regardless of gender.” says the project coordinator Maura Farrell, Professor at University of Galway.

In January 2023, the project team met for the FLIARA kick-off in Brussels, Belgium.
(Photo: Consulta Europa Projects and Innovation)

Supporting Women-Led Innovations in Farming and Rural Territories

SWIFT is a four-year project funded by Horizon Europe. It aims to reinforce and amplify innovations led by marginalized actors in European agriculture. Project coordinator Professor Marta Rivera-Ferre explains that women farmers, LGBTQ+ farmers, migrant women and agricultural workers face unequal social, economic and political structural barriers in European agricultural and food systems. SWIFT stands for Supporting Women-Led Innovations in Farming and Rural Territories. The project coordinator explains that in SWIFT, Women-led innovations (WLIs) refer to grassroots innovations that address structural inequalities in agriculture in rural areas.

SWIFT will contribute to gender mainstreaming in agricultural and food policies by providing theoretical and practical tools (farm viability indicators; gender responsive budgeting; participatory feminist methodologies) to favor a change of framing in those policies towards food as a human right, that are necessary to promote sustainable transformation in agriculture and food, including the transformation of gender norms. SWIFT adopts a feminist, human rights-based, participatory and inclusive research methodology that applies an intersectional perspective, thereby rendering visible diverse experiences of inequality and giving a voice to those who are most marginalized.

“Our aspiration is to contribute to a change of framing within EU policies of food as a commodity towards food as a human right. We hope that this will bring major changes in terms of access to land, working conditions of agricultural workers and other people employed in the food system, dignified farming conditions for all, and more equity”, says Marta Rivera-Ferre.

EU-FarmBook is an opportunity to make the visual material produced in SWIFT more accessible. According to Rivera-Ferre it is important to create spaces where actionable knowledge can be shared. Through networking and social learning, the thousands of initiatives that are transforming Europe’s agricultural and food systems from below can be strengthened, made more visible and promoted.

The SWIFT project got together during their inception workshop in May 2023
(Photo: Mar Calvet)

Gender Equality in Rural and Agricultural Innovation Systems  

Grass Ceiling is a Horizon Europe project looking at supporting women-led innovation in rural areas. Led by South East Technological University, the project unites a powerful consortium of partners across Europe, all dedicated to supporting women entrepreneurs and fostering innovation in rural areas. 

The project will establish a network of nine living labs across Europe, spanning Ireland, Croatia, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, Spain, and Sweden. These living labs will serve as crucial hubs for knowledge exchange, collaboration, and innovation. Rural women entrepreneurs will have access to valuable resources, mentorship, and training opportunities, fostering a supportive environment to cultivate their ideas and translate them into reality. 

Grass Ceiling centers on a core objective: to significantly boost women-led innovations in agriculture. This ambitious goal directly addresses the underrepresentation of women in the agricultural sector, a traditionally male-dominated field. As part of the project, partners will gather insights into current agricultural and rural policy support for women in agriculture. This crucial data will be used to advocate for improved gender mainstreaming and budgeting within the agricultural sector.  

EU-FarmBook is a pivitol platform to share innovations and replicate the supportive environment stemming from the impact of Grass Ceiling project. By empowering rural women and fostering innovation Grass Ceiling has the potential to revolutionize the agricultural sector in Europe. The project’s success will pave the way for a future where women are not only valued members of the agricultural workforce but also recognised as key drivers of innovation and progress. 

The GRASS CEILING Consortium met in Brussels für their first showcase event in September 2023

PREMIERE – Preparing multi-actor projects in a co-creative way

The project PREMIERE aims to enhance the collaboration on equal levels during the preparation phase of a multi-actor project. For that reason, gender and equality issues are relevant. It is all about co-creation for innovation between partners, which aim to develop innovative solutions for farmers, foresters and other rural businesses. The EU-funded PREMIERE project will develop a set of online material, which will also be available via EU-FarmBook such as a MOOC, a Serious Game, How-to-Guides, or video diaries. Depending on the innovation project and the context, men and women might communicate and organize co-innovation in slightly different ways. PREMIERE will provide support to all types of actors and their particular needs and practices emerging from the economic, social, cultural or demographic contexts across Europe.

PREMIERE is an EU-FarmBook sister project that is all lead by women. Professor Anna Häring, Dr Susanne von Münchhausen and Dr Lisa van Dijk from Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (HNEE) are aiming to apply consequently the multi-actor principles within PREMIERE. The project leaders say: “Ensuring communication and collaboration on equal levels throughout the project work is challenging. We are only starting to understand potential gender-related differences. In this early phase, it’s about raising awareness and encouraging everybody to highlight their concerns.“

The members of PREMIERE consortium met in March 2023 in Eberswalde and Doellnsee.

The Role of EU-FarmBook in Empowering Women

The EU-FarmBook is a Horizon Europe funded project that is working at regional, national, and European level to build an online platform for gathering and sharing agriculture and forestry knowledge. EU-FarmBook serves as a comprehensive knowledge and networking platform for the agricultural community. It provides access to a wide range of resources, including best practices, research findings, technological innovation, and training opportunities. It offers practice orientated materials in diverse forms such as videos, podcasts, presentations, documents and images.

