Robert Kaufmann, president of EurAgEng, invited us today to attend the AgEng 2014 conference, an international conference on agricultural engineering, held every two years in Europe. The conference looks at the engineering advancements being made in Europe’s ag sector, primarily in the areas of resource efficiency and making farming more sustainable.
A bunch of different topics are covered. Among them: biomass and renewable energy, machinery automation, controlled traffic farming, animal welfare, and grassland and fertilizer management.
This next AgEng conference is scheduled for July, 2014, and takes place in Zurich. Switzerland is a country known as “the land of cows.” Its cattle population in 2010 totaled 1,591,233 (of which 700,315 are cows), according to the information portal swissworld.org.
Here is a look at some other key facts and figures about Switzerland taken from the site:
- The Swiss are concerned that economic activity should have as little impact as possible on the environment. Switzerland's energy and transport policies aim to be environmentally friendly.
- Agriculture is such an important part of Swiss life that its role is enshrined in the country's constitution. It exists not merely to produce food; it also has the duty of preserving the countryside and to ensuring that decentralized regions remain inhabited.
- However, although many people still view Switzerland as a country of farmers and cows, the percentage of people working in agriculture and the size of farms is very much around the European Union average. About four per cent of the working population is employed in agriculture and forestry, and the number continues to fall.
- According to figures gathered in 2009, Switzerland has some 1,055,684 ha (2,608,652 acres) in agricultural use. The size of the average farm was 21.5 hectares (52 acres), up from 11.5 (28.42 acres) in 1990. There is a marked trend towards fewer and larger farms. In 2009 the total number of farms was 44,992, a drop of 47% since 1990 (92'815 farms).
- Three quarters of the farmed area in Switzerland is devoted to meadows and pastures, as both climate and terrain make most of the country unsuitable for crops. Cereals and vegetables are limited to the lowlands. About one third of farms are engaged in crop production.
For more information on the AgEng 2014 conference in Zurich, Switzerland, visit www.ageng2014.ch.