A pro from field to market
The “Zülpicher Börde” is a farming region in the western part of Germany. Here is where Heinrich Esser runs the family farm – in the 6th generation at least – of around 150 hectares about an hour’s drive west of Cologne.
As steeped in tradition as Esser’s farm is, this is also where the future of agriculture is being shaped: Heinrich is a pilot partner in the “ClimatePartner Agriculture” project jointly run by BASF and RWZ. The goal: use science-based data from the field to investigate how CO2 emissions can be reduced while maintaining high crop quality and yield. So, not just more, but better yields.
Participation out of conviction
For Heinrich Esser, taking part in the project was a no-brainer. What mainly convinced him was that “ClimatePartner Agriculture” is a long-term project over ten years and that it focuses on climate protection together with quality and yield. “I was surprised no one had thought about investigating this earlier,” he says. Heinrich’s interest in new ways of farming and innovation is reflected in the way his family’s farm is structured: the main focus is on cereals, potatoes and special crops, like strawberries. This year he also started cultivation trials with safflower and nasturtium.
Esser’s farming operation is also at the forefront when it comes to supporting biodiversity. Through wildflower strips, set-aside areas, wide rows and other measures, Heinrich makes sure ecological aspects aren’t neglected, even if the additional costs isn’t negligible. He’s just as proactive on the business side come harvest time: he supplies his potatoes and other produce directly to local food retailers.
“ClimatePartner Agriculture” is the kind of project that enables him to break new ground and better prepare his farm for the challenges of the future.