Inge De Bo, scientific coordinator from Ghent University, says the EU-FarmBook consortium, with 29 partners from 18 countries, is building a platform to connect and to empower all farmers, foresters and advisors. “We are creating a home for all innovations in agri-food and forestry and we will put the spotlights on women-led innovations, as all above gender equality related projects will upload their project results into the EU-FarmBook”, she stresses.

By future collection creation, the contributions of FLIARA, SWIFT, PREMIERE, and many other EU-funded gender equality focussing projects will be visible for the long-term. FarmBuddy, the AI robot of EU-FarmBook will help all users of the platform to search for specific knowledge, including the women-related contributions. All the practical knowledge developed by women in one region can be found, read in their own language (future feature) and implemented in other regions/countries across Europe. According to the Scientific Coordinator, female platform users can be students (our next generation farmers), trainers, educators, policy makers, journalists, besides our prioritised target group of practitioners. The EU-FarmBook community on the platform is already large and will grow, so FLIARA, SWIFT, PREMIERE, and many similar projects can benefit from this community, with gender equality as one of the seven quality criteria to develop and maintain a trustworthy platform. By covering many relevant actors in the agriculture and forestry communities, the daily use of the women-led innovations across Europe is ensured.

Young girls, teenage females, and women actively engaged in farming and other rural sectors are encouraged to connect with their peers on the EU-FarmBook platform. They can benefit from the insights of fellow female contributors or inspired by practice-oriented materials derived from projects such as FLIARA, SWIFT, Grass Ceiling and PREMIERE.

“We must not underestimate the impact of role models in inspiring, dreaming and/or acting to follow the paths of the empowered women”, says Inge De Bo. There will be platform users interested in participating in multi-actor projects, becoming a female project partner in EU-funded projects, creating new project outputs, which on their turn can be uploaded to the platform, closing the circle of creating knowledge and (re)using knowledge. In this way, the impact of the female-led project outcomes will be multiplied and amplified. The research results, gathered in Research & Innovation projects, will be implemented in the practice, overcoming the barriers of language, gender inequality and geographical locations.

Inge De Bo invites all project coordinators of societal challenge H2020 projects and female-focussed Horizon Europe projects to connect with the EU-FarmBook platform. “We warmly welcome all practice-oriented materials, in attractive formats, easy to understand sentences, with many women in action.” She congratulates and says:

Let’s share the magnificent women-led innovations! Let’s invite the EU-FarmBook community to recognise the invaluable innovations of empowered women today! Let’s put the spotlight on the women in action in agriculture and forestry!

Happy International Women’s Day!

Inge De Bo, Scientific Coordinator of EU-FarmBook (third person from the right)
and the team of Ghent University wish a happy International Women´s Day.
(Photo: UGent) 


EU-FarmBook is online and ready to accept contributions

The EU-FarmBook team launched the platform live from Latvia – Laurens van der Cruyssen (OSMOS),
Inês Assunção (CONSULAI), Pieter Spanoghe (UGent), Anita Dzelme (EUFRAS), Inge De Bo (UGent)

On 8 February, the EU-FarmBook team announced the start of EU-FarmBook, an open access platform for agricultural knowledge and information.
The exclusive online event for contributors was streamed live on YouTube. The project management informed the agricultural community about the platform and the technical team explained how project coordinators and partners from H2020 and Horizon Europe projects can upload materials.

Inês Assunção and Laurens Van Der Cruyssen, both members of the EU-FarmBook consortium, moderated the event, which was broadcast live from the EUFRAS studio in Latvia. Online participants had the opportunity to ask questions during the event, which were answered by the experts in a Q&A session at the end.

“This is the starting point – let´s embrace the journey together”

Pieter Spanoghe, project coordinator, and Inge de Bo, scientific coordinator from Ghent University, informed about the current status of the project. Pieter Spanoghe started with a countdown: “3- 2-1 – yes, the EU-FarmBook platform is now live”. As project coordinator with 29 partners, he is proud to have been part of this this important milestone. “Today is the moment when scientists, academics and forestry and agriculture experts shake hands. They want to bring farmers solutions to the problems that they need to become more sustainable,” said Spanoghe. For him, the transfer of innovation and knowledge into the agricultural practice is fundamental to achieving the goals for the future of agriculture in Europe.

Inge de Bo explained that the main objective of the event is to reach contributors and experts, who upload project results and practice-orientated materials from EU-funded projects. These include project coordinators from Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe and EIP-AGRI operational groups, who have knowledge for practical use. The uploaded information is free of costs for the users and the contributors will benefit. Inge de Bo explained: “The platform is funded and supported by the European Commission, and we will make sure, that your project results get the visibility and findability that they deserve.” The uploading process is easy and, of course, authors´ rights are respected. Contributor agreements are available on the platform in simple and understandable language.

