Review 2019

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In WS 2019/20, 1208 students were enrolled in the Department of Organic Agricultural Sciences. They were distributed among the individual degree programs as follows:

  • Bachelor Ecological Agriculture 658
  • Master Organic Agriculture 190
  • Sustainable International Agriculture (SIA, cooperation with University of Göttingen) 181
  • International Food Business and Consumer Studies (IFBC, cooperation with Fulda University of Applied Sciences) 120
  • Sustainable Food Systems (Susfoods, cooperation with Fulda, Lyon, Gent, Cluj, Aarhus) 22
  • Exchange students 6
  • Doctoral students 33

As part of the module Event Management, the
27th Witzenhausen Conference took place from December 3 - 7 with the theme "Climate.Change.Agriculture - Cool Solutions for Hot Times" with over 300 participants.

Furthermore, two lecture series were held: "Thinking_about_agricultural_history!" and "Understanding and changing human-animal relations".

Foreign excursions took place to Scotland (Bachelor and Master ÖL), Brussels (Master ÖL), India (Master SIA), Spain/Morocco (SIA and IFBC) and Mallorca (Master IFBC).

In 2019, €7.6 million in third-party funding was raised in the Department of Organic Agricultural Sciences.

About 120 articles from our department were published in scientific journals (peer reviewed) in 2019 (see websites of the individual departments). A total of 17 doctorates 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 2019 should be listed as examples.

Completed cooperation projects:

  • The importance of vegan organic products for organic farming (BLE).
  • Development of a robotics solution for slug control in agriculture - Subproject I (BLE).
  • SOUNDHOOVES - Automatic early diagnosis of hoof diseases (BLE Innovation Project)
  • Conception, installation and maintenance of a didactic plant labyrinth (Federal Foundation for Risk Assessment)
  • DFG FOR 2432/1, Subproject: Effects of intensified land use and changes in soil management on soil water balance and water use efficiency (DFG)
  • DFG FOR 2179/1, Subproject: 3D architecture of microaggregates and its influence on mechanical stability and on water and oxygen supply of microhabitats (DFG)
  • FOR 2432/1, Subproject: Detection of structural and functional properties of plant growing systems (DFG)
  • Re-Direct REgional Development and Integration of unused biomass wastes as REsources for Circular products and economic Transformation (EU)
  • LUPINUS - Conservation and Restoration of Biodiversity in the Mountain Meadows of the Rhön Biosphere Reserve - Management of the Invasive Perennial Lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus) in a Complex System of Protected Areas (DBU)
  • FOR 2432/1, Subproject: Plant growth, water quality, carbon and nutrient fluxes in rural-urban cropping systems at different spatial scales (DFG)
  • Patho-ID - Identification of root pathogens of peas and faba beans within the demonstration network of the protein crop strategy (BLE)
  • FOR 2432/1, Subproject: Intensification effects on material flows in rural-urban cropping systems (DFG)

Started collaborative projects:

  • GreenGrass - "Innovative use of grassland for sustainable intensification of agriculture at landscape scale", subproject D (BMBF)
  • Öko-Vertrauen - "Strengthening consumer confidence in organic food through transparency and framing" (BLE)
  • NutriNet - Competence and practice research network for the further development of nutrient management in organic farming (ptble)
  • Schaf schafft Landschaft- Biotopverbundkorridore durch Hüteschafhaltung in der Hotspot-Region "Werratal mit Hohem Meißner und Kaufunger Wald" (BfN)
  • FOR2432/2 - Subproject: Effects of intensified land use and changes in soil management on soil water balance and water use efficiency (DFG)
  • FOR 2179/2 Subproject: 3D architecture of solid, organic and pore phases in microaggregates and their influence on mechanical stability (DFG)
  • Improvement of Nutrient Efficiency and Soil Fertility in Agriculture - Practice-oriented Integrating Evaluation and Consulting Procedure for Rapid Assessment of Soil Structure in the Field (DBU)
  • FOR2432/2 - Subproject: Assessment of structural and functional properties of crop production systems with modern terrestrial as well as airborne and spaceborne remote sensing methods (DFG)
  • Rhön Lupine 2 - Management of the invasive perennial lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus Lindl.) in a complex protected area system - threat potential, decision support and recommendations (DBU)
  • UNSIFRAN - "Weed control in silage maize cultivation through preventive, systemic measures in crop rotation and cultivation design" (BMEL)
  • INRess - Innovation Networks Resource Efficiency, Network Resource Efficient Construction and Network Ecological Agriculture (EU) 
  • Promoting human health and well-being by maintaining matrix related organic food qualities from field to fork (Ekhaga Foundation)
  • FOR 2432/2, Subproject: Plant growth, water quality, carbon and nutrient fluxes in rual-ruban cropping systems from different spatial scales.
  • The potential of agroecosystems for self-regulation: nematode communities as indicators of the suppressive effect of soils against legume diseases (DFG)
  • New viral diseases in peas and field beans:  Status quo analysis and recommendations for action (WP1) (BÖLN, BLE)
  • LANDSCAPE_CHAINS - Linking places and processes for sustainability: Social-ecological dynamics and value chains of Mediterranean landscape products (DFG)
  • PPP China 2019 Organic nitrogen for plant nutrition: the role of amino sugars estimated by application of dual 13C, 15N labeled substances (DAAD)
  • Plants, knowledge, engagement - development, testing and dissemination of innovative educational formats at conservation academies and botanical gardens (DBU)
  • Structural and content-related implementation of ESD in the training and further education of teachers at the University of Kassel with the inclusion of extracurricular - implementation of the orientation framework in Northern Hesse 2019/2022 education partners (Engagement Global with funds from the BMZ)
  • Structural and content-related implementation of education for sustainable development (ESD) and internationalization in teacher training (BMBF)

