The scenario is intense: piglets and chicks freezing to death, broken down tractors, unmilked cows. The German Farmers’ Association (DBV) has urgently warned of the consequences of gas and electricity shortages if the gas supply from Russia were to collapse after all.

In addition to the demand to give the food industry priority for energy supplies in an emergency, the association presented a whole wish list of further simplifications for farmers – from loan assistance to the postponement of approved ecological measures to the more flexible use of harvest workers. From the point of view of environmental organizations, however, what is not on the list is revealing.

One thing is clear: the blockade of the Ukrainian ports has caused the price of wheat to rise enormously. This raises fears of hunger. Unlike the EU, regions of the world in Asia, Africa and the Middle East do not supply themselves, but are dependent on exports from the country and Russia. In addition, the prices for artificial fertilizers, which require a lot of expensive energy to produce, are rising.

“We expect a critical supply situation until after the 2023 harvest,” said the deputy general secretary of the farmers’ association, Udo Hemmerling. “Consumers will notice further increases in prices in the coming days and weeks.”

While farmers’ representatives are complaining about rising costs, the association left it open how much farmers’ profits are soaring because of the surprisingly rising world market prices. After all, the prices for wheat and milk have doubled compared to the previous year’s level due to the global uncertainties – and are therefore likely to have risen much more strongly than the costs.

“It may be that in one to two years the farmers will have significantly greater economic success. But they have to take higher risks to do this,” Hemmerling admitted when asked. Because of this uncertainty, unlike in other high-price phases, he does not expect significantly increasing volumes.

In addition, some farmers are not yet benefiting from the wheat price, for example, because they had entered into long-term contracts at the old price level, he justified the demand for interest-free working capital loans.

Among other things, he suggested that the cartel watchdogs should take a close look at the fertilizer producers. “We have the impression that some manufacturers have already reduced their production in the autumn and winter to take advantage of the high energy prices for gas intermediaries,” he said.

“Some of the demands have been on the back burner for a long time. Fewer requirements for seasonal workers have nothing to do with the crisis,” criticized Katrin Wenz from BUND to WELT.

On the other hand, some important points were missing. For example, the dairy industry can do without concentrated feed in order to save on vegetable food. Because of the high milk price, this should be economically manageable.

“In its proposals, the DBV does not address the excessive number of livestock in Germany. A large part of the grain is used for feeding them instead of for direct human nutrition,” criticized Christine Tölle-Nolting from Nabu.

Less biofuel from food would also be a way to bring more food onto the world market. Most recently, the environment ministers from the federal and state governments had unanimously called for less bio-alcohol to be added to petrol. However, these would be measures that would burden the farmers – and are therefore not on the DBV agenda.

In general, it is questionable how strongly the farmers’ association penetrates the federal government. In any case, Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir tweeted with a view to EU requirements: “Not climate

The Green politician has so far made fewer concessions on land than the farmers have been demanding again. However, the politician supports the idea that Brussels temporarily postpones crop rotation requirements so that wheat can be grown more often.

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