Tour 0: Farming in a challenging environment

Thursday 20 October 2016

0.1 Area Cooperative Midden Delfland Concretizing sustainability and biodiversity in a densely populated region.
0.2 Circular Farm J. Ras & Sons Den Bommel Circular farming in practice


0.1 Area Cooperative Midden – Delfland – Sustainable farming kringloopboeren1

Midden-Delfland is the green longue between Rotterdam and The Hague. This rustic rural area is for a large part under the stewardship of about 50 active dairy farmers. Due to the geographical and environmental constraints, they are not in a position to expand. Therefore, they have joined forces in creating additional value for their milk with innovative ideas. A large part of these farmers applies the principles of circular farming. Outdoor grazing and specific breeding choices underpin their aim to concretize sustainability and biodiversity.

kringloopboeren2They see the proximity of citizens, their consumers, as an opportunity to safeguard the continuity of their business and the vitality of the area. Dairy farmers, local authorities and citizens have jointly given shape to a study and innovation programme ‘Circular Farmers Midden-Delfland’.  In the frame of this programme, they cooperate to maintain an open, safe, attractive and ‘palatable’ landscape and to promote strong farms, resulting in a strengthened perspective for the whole area.

Early 2016 an own dairy product line was created to meet the demand for local and traceable products by the ever growing number of new food initiatives in the Rotterdam area.

The visit to the Area Cooperative Midden-Delfland will highlight the drivers for the choices made, the experiences with creating partnerships with authorities and regional organizations and the structuring of the cooperation. Information will be shared on the approaches taken with improving mineral efficiency, animal welfare and biodiversity with densely populated regions nearby.

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0.2 Circular Farm J. Ras & Sons – Den Bommel

The family-owned farm of J. Ras & Sons exploits 130 hectares for growing crop and 120 hectares of pasture for dairy farming. In recent years the farm heavily invested in a green, animal-friendly and profitable operation. The newly built dairy barn provides shelter for 300 milk cows and four automated milking systems. In this barn several innovative energy-saving ideas have been implemented, in lighting, in heat recovery and in manure processing.

The farms operates the first mono manure fermentation plant in the Netherlands. This installation Ras1converts cattle manure into biogas and then green natural gas. The gas is of high quality and is delivered directly into the natural gas network on the island of Goeree-Overflakkee, south of Rotterdam. The ambition of the local authorities is to have the island energy-neutral by 2020.

Jaap Jan Ras enthusiastically notes: “Our business stands for safe, nutritious and responsible food production with respect for animals and the environment. Filling in our stewardship is important for next generations. With these initiatives we contribute to a sustainable future for ourselves and our environment.”



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