Benjamin and Celine, two passionate young entrepreneurs from La Foye Montjault in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region, farm 127 hectares of land and keep 140 sheep
The three pillars of Soil Conservation Agriculture
Permanent ground cover
This means that crop residues are left on the surface and cover crops are used in between commercial crops.
Sowing without tilling
The aim is to keep to an absolute minimum the disturbance of biological activity caused by the process of getting seeds into the ground.
Diversity and crop rotation
Crop rotation is essential. The complementarity of the different species of plant minimises any diseases that may already be present on the crops.
Four years ago, when Celine took over the farm from her father, she struggled to persuade him to switch to a less conventional way of farming.
Benjamin, who studied agricultural economics, opted for a system called soil-conservation agriculture, a third way between conventional and organic farming. It puts the soil at the heart of the production system and rests on three pillars.
Celine cares for the 140 sheep, which are managed in the most natural way. They are outside all year round and have an area of woodland where they can shelter. The lamb meat is sold straight from the farm.
Flower strips encourage the natural enemies of agricultural pests. This helps control harmful insects and so to reduce damage to agricultural crops and prevent the use of pesticides.
“We have something more sustainable that we care for and that also makes us happy, that’s why we do it...
Earl Toi et Moi
...the final point is that it’s really fun and in the end it’s something good that we like doing.”
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