Cooperation instead of competition

“We want you to join us,” said Inge de Bo addressing already existing platforms, knowledge hubs and databases. “Alone you can go fast, but together we can go far and we will be stronger in collecting knowledge and reach it to the AKIS actors through one place – the EU-FarmBook platform.” We are not competing with other platforms, said Pieter Spanoghe. What makes us unique is that we focus on practical materials for agriculture and forestry. The stored knowledge can be trusted and is useful for the daily operations of farmers and foresters.

Farmbuddy – the EU-FarmBook search engine

If you were to compare EU-FarmBook to a library, it would still have empty shelves. The search engine, called Farmbuddy, learns and improves its artificial intelligence (AI) skills from a wide variety of content that matches the interests of farmers, foresters and other rural actors.

“Our goal is to have all your outputs and your research in one place and to share it with all farmers, foresters and rural actors,” said Pieter Spanoghe. Metadata, which describe knowledge objects and includes additional information provided by the contributors, is key to speeding up the search engine and optimizing search results.

The European Forest Institute shares its project data on EU-FarmBook

Eduard Mauri from the Mediterranean Facility in the European Forest Institute (EFI) coordinates the ResAlliance project that engages with farmers and foresters to share practical knowledge on how to increase landscape resilience in the Mediterranean. In EU-FarmBook Mauri found a place, where factsheets and summery abstracts of knowledge for practitioners and authorities matched the themes of his thematic network. He appreciates that EU-FarmBook respects the FAIR Data Principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable). That it provides long-term hosting, multilingual access and is building up a community of users in agriculture and forestry. EU-FarmBook also avoids maintenance costs after the end of the project. Eduard Mauri said: “All our practical material (from ResAlliance Project) will be stored in EU-FarmBook from the beginning and will be accessible from there.”

Eduard Mauri (European Forest Institute), Project Coordinator of
ResAlliance shares data on EU-FarmBook

“The uploading process is user friendly”

Sabien Pollet, the project coordinator of the SmartProtect project, a thematic network on IPM (Integrated Pest Management) technologies for indoor and outdoor vegetables, has already gone through the uploading process. Pollet shared the information generated for innovative crop protection. “Farmers and advisors often tell us, that it is not always easy to find the right information, as it is usually spread across different sources,” said Pollet. She stressed that it could make a difference if everyone started uploading to EU-FarmBook now that it is available. Pollet has had information on smart IP technologies translated by native speakers into twelve languages and uploaded this knowledge to EU-Farmbook. “EU-FarmBook is a user-friendly tool and after creating an account, you can easily upload your technical information,” said Pollet.

Sabien Pollet, Project Coordinator of SmartProtect,
already contributed to EU-FarmBook

Technical Features

The technical team is working on the connecting of EU-FarmBook with existing large knowledge databases. It is working together with several projects, sectoral ambassadors and EU Member States. The type of upload depends on two different options. Materials that are already structured in a database can be uploaded to EU-FarmBook via API (Application Programming Interfaces) connection or integration. If the material is not yet in a database, it can be uploaded manually. If there are any problems, users can contact the technical team via the contact form.

Features like the use of AI, a more personalized search assistant, multi-language support and data analytics for contributors will be developed in the future.

Watch the full video presentation of Louis Powell, Software Engineer at Maastricht University (EU-FarmBook Consortium Partner), where the platform and its current and future features were showcased.

EU-FarmBook maximizes the impact of EU-funded R&I projects

Natalia Brzezina, European Commission (EC) Research Programme Officer (DG AGRI), attended the event and underlined the importance of EU-FarmBook: “European farmers, foresters and rural communities provide us with food and biomass, and at the same time they face many challenges resulting from environmental, climatic and socioeconomic changes and we must help them to tackle these challenges”. This can only be done providing them with innovative solutions they need for their daily work. The EU has increased the budget for agricultural research in the Horizon 2020 and Europe programmes and EIP AGRI operational groups across Europe. Multi-actor projects are constantly delivering new knowledge and innovative solutions for farmers, foresters and rural communities that are ready to use. Unfortunately, this knowledge often disappears shortly after the end of the projects, said Brezina. The EC research officer believes, that EU-FarmBook can preserve the knowledge and innovation generated by EU-funded R&I projects in the long term and bring it together in one user-friendly platform, helping farmers, foresters, and rural communities in Europe to get the right knowledge in a ready-to-use form. She added, that all AKIS actors will benefit from the platform and that, if successful, the Commission will explore options to sustain EU-FarmBook in the long term. Therefore, she emphasized, that it is very important that funded projects contribute with practice-orientated materials to the platform. The success of the platform is highly dependent on the contributions and Natalia Brzezina invited and encouraged project managers to submit and contribute. “Of course, contributions form projects beyond Horizon and the CAP-funded operational groups are also very welcome. All relevant practice-oriented contributions that can help farmers, foresters and rural communities to improve their practices, the sustainability and their resilience are super welcome”.

