St. Vildmosens Naturafgræsningsselskab (St. Vildmosen’s Natural Grazing Company)
SOCIALLY BENEFICIAL AGRICULTURE'S (SBA) INVOLVEMENT IN ST. VILDMOSEN’S NATURAFGRÆSNINGSSELSKAB
Later in 2015, it became known that the Environmental Protection Agency would take over the area, and the focus of the case changed from joint purchasing to joint leasing and to developing the vision for nature conservation and Vildmose products.
Together with Organic Denmark, a plan was agreed on how this task could be handled. However, the first period was spent discussing with the Nature Agency if it was possible to lease collectively. We prepared various information material concerning plans and agreements for how collective leasing would be handled between the company’s owners of capital.
Since it turned out that the entrepreneurial company could lease a large part of the land, SBA financed the work of developing a nature plan for the area. Furthermore, a calculation was prepared for a joint economy for nature conservation. It identified the actual costs of nature conservation and could be used to ensure that the parties incurring expenses would be reimbursed before any profit sharing.
The limited liability entrepreneurial company St. Vildmosens Naturgræsningsfællesskab IVS is a non-profit company. It costs DKK 4,000 to be co-owner/owner of capital, and interest is not paid on this amount. A capital owner must be an active animal farmer.
When the tender of the Nature Agency is available, a letter of intent will be sent to the capital owners of the company. They have first claim to previously-leased areas. When and if the company wins the tender and the desired areas are awarded, cf. the declarations, any additional areas will be evenly distrib-uted among interested capital owners.
Farmers in the limited liability company pay rent over a six-year agreement, which is counterbalanced by a basic payment and other additional subsidies. The actual rent is thus set off to DKK 0, assuming that no external and unforeseen costs come up.
- The leasing agreement is regulated annually according to the net price index
- Reservations for external regulations and changes to legislation
- Reservations for changes to subsidy amounts
- The fee is due in advance each 1 May; reimbursement takes place when the lessor receives the basic payment and other subsidies.
Example: The payment is DKK 3,000/ha, and the application is for a basic payment of DKK 1,900 with a conservation subsidy of DKK 1,650, plus any conversion subsidies for organic farming. The company earns a small amount, which is used for ad-ministration.
Nature conservation on these premises is a challenge from a liquidity perspective since the lease fee is due in April and the subsidies much later.
EXPERIENCE AND LEARNING
The farmers in Naturgræsningsfællesskabet (the Natural Grazing Community) have put in a lot of work to develop the company and demonstrated great willingness to cooperate with the Nature Agency. It has been both challenging and often frustrating to establish a new type of cooperation concerning nature conservation in a new company and to collaborate with the Nature Agency, for which the administration of St. Vild-mose was a new endeavour.
The dialogue with the authority has not been transparent, and ambiguous messages concerning prices, deadlines and terms for the tender have generated uncertainty among the farmers.
Despite this, the company remains focused on its vision. The challenge is to end up sharing this vision with the Nature Agency. At St. Vildmose and other places where there is a need and want for nature conservation, it would be very beneficial to establish an actual collaboration with landowners, based on long-term agreements and a common vision for the area, sup-plemented by a transparent and solidary leasing model.
• The Environmental Protection Agency assumed control of Ørnefennerne, Ringfennerne and Damfennerne in 2016, with the objective of reestablishing the moorland. The Nature Agency’s local forest district was responsible for the administration.
• Ørnefennerne became a protected area in 2000. The protection was intended to ensure the pasture structure as a cultural geographical example of the first cultivation and agricultural use of the marsh.
• Grazing and hay harvesting took place in the areas.
• Vildmosetilsynet (the Vildmose Authority) is responsible for inspection, removes unwanted growth and maintains windbreaks, ditches and roads.
• 18 farmers established St. Vildmosens Naturgræsningsselskab IVS.
• The objective of the company was to generate synergy between nature conservation and animal welfare, to maintain and disseminate the culture history, to develop special meat production and to create local workplaces.