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National Rural Network


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Newsletter on Agriculture & Innovation April 2018




Kirsten Wosnitza, who runs a dairy farm in Löwenstedt (Germany), has been working on farm resilience. “We try to run a system that suits the site, size and resources of our farm, the amount of labour we have available, our own preferences and the amount of risk we are willing to take.” Read the full interview.

Fruit farmer Frank Spaethe from Germany was growing sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides), selling to local companies who produce juices and jams. Noticing that the demand for unusual and rare fruits was increasing and that there were very few producers, he decided with his agricultural adviser to experiment this type of supply chain further. Teaming up with a university, a research centre and a marketing company, they set up the Operational Group Wild Fruits. Read more.


The latest call for experts closed on 3 April 2018. Many thanks to everyone who applied and to those who helped spread the call. We received 56 applications for ‘New feed for pigs and poultry’, 37 for ‘Protecting fruit production from frost damage’ and 55 for ‘Reducing food loss on the farm’. The selected experts will be informed by 23 May.

Farm resilience is the capacity of the farming system to cope with problems or unforeseen disturbances, while at the same time maintaining usual production. The EIP-AGRI Focus Group on Robust and Resilient dairy farming has produced its final report and factsheet, presenting techniques and solutions for increasing the resilience of EU dairy farms. Download the report and factsheet here.

The EIP-AGRI Workshop ‘Innovation in the supply chain: creating value together’ took place in Lyon (France) in February 2018. It brought together 48 Operational Groups and 9 research projects, including Horizon 2020 multi actor projects, all working on supply chains or similar subjects. More details on the projects in the event booklet. Download the final report.

You can now search through around 400 Operational Groups from across the EU. Go to the EIP-AGRI website, click My EIP-AGRI, choose the ‘Operational Groups’ section and browse through the map.


The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. LIFE aims to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental and climate policy and legislation by co-financing projects with European added value. The LIFE programme 2018 calls for proposals are now taking shape, find out how.

Innovation is an essential element of Horizon 2020. The evaluators are paying more and more attention to how project activities are expected to reach the market. Access4SMEs has developed a toolbox that supports project managers, especially SMEs, to adequately fill in the market and business dimensions of their close-to-market proposals in Horizon 2020. Take a look here.

The European Satellite Navigation Competition provides fast track support and business incubation for services, products and business ideas that use satellite navigation in everyday life, call from 1 May – 31 July 2018.

The Copernicus Masters is looking for ideas, applications and business concepts that use Earth observation data to solve important social and commercial challenges, apply before 30 June.


The Portuguese National Rural Network has launched a website dedicated to innovation in Portugal and in Europe that can contribute to more sustainability and productivity in agriculture, forestry and rural areas. The website also includes information on Operational Groups and other innovative projects that are taking place in Portugal. Read on.

This Horizon 2020 thematic network aims to help organic pig and poultry farmers use 100% organic and regional feed. Project coordinator Bram Moeskops: “Increasing the availability of organic and regional feed will further improve the sustainability of organic agriculture. OK-Net EcoFeed will work with farmers, breeders and the organic feed industry to make practical solutions available to improve the use of organic and regional feed.” Read more.

The European Evaluation Helpdesk for Rural Development has published guidelines offering advice on how to carry out evaluation activities for answering the common evaluation questions related to innovation. The document is useful for managing authorities, evaluation experts, National Rural Networks and also Operational Groups. Read on.

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