EC Programme Officer Natalia Brzezina invites
EU-Funded R&I projects to contribute to EU-FarmBook

EU-FarmBook ambassadors connect and support across the Member States

Anita Dzelme from the European Forum for Agricultural and Rural Advisory Services (EUFRAS) in Latvia, a member of the EU-FarmBook consortium, is not only the host of the event, but also one of several ambassadors of the EU-FarmBook team. The ambassadors are there to help contributors decide which materials are suitable for the platform, Dzelme explained. A map of all Ambassadors in Europe with contact details can be found on the EU-FarmBook project website. “We are happy to help”. All kinds and types of content and materials are welcome to be uploaded. “Some of us are more visual, some of us prefer text or audio files and we all have different ways of understanding information”, said Anita Dzelme about the types of materials.

Anita Dzelme from Latvia is one of several Ambassadors in Europe

At the moment the platform´s “shelves” are empty, but all users and visitors are welcome, said scientific coordinator Inge de Bo. The platform is constantly evolving. The user experience will get better and better and in 2025 users will find the best content match for what they are looking for. Defining practice-orientated materials is not easy. In the end, the user will decide. She said that it might help to ask yourself, what information is relevant to the practitioner beyond the reporting to the EC. “If I can extract small pieces and put them in an attractive format, such as videos or podcasts, then I think this is a very good job.” Pieter Spanoghe agreed and said: “I am looking forward to seeing what the users will like, click on and discuss, as this will help us to understand what the needs of the farmers and foresters are and show us what practice-oriented materials really are”.

Moderators Inês Assunção and Laurens Van Der Cruyssen, concluded the online event with service information and an outlook on future events. The platform is constantly evolving. Further user research will be carried out. Laurens Van Der Cruyssen, social designer in the EU-FarmBook consortium said: “We try to get a good view of the needs of our users as much as possible”. Therefore, Inês Assunção, EU-FarmBook communication consultant, invited interested viewers to subscribe to the newsletter , where people can choose the level of engagement with the project such as participation in webinars or workshops. Training materials are available on the EU-FarmBook platform and website, and training sessions will be offered in May 2024. In 2025, EU-FarmBook will present the platform to the practitioners. Meanwhile the platform will be filled with information and materials from the contributors.

Assunção and Van Der Cruyssen concluded by thanking everyone involved and the Latvian hosts. They closed the event with the key message: Start uploading your contributions!

Moderators Inês Assunção and Laurens Van Der Cruyssen thanked the Latvian hosts
from EUFRAS and closed the event with the key message: Start uploading your contributions!


ENAJ organizes press trip on innovations for wineries and farms

Photo credit: Friederike Krick

Agricultural journalists are actors in the ecosystem of agricultural innovation communication and therefore important for EU-FarmBook.

EU-FarmBook supports the activities of the European Network of Agricultural Journalists (ENAJ), because journalists play an important role in the most relevant target groups of EU-FarmBook, such as farmers, advisors and decision makers. ENAJ is the umbrella organization of the national guilds of 20 EU member states and two EFTA countries. The main activities of ENAJ is to organize workshops and press trips for their members. From July 6-8, ENAJ and the German Guild of Agricultural Journalists VDAJ invited a group of 19 agricultural journalists from 12 countries to the Palatinate, a region of wine and vegetable production in Western Germany. They visited a research institute, wineries and farms to learn about innovations for sustainable farming.

Wine makers and vegetable growers in the Palatinate have to deal with a lot of challenges: They are facing droughts because of climate change, their production is affected by pests, they need to reduce plant protection to fulfill EU legislation and they have to compete in global markets. Innovations are needed to produce in a sustainable way and to be successful. In viticulture new cultivars – so called PIWIS – are innovative, because they can help to reduce plant protection.

Reducing plant protection by new cultivars

Prof. Dr. Reinhard Töpfer, Director of the JKI Federal research Center for Cultivated Plants Geilweilerhof in Siebeldingen, informed the journalists about PIWIS. These cultivars are resistant against widespread diseases like powdery Mildew. “PIWIS are an important option for the new EU Framework conditions”, he said. Nevertheless he pointed out, that viticulture without plant protection is not possible.

Prof. Dr. Reinhard Töpfer, Director of JKI Federal research Center for Cultivated Plants Geilweilerhof in Siebeldingen, talked about the PIWI research activities. Photo: KS

Christoph Siebert from the Siebert & Schenk winery in Grünstadt is also convinced, that wine grapes need plant protection. He and his brother Johannes cultivate 40 hectares and they are just converting their production to organic viticulture. To protect the wine grapes from pests and diseases they are only allowed to use alternatives to chemical treatments like sulfur, copper and baking powder. “This year we have difficult conditions and we need to treat the grapes nearly weekly with baking powder”, said Christoph Siebert. He intends to plant PIWIS to reduce plant protection. “PIWIS will need less treatments and will therefore reduce our costs”, he said.

