Veranstalter / Organizers:
Messe Berlin Website
Datum der Veranstaltung:
17-26 Jan 2025
International Green Week
17-26 Jan 2025

Farmer for a day - From the computer to the field

Ben Fehler, an IT specialist from Bonn, was curious to learn more about food production in Germany, so he took part in the "Farmer for a Day" campaign.

He noticed amazing parallels between the industries and is impressed by how innovative agriculture is positioned. Ben Fehler is a proponent of modernizing public administration, including speeding up work processes and application processing. As a digitization expert who grew up in an academic family in Cologne, the 35-year-old, like many other consumers, had little idea of the extensive tasks a farmer must perform to produce and sell products such as milk, eggs or pork. Today, Ben Fehler lives in Bonn with his partner and together they attach great importance to good and healthy nutrition. Due to his keen interest and ongoing questions about food production in Germany, he decided to apply to the Forum Moderne Landwirtschaft (Modern Agriculture Forum) to spend a day live at a farmer's work.

Tackling the farm of Timo & Katharina

About an hour's drive from Bonn, in Neunkirchen-Seelscheid, is the modern farm of Timo Wald and Katharina Mosler. On this farm they keep different kinds of animals like pigs, chickens and dairy cows.

"After a discussion of the daily routine, I first filled up chicken feed and collected eggs. Timo and Katharina have about 350 free-range chickens living in mobile coops in a meadow. The shelters on skids are regularly relocated with a tractor so that the grass underneath can grow back."

Ben Fehler (l.) refills chicken feed under the guidance of Timo Wald

Ben Fehler (l.) refills chicken feed under the guidance of Timo Wald, Copyright Timo Jaworr/Forum Moderne Landwirtschaft

He then helped the farmer move a herd of cows to another pasture. "Timo operates so-called mob grazing here. This means that there is always only short grazing on the respective areas with long rest periods for the pastures. In this way, the soil is better protected," is Fehler's summary after the excursion. Another quick insight was:

"Working on a farm is hard physical labor. Timo is out there 10 to 12 hours a day."

In addition to his tasks on the farm, the farmer has to spend hours doing office work and communicating with retailers and the authorities, he says. "I was very surprised at how many applications he has to fill out," Ben Fehler concluded after his visit to the farm.

Timo Wald (l.) and Ben Fehlers (r.) in the pasture with a herd of cows

Timo Wald (l.) and Ben Fehlers (r.) in the pasture with a herd of cows, Copyright Timo Jaworr/Forum Moderne Landwirtschaft

Parallels between the worlds

"I really enjoy my job as a digitizer and wouldn't want to be a farmer. But after realizing that agriculture, similar to the digital world, has to deal with a lot of prejudices, I offered to support Timo and simplify and update his website." Ben Fehler believes that farmers should take care of their own image and do more educational work. "It's similar in my industry. People are still debating why we need digitization at all. Citizens do want administrations to work faster, but without them using artificial intelligence or even storing data. That's contradictory, isn't it? And farmers are supposed to maintain a balance between animal welfare, environmental protection and successful business management, without the end customers wanting to contribute anything at all. I've really discovered a lot of parallels between our industries."

Ben notes at the end of his day as a farmer:

"I've developed a much better understanding of quality and now go shopping very differently. Most importantly, I pay attention to where the food comes from. I buy more regional and seasonal products now."

His participation in the "Farmer for a Day" campaign has sharpened Ben Fehler's eye for things: he used to be oblivious to many things when shopping, but this is now fundamentally different after his farm work.

"This article and further information on the topic of modern agriculture can be found on the website and in the magazine Stadt.Land.Wissen of our cooperation partner Forum Moderne Landwirtschaft: Farmer for a Day - Modern Agriculture ( Would you also like to be a "farmer for a day"? You can apply for the campaign at Green Week 2024."

Author:Daniela Breitschaft

Rural areas, Event farm

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