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Book of Abstracts

11th IFOAM
Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996
Copenhagen, Denmark

Abstract front page
Subject index
Athor index


Ethical account to stimulate value reflections on livestock farms S27

Niels Halberg

Danish Institute of Animal ScienceP.O. Box 39DK-8830 Tjele

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While Danish organic farming rules have evolved from grass roots movements and express the compromise between ideals of sustainable agriculture and farmers economic concern, recently rules have been formulated on a national as well as international level in order to standardize the regulation of organic farming. Moreover, a high number of recently converted farmers have not participated much in the value debate within the organic farming movement. This raises the questions : Do the excisting rules secure that organic farming is more sustainable than conventional farming today and in the next century? And, how can we stimulate a continous discussion of the current results of organic farming in relation to the ideals on as well farm level as higher levels? A farm account system that includes other values than production economics is proposed to stimulate reflection among farmers about their farm's effect on environment, resource use and the wellbeing of the farm family and the animals. Indicators include among others:

Nitrogen and phosphorus surplus (kg/ha) and efficiency.

Energy use efficiency (MJ fossil energy/kg milk).

Indicators of landscape ecological impact (% weed in grain crops, status of small biotopes).
Consequences of housing system and management for livestock well being.
The farm family's non economic values.

This »ethical« account is developed in a multidisciplinary project together with commercial farmers. The ethical acconting will consist of several components with the overall aim of facilitating a learning process for the farm family:
-group discussions and farm family reflexions in order to formulate farm specific personal goals and values to be included in the account,
-several accounting cycles where budgets are made and the yearly acconunt with all indicators is presented to the farmer,
-a multi objective strategic planning process with the aim of finding farm specific limits and possibilities for balancing conflicting goals.

It is suggested that the concept could stimulate discussion within the organic movement to secure continous development of goals and methods for organic farming. Figures from the first account cycles on dairy farms will be presented.