Vineyard Cloud: Digital tool improves management

The two brothers also implemented the digital management tool Vineyard Cloud to support the conversion to organic production. The GIS based process management is available for Android and iOS is particularly strong in the areas of route optimization, in networking with intelligent spraying systems and in fertilizers regulation documentation. Siebert works closely with Fabian Bartmann, the specialist for Vineyard Cloud of Raiffeisen Waren-Zentrale Rhein-Main eG (RWZ). RWZ holds a stake in the company Vineyard Cloud GmbH through its subsidiary Raiffeisen Ventures GmbH and has played a key role in the development of the software, which is consistently tailored to the requirements of viticulture. “In many discussions with our customers, we asked what a useful digital solution for a winery must be able to do,” explains Fabian Bartmann. “We then passed on the formulated requirements to the software developers. Now it’s a matter of bringing the practical tool into the field.” RWZ recommends Vineyard Cloud for farms larger than about 15 hectares.

Fabian Bartmann, RWZ, explains the use of Vineyard Cloud. Photo: KS

Digital solutions can also help to protect biodiversity

Digitalization plays also an important role at the farm of Dominique Bellaire. He and his family are already the third generation to run the Schmiedhof in Neupotz, a farm of almost 200 hectares. The 4th generation is already in the starting blocks and would like to continue the business. For this reason, the Bellaires are setting up the business for the future. Risk diversification is the keyword here: not specialisation in one area, but the combination of dairy farming and direct marketing with diverse crops, the sustainable orientation of the farm (low-CO2 dairy farming, integrated crop protection) and consistent digitalization. “My objective is not to maximise production, but to stabilize it”, he said.

By using forecasting models (Xarvio), Dominik Bellaire moves away from a rigid treatment of the grain and only treats when infections occur. The information of a digital weather station allows him to treat even more accurately. As parts of the farm belong to the “red area” (red areas have a surplus of nitrogen in the soil and fertilizers must be reduced to protect the ground water), Dominik uses partially specific sowing and fertilizing (-20% N). He therefore uses fertilizer specifically in the good regions and saves fertilizer on the weak ones.

Thanks to digitalization, Dominik Bellaire is able to integrate protection zones for skylarks and other ground breeding species in larger fields (create lark windows during sowing and then do not carry out plant protection in these areas later). Other measures can be seen by anyone who looks at the fields: biodiversity stripes with wild herbs and flowers frame the fields of the Schmiedhof. “If these stripes are permanent they attract a lot of insects, which help to keep the crops healthy”, he said.

Dominique Bellaire proudly presents biodiversity strips dividing the fields. Photo: KS

FarmNet monitors biodiversity

The success of the biodiversity measures is monitored by the initiative FarmNet of the company BASF. The aim of FarmNet is to find out which measures are both effective in promoting biodiversity and practical to implement. The results of the ten years project show, that the number of skylarks raised by almost 40 % and there have been significant increases in the population of ground breeding species, wild herb species and insects. Dominique Bellaire also appreciates the exchange with other farmers in FarmNet, who try to innovate their farms. “To my opinion rigid adherence to a system is wrong”, he said. His measures show that sustainable practices can also be productive.

Lisa Bellocchi, President of ENAJ, thanks Christian Seelmann, Head of Technology Raiffeisen Waren-Zentrale Rhein-Main eG, for the support of the press tour. Photo: KS

Furthermore the journalists visited the fruit and vegetable farm Fehmel in Mutterstadt and the winery Hörner, Hainbachhof GbR in Hochstadt. They learned to know the farmers and their farms and they will tell the audience in their countries about new practices, which were successfully implemented in the Palatinate. This press tour was a good example for the activities of the European Network of European Agricultural Journalists ENAJ and how ENAJ and agricultural journalists support innovation transfer to agricultural practice. The press tour was supported by Raiffeisen Waren-Zentrale Rhein-Main eG RWZ and BASF.


Study: Information needs, preferences, and information behaviour of European farmers, foresters and advisors

The problem-solving strategies of primary sector practitioners rely largely on online resources. This is a main result of a study conducted by researchers of the EU EUREKA project in 2020.

In an increasingly digital working environment, farmers, foresters, and agricultural advisors are relying more and more on online searches for professional questions. This is one of the main findings of a survey, which was carried out by researchers from the EU´s EUREKA project in 2020. While peer-to-peer information and printed materials still play an important role in the information process, web searches are used by 83 % of the interviewed persons. The survey also showed that video and image-based online information plays an important role in the information process. The aim of the survey was to gain insights into the information behaviour of EU farmers, foresters, and advisors. From April to June 2020, 40 people from 20 EU countries were interviewed (15 farmers, 13 advisors to farmers, 7 foresters, and 5 advisors to foresters). 58 % of the practitioners said, that they were looking for video-based online information. This reflects the practical and ´do it yourself” attitude of farmers: Videos are needed to learn about technologies and farming practices. Advisors need videos as an information tool.

