Review 2017

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In WS 2017/18, 1225 students were enrolled in the Department of Organic Agricultural Sciences. They were distributed among the individual courses of study as follows:

  • Bachelor Organic Agriculture: 741
  • Master Organic Agriculture: 178
  • Sustainable International Agriculture (SIA, cooperation with University of Göttingen): 171
  • International Food Business and Consumer Studies (IFBC, cooperation with Fulda University of Applied Sciences): 114
  • Sustainable Food Systems (Susfoods, cooperation with Fulda, Lyon, Gent, Cluj, Aarhus): 4
  • Exchange students: 4
  • Doctoral students: 44

As part of the Event Management module, the 25th Witzenhausen Conference was organized by the students from December 5 - 9 with 180 participants. This year the title was "The whole range - biological diversity as a strength of organic agriculture".

In the winter semester, a lecture series "Climate Change, migration, and violent extremism: the United Nations' role to prevent and volve the conflicts in the agricultural context" was organized by students especially of the Master IFBC.Larger excursions abroad took place to Denmark (Organic Agriculture course) and to Costa Rica (Master Sustainable International Agriculture).

In 2017, €7.2 million in third-party funding was raised in the Department of Organic Agricultural Sciences. In the summer semester, the doctoral program "Food Economics and Technology" was established in cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences Fulda.

About 102 articles from our department were published in scientific journals (peer reviewed) in 2017 (see websites of the individual departments). In addition, the textbook "Ecological Agriculture", to which many disciplines of the department contributed, was published. A total of 29 doctoral and two post-doctoral degrees were completed.

Of the large number of research projects carried out last year, the projects with several scientific cooperation partners that were completed or started in 2017 should be listed as examples.

Completed cooperation projects:

  • SAPDRY Aflatoxin contamination/ Moisture absorbing polymers (BMBF/ DLR).
  • Acoustic detection in silo systems (BLE).
  • C and N rhizodeposition in pea pure seed and in mixed cropping (DFG)
  • Improved soil fertility management for sustainable intensification ill potato based systems in Ethiopia and Kenya (CIP)
  • Healthy plants from healthy soils: Resilience and stability for organic cropping systems (Ekhaga Stiftelsen, Stockholm, Sweden)
  • Small-scale and dynamic analysis of microstructural rhizo- and drillosphere properties: porosity and physicochemistry and their importance for root growth, nutrient storage and delivery (DFG)
  • Visual communication to enhance innovation transfer in urban and peri-urban agriculture of Quagadougou (VW Stiftung)
  • WATERCOPE - Supporting national research capacity and policy development to cope with dwindling water resources and intensifying land use in the transborder Altay-Dzungarian region of Mongolia and China (IFAD)
  • New virus diseases in pea and field bean: status quo analysis and recommendations for action (BLE)
  • Doctoral Program for sustainable agricultural and food systems (SAFS) - Under the call for structured doctoral program: Between Europe and the Orient - A focus on research and higher education in central Asia and the Caucasus (Volkswagen Stiftung)
  • Methodology and methodology of research on farm animal welfare. A project within the Loewe focus animal-human-society. (LOEWE-State of Hesse)
  • Excellent cattle, excellent farmers: representation, identity formation and actor community in the mirror of awards (1780-2000). A project in the framework of the Loewe focus Animal-Human-Society. (LOEWE-Land Hessen)
  • Attitudes of the population towards (farm) animals (LOEWE project - State of Hesse).

Started cooperation projects:

  • Vegan organic products (BLE)
  • PigSys - Improving the performance of pig farming systems by applying a whole system approach (BLE)
  • SMOSYS - Grinding assistance system (Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank)
  • UPGRADE Plus (BLE)
  • AUTOWOHL- Automated recording of animal welfare indicators in poultry (BLE)
  • Promotion of organic farming - Measures, strategies and operational perspectives (Thünen-Institut)

The following faculty members or projects received awards in 2017:

  • Dr. Adriano Profeta (FG Agricultural and Food Marketing): Poster Award 2017 in the field of humanities and social sciences.
  • Ms. Marina Hethke (Tropical Greenhouse Uni Kassel): Zander Medal 2017 (initiated by the Association of Botanical Gardens).

The following members were appointed or elected to expert committees in 2017:

  • Prof. Dr. D. Möller (FG Business Administration): General Committee of the DLG e.V.
  • Prof. Dr. D. Möller (FG Business Administration): Committee for Business Consulting and Accounting of DLG e.V.
  • Prof. Dr. Jürgen Heß (FG Organic Agriculture and Plant Production): Sustainability Council of the State of Lower Saxony
  • Mrs. Hethke (Curator Tropical Greenhouse): "Expert forum nonformal/informal education" for the preparation of the National Action Plan Education for Sustainable Development.

The department conducted a variety of tours and informational events for groups of visitors. Larger events in 2017 were:

  • Lectures and information booth at Biofach in Nuremberg from 15-18.02.17.
  • Open house of the department and plant market of the tropical greenhouse on 30.04.2017.
  • Premiere of the Eco-Field Days from 21.06.-22.06.17 at the Frankenhausen domain.
  • Foodoctopia - crisis counter kiosk at Documenta 14 from June - September 2017.
  • Support of the exhibition of Abubakar Fofana at Documenta 14 by providing indigo plants from June - September 2017.
  • Annual conference of the University Association "Ways to improve animal welfare in agriculture" on July 21, 2017.
  • Participation of the Department of Soil Science in the fair "Technology to touch" on 24.09.2017 in Witzenhausen.
  • 60th Meeting of the Society for Crop Science e.V. from 26. - 28.09.2017 in Witzenhausen
  • Contribution to the "Kassel Summer School in Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods" with the module "Eye-Tracking in Social Research" from 9.10. and 10.10.
  • International DAAD Alumni Seminar "Smart and Adapted Technologies in Agriculture for Productive and Sustainable Land Use Systems in Developing Countries" November 6-13, 2017 in Witzenhausen.
  • The department was represented at the Agritechnica from 12 - 18.11.17 in Hannover.
  • Organization of the university day on the topic "Ways to improved management in organic livestock farming - cooperation of science, extension and practice" on 04.12.2017.

In 2017, 21 professors worked at our department together with a total of about 215 scientific and administrative-technical staff. Three professorships (Prof. Dr. Eva Schlecht, FG Livestock Production in the Tropics and Subtropics; Prof. Dr. Claudia Neu, FG Sociology of Rural Areas and Prof. Dr. Tobias Plieninger, FG Socio-Ecological Interactions in Agricultural Systems) belong equally to the University of Göttingen and the University of Kassel.

Prof. Dr. Tobias Plieninger has newly started as head of the department "Socio-ecological Interactions in Agricultural Systems" in WS 17/18. Dr. Adriano Profeta was recruited as an additional lecturer for statistics and empirical social research and Hannes Schulz as a lecturer for organic vegetable production and special crops MSc. The scientific position for Biodynamic Agriculture has been secured for another five years through co-financing by the Software Ag Foundation and has been filled by Dr. Jürgen Fritz and Dr. Daniel Kusche.In 2017, Mr. Kunick and Mr. Kölsch retired as long-time members of the department.

Changes in the Dean's Office: For the summer semester, Prof. Dr. Hamm took over the office of Vice Dean from Prof. Dr. Möller. In the winter semester, Prof. Dr. Ploeger took over the office of Dean of Studies from Prof. Dr. Ludwig.