The image of the farmer has changed at least as much as agriculture itself in recent decades. She has long stepped out of the farmer’s shadow, is an entrepreneur, develops additional sources of income, teaches schoolchildren about healthy food and its production, teaches their parents how to cook with it, organizes traditional festivals in the village, has a seat and a vote in the municipal council or district council. The farmers also presented themselves with corresponding self-confidence at the countrywomen’s day in zeil.
At this annual meeting, the countrywomen from the habberge district cultivate a sense of community, but they also use it to publicize their concerns and provide insights into their work. The motto of the year is "that is home", and many of the speakers at the meeting confirmed to the countrywomen that they are very much involved in shaping this very home: through their profession, but also through their social and voluntary work. The countrywomen have existed as an independent group within the bavarian farmers’ association for 70 years.
District farmer cacilie werner was pleased to see the hall in zeil am tuchanger filled to capacity and noted that the term "home" has always been used to describe the region had long been burdened by abuse during the nazi era. In times of globalization and digitalization, however, home is an important antipole that is also becoming more important again for young people.
In times of ever-demanding mobility, sedentariness has become a gross privilege. Farming families had this privilege, because you can’t just move a farm like that. Because of their connection to the region, the farmers and farm women also felt called upon to make their homeland worth living in, for example through adult education and health initiatives.
She also attested to the high level of commitment to the region shown by the members of "unser steigerwald", for which they received "highest recognition paid tribute to.
Cacilie werner defended herself against distorted portrayals of agriculture and food production: "advertising suggests an idyll that does not exist and never existed." On the other hand, organizations without any knowledge of agriculture have distorted the image of the farmer. A farmer takes care of his animals "365 days a year", likewise about the soil, which is his production basis.
From the critics of agriculture, she wished for "more factual reference, expertise and respect instead of polemics and hurtfulness". Constructive criticism was faced by every farmer, as well as dialogue with the consumer.
Zeil’s mayor thomas stadelmann (SPD) and district administrator wilhelm schneider (CSU) thanked the countrywomen for their commitment to the region. After all, it is above all the farmers who shape the landscape and maintain it in its diversity, as it is appreciated by people seeking recreation, tourists and recreational athletes. "They don’t just stand by and watch, they lend a hand and thus strengthen the cohesion of our villages", the district administrator thanked them.
Parallels in terms of structural change shown by savings bank director peter schleich. Agriculture is struggling for reasonable prices for its products, the savings bank is struggling with the zero interest policy. And both had to deal with ever-increasing regulation and bureaucracy. That’s why farmers have had to make their sphere of influence as large as the savings bank. Schleich assured the women, however, that the merged savings bank would remain the region’s partner.
Dean jurgen blechschmitt explained that he had experienced home in various places around the world, from east africa to rugheim. It is important that those who are looking for a new home meet people who are willing to give them a new home. "Home doesn’t need borders, also no upper limits", said the clergy. This is true for colleagues from europe as well as for refugees.
Klaudia schwarz of the office for food, agriculture and forestry attributed a special role to women farmers in relation to consumers. More and more consumers are looking to regionally produced food, which is also gaining a new status in supermarkets. But the final consequence is often missing: "many want to eat high quality food, but buy it cheaply." Consumers lack knowledge about production, seasonality and preparation "and, above all, they have little time". "We have to make agricultural performance a tangible experience again", emphasized schwarz. And this is what women farmers do, for example, when they receive schoolchildren on the farm, go to schools as nutritionists and offer cooking classes in regional cuisine. But one should not be discouraged too early, because "reality too often beats good intentions, habit or price beats conscience".
The deputy district president of the BBV, alois kraus, also called on the countrywomen to act with self-confidence and to show their true colors. It is painful when "work is discredited by untruths or half-truths. And that mostly only to attract attention or to generate donations", he declared.
In the same context he put the debate about the future of the steigerwald: "don’t be discouraged by unobjective media reports. Go straight on your way if you are convinced that it is the right one", kraus encouraged those present.
Maria hobmann introduced herself as the new district farmer. She comes from a wine-growing farm. The parents recommended her a commercial education "so that I would have it better than them". Then she married a farmer. "I’m a farmer, and I’m doing very well", she declared confidently. Even if a little more appreciation for the performance of agriculture would be good. "The farming families give the landscape a face, cultivate traditions and community", she emphasized.
In addition to keynote speaker markus soder (we reported on this in yesterday’s issue), dialect author wilhelm wolpert and the countrywomen’s choir were also present at the women’s day. Its conductor, kirsten snater, immediately invited people to sing along in the choir. The next rehearsal will be on monday 5. February, starting at 7 p.M. At the mutzel inn in augsfeld.
This year, the obligatory donation from the countrywomen goes to felix estenfelder, who suffers from a rare genetic defect.