45 % of the practitioners said that they search for pictures, images, and photos. Images are often searched for when quick information is needed. 70 % of the interviewed farmers, foresters, and advisors also use smartphone applications for professional purposes. For example, apps for precision farming, precision irrigation, and weather forecasting. Social media is a main source of information for 65 % of the interviewed practitioners. They use social media to gather information on specific topics and as a virtual space for exchange.

The results of the Horizon 2020-funded EUREKA project provides an important contribution to the development of the agricultural and forestry knowledge platform EU-FarmBook. A better understanding of the information behaviour of European farmers, foresters and advisors helps to adapt the platform to the needs of the target groups. Szabolcs VÁGÓ from the research team says: “The strong need for an easy-to-use information system that provides reliable and useful information for farmers, foresters and advisors became apparent during the research.”

Based on the results of the study, conclusions can be drawn for the development of future information offerings, for the exchange and dissemination of knowledge and innovation, especially with the background that practitioners have little time for long research in their busy daily work. The peer-reviewed study entitled “Information behaviour of farmers, foresters, and advisors in the context of digitalisation in the EU” has been published in the journal “Studies in Agricultural Economics” in 2023 and is available here.

Dr. VÁGÓ Szabolcs
Institute of Agricultural Economics Nonprofit Kft. (AKI);
Publisher Headquarters: Zsil utca 3-5, 1093-Budapest, Hungary

Gábor KIRÁLY, Szabolcs VÁGÓ, Emily BULL, Laurens van der CRUYSSEN, Tyler ARBOUR, Pieter SPANOGHE and Lisa van DIJK

Studies in Agricultural Economics

The framework of this study is provided by a Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Action project.


Consortium of EU-FarmBook meets in Tallin: Platform will soon be ready for uploads

EU-FarmBook will soon be ready for uploads, resolved the project consortium during their June meeting in Tallinn. All efforts will be concentrated on informing potential contributors. The Centre of Estonian Rural Research and Knowledge (METK), who hosted the meeting, was the first Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation System (AKIS) in Europe to announce their commitment.

Minister Madis Kallas: EU-FarmBook supports green transition

Madis Kallas, Minister of Regional Affairs, welcomed personally the EU-FarmBook consortium in the Ministry of Rural Affairs in the center of Tallin. “European green transition can give rise to many questions, answers to which may differ by country. EU-FarmBook could help bring together the output of scientific research and offer innovative solutions to producers. They would be able to search the database for practical information on how to better cope with the challenges raised by the green transition”, he said, and underlined: “I am proud to say that Estonia is one of the pioneers in transitioning agricultural and rural sectors to digital governance”.

Madis Kallas, Minister of Regional Affairs welcomed Pieter Spanoghe and the EU-FarmBook Consortium in Estonia

Estonia is a role model

Pieter Spanoghe from Ghent University, General Coordinator of EU-FarmBook, thanked the minister for the hospitality on behalf of the consortium and pointed out: “We are looking towards the contribution of Estonia, and we hope, that many other countries will follow”. Estonia’s plan is to link the national knowledge and networking platforms with EU-FarmBook.

Helena Pärenson from the R&D Department of the Ministry of Rural Affairs  presented the CAP support measures in Estonia

The Baltic state is an early adopter on digitalisation in agriculture: The first digital platform to share agricultural knowledge went online in 2001 ( and in 2007 a national rural network platform followed (

Konstantin Mihhejev, Hanna Tamsalu and Pille Koorberg from the Centre of Estonian Rural Research and Knowledge (METK) and members of the EU-FarmBook Consortium explained the AKIS environment in Estonia

Currently, METK is working on elaborating a new technical online platform to bring all relevant information for farmers, foresters, and other rural actors under one umbrella. “If all EU member states would support the new platform in the same way as Estonia, the platform would soon reach its goal to be the point of reference for farmers, foresters, and advisors”, Pieter Spanoghe resumed.

Contributors should contact EU-FarmBook Coordinator

The uploading needs some preparation: Details on the information, the so-called knowledge objects, and the publication rights have to be verified in advance. The Ghent University coordination team is preparing a form with all the needed information and the details will be communicated by the communication channels of EU-FarmBook soon. The project coordinator of EU-FarmBook will also provide this information upon request. Please contact:

  • Pieter Spanoghe:

 “There is so much expertise of AKIS in Europe, please share it on EU-FarmBook and make it accessible to the practitioners”, emphasized Pieter Spanoghe. The goal of EU-FarmBook is to support farmers and foresters in tackling numerous challenges such as climate change and the transformation of agriculture and forestry.


The road to sustainability in agriculture 2023

More than 230 participants and 800 online viewers joined the Sustainability Conference of the EU-FarmBook partner CEJA, the European Council for Young Farmers in Brussels, Belgium to discuss the road to sustainability in agriculture.

In May, more than 230 participants and 800 online viewers followed the invitation of the European Council for Young Farmers (CEJA) to discuss the road to sustainability in agriculture in Brussels, Belgium. CEJA, as the representative of young farmers and partner of the EU-FarmBook project, brought together young farmers, stakeholders and decision-makers to discuss how to create sustainable agriculture for the future.

