Publications on Agrifood- & Environmental Policy

In chronological order

Publications on agrifood- & environmental policy

In chronological order


academicfor practical use

Beste, A. (2021): A Soil Scientist’s Perspective – Carbon Farming, CO2 Certification & Carbon Sequestration in Soil. On ARC2020.

Link to the article

ARC2020 is a European discussion platform on sustainable ideas and practices for tomorrow’s agriculture.

Beste, A. (2021): Precision Farming – or “The Emperor’s New Clothes”? On ARC2020.

The “digitalisation of agriculture” or so-called “precision farming” is loudly and repeatedly praised from many sides as the solution to the current environmental problems of agriculture.
High-tech in the field is supposed to protect the climate, the environment and biodiversity. But there is little technical discussion about whether the environmental benefits of these innovations have actually been proven, who has access to these technologies and who controls the data. At what scale can precision agriculture techniques be effective? How well do they really help to make agriculture more sustainable? Are the loudly expressed praises justified?

Link to article

ARC2020 is a European discussion platform on sustainable ideas and practices for tomorrow’s agriculture.

Beste, A. (2019): Comparing Organic, Agroecological and Regenerative Farming. On ARC2020.

Link to the 3-part series

ARC2020 is a European discourse platform on sustainable ideas and practices for tomorrow’s agriculture.

Beste, A.; Idel, A. (2019): The belief in technology and big data. The myth of climate smart agriculture – why less bad isn’t good.

In Germany, the study was nominated for the Salus Media Award 2019. This Award honours commendable publications on sustainable agriculture.

The study refers to many facts which show why the system of so-called “modern”
intensive agriculture is climate-damaging instead of climate-smart, and why technical fixes, using Big Data, precision farming and increased output per hectare or per cow cannot fundamentally change this.

It also explains how agriculture and animal husbandry can be made really sustainable, climate-friendly and climate-adapted, why cattle should not be demonised for this, and how agricultural systems can be made “resilient” – i.e. resistant and flexible so that they can compensate for extreme weather conditions for as long as possible.

Video statement on the study by Dr Luca Montanarella, responsible for the European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC) at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC) in German

Beste, A.; Patzel, N; Wilhelm, B.(2017): Il suolo como base della vita. In: Caring for our soil. For WWF Italy

Beste, A.(2015): Down to Earth – The soil we live off. Study on the state of soil in Europeans agriculture.

Over the last 15 years, Andrea Beste examined more than 400 sites in Europe – mainly in Germany – on the condition of the soil structure. This was done on behalf of food companies, universities and farm advisory services or as part of training seminars on soil protection for farmers. In this study, the freelance scientist and consultant presents current data material and conclusions from various European research projects on the condition of soils that have been completed in recent years. The results are worrying. Many soils are showing real symptoms of burn-out. In view of climate change, we need particularly fit and healthy soils in Europe to produce enough food, guarantee clean drinking water and prevent flood damage. The author also describes which therapy the soils in Europe urgently need in order to recover. The methods presented are not new. Some have long been overestimated or even misjudged. Others, more effective, are still not applied.
Soil – the basis of all our lives – still has too little lobby in Europe!

Beste, A. (2015): Intensive Cropping. A troubled future for industrial farming. In: Soil Atlas: Facts and figures about earth, land and fields.

Beste, A. (2015): Organic Farming: Feeding crops by feeding the soil. In: Soil Atlas: Facts and figures about earth, land and fields.

Börneke, St.; Beste, A. (2012): The Harvest of the Locusts. A Dossier about Landgrabbing und Europe’s Responsibility.

Beste, A., Boeddinhaus, R. (2011): Biodiversity not Soya Madness!
How to solve the long-standing problem of protein deficiency in the EU.

The scale of meat production and consumption that has prevailed in the European Union for years no longer has anything to do with the sensible use of pastureland for natural meat production. High soya imports were and are today an essential prerequisite for the development of factory farming. These farming methods are not only extremely intensive in terms of raw materials and energy, harmful to the climate and the environment, and full of violence against animals – they are also unacceptable with regard to the world food security question. They lead to the displacement of small farmers in the countries the soya is grown, cause severe environmental pollution and poisoning of humans.

Europe’s dependence on protein imports for its immense meat production also entails great risks for many European farmers. The credo of recent years has been that they should produce for a world market price that does not cover their European production costs anyway; not to mention profit. Moreover, in this system based on “remote feeding”, animal production in Europe is directly dependent on price fluctuations on the world markets. Many farms cannot absorb this and give up.

We have to get animal husbandry and milk and meat production back on track. We need to give agriculture a perspective for a more independent form of feeding with more regional added value and more quality. Climate, soil, water and biodiversity could also benefit. What we need is a meaningful strengthening of domestic protein crop cultivation!

This study is intended as a first step in this direction. It provides an overview of the status quo regarding legumes in Europe and identifies the necessary fields of action for an efficient strengthening of protein crop cultivation.

Beste, A. (2008):Indicators to Maintain Biodiversity in Agro-Economy. 19 Pages

In Commission of the German League for Nature and Environment (DNR)
for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) the Conference of the Parties (COP) 2008, Bonn.

Beste, A. (2000): Maintaining ecological soil functions – techniques in organic farming systems. In: Korean Society of Organic Agriculture (Hg.): Proceedings Conference of Korean Organic Agriculture, Seoul