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ILVO press release - Monday, May 6, 2019

Short-chain marketing facilitates ON FARM research by ILVO

ILVO is setting up a structural research collaboration with a number of farms active in short-chain farm marketing. The intention is a smart way of extending ILVO’s research acreage to include agricultural models not yet present on ILVO's own experimental farm. The initiative embodies the idea of LIVING LAB, an environment in which an existing practice is studied.
For the time being, 6 farms have been selected in Flanders, each with a different profile, product range and business plan. Marianne Hubeau (ILVO researcher): "In the short chain you can find very different formulas and types of farms. The search for sustainable added value creation and viability sometimes has ups and downs. With this initiative, ILVO hopes that the specific research needs will be detected and answered more quickly, so that useful new knowledge can also be made publicly available."

Win – Win?

The research relationship with ILVO is anchored in a collaboration agreement for 4 to 6 years. These farms are willing to act as 'pilot farm', meaning that there will be possibilities for information, analysis or co-creative experiments. Which ones exactly has not yet been determined but will be decided between the partners. The agenda can be set from both the research and production side.

ILVO has many existing contacts with short-chain farms; within that wide selection, ILVO sought to represent the largest possible diversity. "It goes from a cooperative pick-your-own vegetable farm, to a conventional dairy farmer with home processing and a milking robot, to a fruit (juice) company set up in an old farm that is in the process of switching to organic," says Marianne Hubeau (ILVO).

The organic goat farm “Klavertroef” is one of the ILVO short-chain research partners. They sell goat cheese in their own farm shop. "Our collaboration with ILVO started when we agreed to deposit our manure on the organic fields at ILVO. In the meantime, we have indicated our interest in relation to the business aspects of feed composition. And we are interested in working on the shelf life of (our) products", explains Peter De Cock (Klavertroef).
If the planning will require intensive additional effort from the farm, then the farmers will receive fair remuneration. "This is not a one-on-one innovation pathway where the results are only applied to the one farm in question. The aim is transparent communication to everyone in the sector," concludes Marianne Hubeau (ILVO).

Contact

Greet Riebbels: Communication ILVO, greet.riebbels@ilvo.vlaanderen.be
Marianne Hubeau: Researcher ILVO, marianne.hubeau@ilvo.vlaanderen.be