The German Contractors Lohnunternehmen magazine asked Klaus Pentzlin as BLU president for an assessment of where Contractors fit into the new future European Commission agricultural policy.
Question: Does the foundation of the Future Commission aim in the right direction from your perspective?
Klaus Pentzlin: Basically, I support such a body. Because the economic and ecological challenges of agriculture are multifaceted – just like the criticism from politics and society of agriculture in its previous form. It is therefore right to bring all relevant groups together around a table and to work out open-ended solutions for the future.
However, the emphasis is on “all relevant” and on “open results”. Unfortunately, neither of the two is possible due to the selected composition of the Future Commission. For example, the Federal Association of Machine Rings and the Federal Association of Contractors do not belong to this commission, although both have offered their support. The only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that this is clearly not what the farmers’ association, which is responsible for putting the commission together with “Land creates connection”, and what the responsible federal ministries are unwilling to do.
Question: Why would the participation of the BLU and the BMR in the Commission be important?
Klaus Pentzlin: One of the goals of the commission is supposed to be to develop “practical recommendations for productive and resource-efficient agriculture”. Who has made this productivity and resource conservation possible in the past decades? To a high degree the professional service providers! In particular, technology and other means of production were and are used efficiently, also in the economic sense. And that will apply even more in the future! Because in terms of digitization, documentation and ecology alone, agriculture itself will be less and less able to utilize the required technology economically.
The composition of the Commission clearly shows that the main focus is on the wishes and ideas of consumers, the food trade, environmental groups and politicians. All of this is important and good – but the implementation of this must be economically justifiable for agriculture. And that is not achieved through cents from animal welfare programs. The key to technical and economic feasibility lies in the professional and future-oriented services of the contractors, which go far beyond field work. Today we can already provide the complete documentation and transparency of production and thus security that the food industry and consumers want. In my opinion, this will be ignored in the Commission round. And it would be important
Question: What does this mean for the work of the BLU?
Klaus Pentzlin: Others talk, we act. That is why we will continue on the path of consistent further development of modern contracting companies and innovative service concepts. Our industry is well positioned in this regard, but our members also face major challenges when it comes to tackling future challenges. Because especially in the course of digitization, farmers and contractors have to pay more attention than ever to keeping their freedom of choice and action.
If we – together with agriculture – do not offer any solutions ourselves, they will be presented to us by third parties, be it from industry, wholesale or politics.
In this regard, it is five to twelve anyway. That is why I regret all the more that the practical view is so underrepresented in the said commission.
(Republished from the German Contractors Assoction BLU magazine Lohnunternehmen magazine on July 24, 2020)