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National Rural Network


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Newsletter on Agriculture & Innovation May 2018




Ted Duijvestijn and his brothers are Dutch tomato growers, they are creating a circular economy around their enterprise. “We use so much paper packaging, we thought it would be great if we could make our own with fibres from the leaves of our tomato plants.” They are also experimenting with bioplastics from tomato juice, tapenades from unsold fruit, geothermal energy and water reuse. Find out more.

Autumn in Finland is rainy and wet and grain needs to be dried so that it can be stored and used throughout the winter. An Operational Group in Finland is piloting a ‘smart’ dryer which can produce high-quality dried grain with less effort from the farmer and uses less energy than conventional dryers. Read on.


The EU-funded project ALG-AD is looking into a circular economy solution where excess waste nutrients from anaerobic digestion (AD) of food and farm waste are used to cultivate algal biomass for animal feed. Dr Carole Llewellyn from Swansea University explains “Algae require nutrients to grow and so the excess nutrients from AD of food and farm waste provide an essentially free, otherwise waste source of nutrients.” More info.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) recently confirmed thirteen EIP-AGRI Operational Group projects in Ireland. To display the depth and breadth of the projects, Ireland’s National Rural Network has developed a series of posters and an interactive Story Board which disseminate information on the projects nationally and internationally. Read on.

RISS, part of the Scottish Rural Network and led by Soil Association Scotland, will help farmers, foresters and crofters in Scotland explore business ideas. Brokers will help them form a working group to develop solutions. David Michie from Soil Association Scotland: “[We] will reach across Scotland and along the supply chain – getting the right people together to enable innovation.” Find out more.

“Sustaining a cohort of new entrants into agriculture is crucial to the vitality, resilience and competitiveness of the agricultural sector and rural regions in Europe” says Andries Visser from Horizon 2020 thematic network Newbie. The Newbie Network will feature the development and dissemination of new business models and create a unique online portal. More information.


With food production and short supply chains as its main theme, the fourth issue, released at the end of last year, includes inspirational ideas from Greece, Estonia, Poland, the UK and many more. Order your free copy via the EU bookshop or find all previous editions for download on the EIP-AGRI website.

The EIP-AGRI collects research needs from practice through workshops, seminars, Focus Groups, from activity reports by agricultural or forestry organisations and also through the online form (only for registered users). Download the annual report and find out the recurring themes.


Have you developed an innovative technique which contributes to a more sustainable and cost-efficient approach to the processing of manure? The Ivan Tolpe Award will give 2000 € to the best ideas dealing with a demand-driven problem (process optimisation, energy efficiency, optimal valorisation of the nutrients present in manure, etc.). Apply before October 2018.

“How can we use satellite technologies to improve agriculture and reduce environmental impact?” This is the main focus of the Farming by Satellite prize. Students and young professionals working on new ideas and innovations which use satellite systems can send in their entries before 7 September. 5000 € is available for the winner. Find out more.

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