Diana Lenzi, former President of CEJA (2021 – 2023), welcomed Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President for the European Green Deal of the European Commission. He emphasized the importance of hearing the ideas of young farmers to create a sustainable future. In his speech he said: “The European Green Deal is actually only possible because young people, across the European Union, went into the streets and demanded a future.” The Conference was a great moment to state and strength the fact that young farmers want to be part of the debate also contribute to the solutions, said Diana Lenzi, former President of CEJA (2021 – 2023)

During the conference, young farmers presented stories from the field about topics included how to enable sustainability at farm level, the importance of soils for sustainability, animal welfare, smart farming and the challenges of the generational renewal.

In addition to the panels, there were also information stands where visitors could exchange ideas and network. Representatives of the EU-FarmBook Project gave information about the soon to be launched online platform, which will provide relevant information for farmers, foresters, and other rural actors and to support the objectives of the Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy of the EU policy agenda. They took the opportunity not only to inform but also to listen. They were particularly interested in the expectations of young farmers and how the platform could serve them best. “It is important that we from EU-FarmBook support farmers on their road to sustainability by giving them the online platform that we are developing and that gives them the floor to exchange their best practices, all their challenges and solutions”, said Scientific Coordinator of EU-FarmBook Inge De Bo from Ghent University.

Interview with Inge De Bo, Scientific Coordinator of EU-FarmBook
Interview with Diana Lenzi, former President of CEJA (2021 – 2023)

More information on the work of the CEJA can be found on its website, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram.


Subscribe to the EU-FarmBook Newsletter

EU-FarmBook, ATTRACTIS, modernAKIS, und PREMIERE, all funded by the European Unions´s Horizon Europe program have launched their joint newsletter in April 2023.

EU-FarmBook, ATTRACTIS, modernAKIS, and PREMIERE, funded by the European Unions´s Horizon Europe program have launched their joint newsletter in April 2023.

All four projects aim to empower the rural sector and its actors in the implementation of the Green Deal and the growing environmental, social and economic challenges. All projects believe that this empowerment should be based on the development of knowledge-based innovative solutions that can solve real practical problems faced by farmers or foresters. Networking and information sharing is a key element in achieving the common objectives. For a better exchange of information and an effective and optimized flow of knowledge, we would like to offer a joint newsletter.

It will provide comprehensive information on the highlights of the four EU projects.

Subscribe here.


EU-FarmBook Platform

On the 21st of February 2023, the EU-FarmBook project (Horizon Europe) will organise the EU-FarmBook Platform Day (at the Palace of the Belgian Academies) in Brussels, Belgium (Physical Meeting Only). This event aims to optimise the interoperability of digital knowledge sharing of the EU-FarmBook and other Horizon Europe projects, the CAP-network, and national networks, as well as to foster the digital community.

The EU-FarmBook is being developed to test a big idea: “Can all the Tangible Outputs of EU-Funded Research and Innovation Projects be brought together and organized in one User-Friendly Platform to help get Practical Knowledge into the hands of Farmers, Foresters, and Advisors across Europe who need it most?” The challenges to doing this are great:

The challenges to doing this are great:

  • Data (Base) Quality.
  • Compatibility Issues
  • Language Barriers
  • Intergenerational Considerations

However, EU-FarmBook believes that the future of agriculture and forestry innovation in Europe is digital, and requires a vastly increased and improved digital exchange of knowledge between EU regions and Member States, as well as between different agricultural stakeholders: Researchers, Policy-Makers, SMEs, Advisors, Farmers, and Foresters.

EU-FarmBook is the result of two EU-funded Horizon 2020 “sister” projects, EURAKNOS and EUREKA, which have brought together diverse partners to work together using a multi-actor approach. Please visit the websites and check out this short video to learn more.

The day will include plenary presentations on interoperability with the EU-FarmBook platform, 3 keynote speeches as well as parallel sessions.

Final Program

  • 08:30 – Registration of Participants
  • 09:15 – Introduction by Pieter Spanoghe (UGent, BE)
  • 09:30 – Ana Patricia Lopez (EC – DG AGRI) & Inge Van Oost (EC – DG AGRI)
  • 10:05 – Presentation on the EU-FarmBook by Hercules Panoutsopoulos (Agricultural University of Athens, GR), Louis Powell (Maastricht University, NL) and Christopher Brewster (Maastricht University, NL)
  • 10:45 – Questions
  • 10:55 – Coffee-Break
  • 11:25 – 3 Keynote Speeches: Testimonials of Existing Platforms
  • 12:05 – Guidelines for the Parallel Sessions
  • 12:15 – Lunch
  • 13:15 – Parallel Sessions
  • 14:45 – Coffee-Break
  • 15:15 – Parallel Sessions
  • 16:15 – Panel Discussion
  • 17:05 – Closing by Inge De Bo (UGent, BE) – Next Steps
  • 17:15 – End of the event

Parallel Sessions

  • The EU-FarmBook and Thematic Networks

What: Working towards a common template for uploading knowledge objects and representing Thematic Networks on the EU-FarmBook.
Target Audience: People with knowledge about the meta-data of their project, communication of their project and IT-infrastructure.

