Newsflash 7, 1 September 2015 by the EIP-AGRI Service Point
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Experts wanted for EIP-AGRI Focus Groups: deadline 7 September

Do you have practical experience or specific knowledge on

Read the call text and apply for the three new Focus Groups

You still have a few days to send us your application to be part of one of the new three EIP-AGRI Focus Groups.

If you have experience with one of these issues and could help find practical solutions, then please apply! If you know other people who may be interested, then please forward this email to them.
Last call for applications to join new EIP-AGRI Focus Groups.

Closing date for applications: Monday 7 September 2015 23:59 hrs CET (Brussels time).

Apply here.

Focus Group: Mixed Farming Systems: Livestock/Cash crops

First meeting: 24-25 November 2015 

Question: How to develop livestock / cash crop interactions and promote their benefits as a sustainable alternative to farm or territorial specialisation?

Specialisation of farming systems led to the separation of livestock rearing and crop cultivation. It has mostly been driven by economies of scale and of agglomeration, however, with certain consequences: pollution due to an excess of manure and slurries, dependence on external inputs and fodder/feed, loss of biodiversity, lower resilience to climate and market changes.

Mixed farming systems can contribute to tackling these issues. In mixed farming systems, different agricultural practices are associated to optimise resource efficiency, reduce and re-use waste, reduce dependency on external inputs and increase farm productivity and resilience by diversifying the sources of income.

Different mixed farming systems exist and are being (or have been) used. Among other mixed systems, the Focus Group will work on the combination of livestock and cash crops that can enable European agriculture to become more resilient and environment-friendly without neglecting farm competitiveness.

The Focus Group will tackle mixed systems at farm and at landscape/territorial level, as a combination of specialised farms exchanging resources among them, and will consider challenges and opportunities to maintain or develop the synergies between livestock and cropping systems. 


Focus Group: Benchmarking of Farm Productivity and Sustainability Performance 

First meeting:  8-9 December 2015

Question: How can farmers and advisers use benchmarking data and processes to improve farm productivity and sustainability performance? 

Different farm assessment tools have been used in Europe for many years for benchmarking productivity and sustainability performance. In the last decades, a number of schemes have been developed for a wider assessment and benchmarking of the resource use and environmental performance either at farm level or throughout the whole supply chain (i.e. per kg of product).

Some of these also include aspects such as animal welfare and social, ethical or health criteria and some tools integrate information across all dimensions of sustainability (environmental, social, economic).

The schemes also differ in terms of levels of assessment (per farm, region and land area or per kg of product), indicator types (process-oriented vs. results- / outcome-based), data requirements and degree of indicator integration (e.g. composite indicators). 


Focus Group:  Reducing emissions from cattle farming

First meeting:   2-3 February 2016

Question: How to reduce cattle livestock emissions in a cost effective way for farmers?  

Livestock emissions have an impact on the environment. They contribute to greenhouse gases and acidification and affect human health. Therefore, legislation has been introduced with the aim to reduce such emissions.

For many years strategies and measures have been developed to reduce emissions from livestock. Best available practices have been developed for pig and poultry farming. For cattle, on the other hand, such best available practices have not been developed to the same extent. This Focus Group will discuss Nitrogen (NH3, N2O, NO and NO2) and Methane emissions from cattle and ways to reduce these emissions that are cost-effective or may even result in benefits for farming. Both dairy and beef production will be taken into account. Both outdoor grass based systems and indoor systems and their specific perspectives will be looked into.

The main focus will be on in-stable manure management practices and on feeding management practices that reduce these emissions. 


EIP-AGRI Focus Groups bring together 20 experts, including farmers or foresters, advisers, researchers and agri-business representatives, to collect and summarise knowledge on best practices in a specific field, listing problems as well as opportunities.

They take stock of the state of play in research and practice and highlight possible solutions to the problems identified. Based on this, the groups suggest and prioritise innovative actions.

They identify ideas for applied research and for testing solutions in the field, and propose ways to disseminate good practices and inspire further action.

Read the EIP-AGRI brochure
The EIP-AGRI Service Point is based in Brussels. You can reach us from Monday to Friday from 9:00 – 17:00. By phone +32 2 543 73 48 or email

Further information can be found on the EIP AGRI homepage

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