The following faculty members or projects received awards in 2019:

  • Maria Garcia Martin (FG Social-ecological Interactions in Agroecosystems): Best Landscape Ecology Dissertation Award (IALE-Germany).
  • Tobias Plieninger (FG Social-ecological Interactions in Agroecosystems): "Highly Cited Researcher" 2019 ( Web of Science Group)
  • Johanna Hoppe (FG Organic Agriculture and Plant Production): Organic Food Industry Research Award 2019 in the category Best MSc Thesis "Nitrogen input to groundwater: conventional and organic farming compared. Analysis and evaluation of comparative studies.".
  • Isabel Schäufele (FG Agricultural and Food Marketing): Prize of the Society for Economic and Social Sciences of Agriculture for the best dissertation 2018/19.
  • Theresa Hartmann (FG Agricultural and Food Marketing): Winner of the Science Slam at the Green Week.

The following members were appointed or elected to expert committees in 2019:

  • Prof. Dr.  Tobias Plieninger to the Associate Editor "Landscape and Urban Planning"
  • Prof. Dr. Tobias Plieninger to the Editorial Board "People and Nature"
  • Prof. Dr. Tobias Plieninger to the Editorial Board "Sustainability Science"
  • Prof. Dr. Stephan Peth to the DFG Review Board: 207-01 Soil Sciences
  • Prof. Dr. Detlev Möller to the DLG e.V., General Committee
  • Prof. Dr. Detlev Möller to the DLG e. V., Committee for Economic Consulting and Accounting
  • Prof. Dr. Detlev Möller to the DLG e.V., Committee for Organic Production
  • Marina Hethke to the Expert Forum Nonformal and Out-of-School Learning at the BMBF for the implementation of the World Action Plan Education for Sustainable Development
  • Prof. Dr. Christian Herzig to head the Graduate Center for Environmental Research and Teaching (GradZ)
  • Prof. Christian Herzig (FG Management in the International Food Industry): Member of the advisory board "Making good ground together" (conversions in organic farming)
  • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hamm to the Scientific Advisory Board Regionalfenster Deutschland
  • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hamm to the Steering Committee of the Innovation Space New Food Systems at the BMBF

The department conducted a variety of tours and informational events for groups of visitors. Larger events in 2019 were:

  • Lectures and information booth at Biofach in Nuremberg, February 13-16.
  • 15th Scientific Conference on Organic Agriculture under the motto "Innovative Thinking for a Sustainable Agriculture and Food Industry" in Kassel from 05 - 08 March.
  • International Working Seminar "Responsibility and Accountability of Food Supply Chains" from 14 - 15 March.
  • Plant market of the tropical greenhouse on April 28.
  • FerienKinderUni at the Tropical Greenhouse "Research Workshop Water" from July 01 - 05.
  • 2nd Ecological Field Days at the Teaching and Research Farm of the Frankenhausen Domain from 03 - 04 July.
  • Tropentag: Annual interdisciplinary conference on research in tropical and subtropical agriculture, natural resource management and rural development; Theme: "Filling gaps and removing traps for sustainable resources management" in Kassel from 18. - 21.September.
  • FerienKinderUni in the tropical greenhouse "Research workshop bamboo - a strong piece of grass!" from 30.09. - 02.10.
  • Conference "Development Perspectives and Research Needs of Social Agriculture", organized by the Department of Organic Agriculture and Plant Production in Witzenhausen from 05 - 07 November.
  • The department was represented at the Agritechnica in Hannover from 14 - 20 November.
  • University day together with LLH on the topic "Soil Fertility - Recognize and Preserve" on 02 December.

In 2019, 20 professors worked at our department together with a total of about 250 scientific and administrative-technical staff. Three professorships  belong equally to the University of Göttingen and the University of Kassel.

As of SS 2019, apl. Prof. Dr. Werner Troßbach (FG Agricultural History) has resigned.

Dr. Silvia Ivemeyer (FG Livestock Ethology and Animal Husbandry) and Dr. Barbara Sturm (FG Agricultural Engineering) were awarded a Privatdozentur in 2019.

Dr. Meike Janssen (FG Agricultural and Food Marketing) has accepted an appointment as Associate Professor at the Department of Management, Society and Communication at Copenhagen Business School.

Changes in the Dean's Office as of 1.4.2019: Prof. Dr. Christian Herzig has taken over the office of Vice Dean from Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hamm. As of Oct. 1, 2019, Prof. Dr. Gunter Backes will continue a second three-year term as dean.