  • The EU-FarmBook and National Authorities for Knowledge Reservoirs

What: Establishing conditions for interoperability with national Knowledge Reservoirs
Target Audience: People with knowledge about the meta-data of their project, IT-infrastructure to set-up or maintain a national knowledge reservoir and IT-strategy

  • The EU-FarmBook Digital Community

What: Establishing conditions for setting up an online community for end-users on the EU-FarmBook
Target Audience: People with knowledge of legal issues with regard to online communities, with strategies for starting and managing online communities

  • The EU-FarmBook Conceptual Design

What: Re-using components from existing ontologies and vocabularies for a robust technical design of the EU-FarmBook
Target Audience: People with knowledge about agricultural ontologies and/or setting up such ontologies + people working in EU-funded, agriculture- and forestry-related Multi-Actor projects (bringing in domain expertise)

The event will take place at:
The Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts
Paleis der Academiën
Hertogsstraat 1
1000 Brussel

For any questions, please contact Laurens Van der Cruyssen


EU-FarmBook Online Workshop

EU-FarmBook is hosting an Online Workshop on January 26th (10:00 – 12:00 CET and 14:00 – 16:00 CET) to understand the State-of-Play of Online Knowledge Reservoirs at the National and Regional Levels (as part of the AKIS Strategic Approach in CAP Plans).

Many of the newly adopted CAP Strategic Plans for the 2023-2027 period include Online National/Regional “Knowledge Reservoirs for Practice” to support the implementation of the AKIS Strategic Approach presented in Section 8 (Modernisation: AKIS and digitalisation) of the CAP Plans.

The current status of these National/Regional Knowledge Reservoirs varies greatly, and it is understood that Member States are keen to share experiences and expectations regarding their development and management, especially since there is the possibility to save costs and avoid overlapping work and duplication of effort.

The Workshop will promote the potential of linking as many National/Regional “Knowledge Reservoirs for Practice” as possible with the EU-Level Knowledge Reservoir that is currently under development by the Horizon Europe-funded EU-FarmBook project.

The Online Event will aim to:

  • Receive Context from the European Commission about digital “Knowledge Reservoirs for Practice” as part of the AKIS Strategic Approach.
  • Exchange Experiences and Expectations with other Member States regarding the choice of themes and type of content, target audience, planning, technical development and management of digital “Knowledge Reservoirs for Practice”, possible collaborations.
  • Begin exploring potential connections to the EU-FarmBook.

See the Draft Program below:

Session 1
10:00 – Welcome and “Who is here?”
10:15 – Setting the scene
10:55 – EU-FarmBook – What is it?
11:10 – Preliminary Outcomes of the Survey on the State-of-Play of National/Regional Knowledge Reservoirs for Practice in the Member States
11:25 – Connecting to the EU FarmBook – How and What?
11:45 – EU-FarmBook Ambassadors – The Concept and “Who is Who?”
11:55 – Priority issues for discussion in Session 2

Session 2
14:00 – Welcome back and explanation of Session 2
14:15 – Knowledge Exchange on the State-of-Play and expectations from Digital Knowledge Reservoirs for Practice among Member States
15:15 – Presentation and Consolidation of the Knowledge Exchange Session
15:45 – Next Steps: EU-FarmBook Platform Day in Brussels on 21st February


EU-FarmBook kick off in Florence, Italy

In October 2022, in Florence, Italy, representatives of the 29 EU FarmBook partner organisations from 18 European countries met for the first face-to-face project meeting.

The first face-to-face EU-FarmBook project meeting of took place in Florence, Italy, in October 2022. 29 partner organizations from 18 European countries followed the invitation of the Italian Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, a member of the project consortium. The face-to-face meeting was preceded by several digital meetings in preparation of the official project launch in August 2022. The aim of the meeting was to discuss successful collaboration in a multi-actor project that brings together expertise from different disciplines.

Project Coordinator Pieter Spanoghe from Ghent University compared the collaboration to preparing a meal: “For having a good meal you need some ingredients. The project´s work packages bring together all the ingredients needed to prepare a nice meal.” If you combine the expertise and bring all the ingredients together, you get a very good product. To keep the common goal in mind, the participants received an EU-FarmBook apron. In the EU-FarmBook project, 29 EU partner organizations are working to build a Europe-wide digital platform that collects and shares agricultural and forestry knowledge. The idea is to bring together the tangible results of EU-funded research and innovation projects on a user-friendly platform and provide a useful and effective tool for farmers, foresters and advisors across Europe.

The platform is based on a co-creation approach and builds on the results of the previous EURAKNOS and EUREKA projects. As a coordinator, Ghent University is responsible for the overall management of the project. Ghent University is an internationally renowned, open, pluralistic and socially engaged university in Belgium.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the European Commission can be held responsible for them.
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