Nordic cooperation to cope with extreme weather

Nordic cooperation in situations of extreme weather is about to improve. Nordic Agri Research (NKJ) and Nordic Forest Research (SNS) launch a project under the Nordic Council of Ministers.

The extremely dry and hot weather this summer clearly demonstrated the need for Nordic cooperation and the benefits of learning from each other when it comes to extreme situations for agriculture and forestry.

“Not only in Sweden, the weather has set the agriculture and forestry areas on difficult tests. In these times, the need for cooperation across national borders becomes clearer than ever, and I see that we in the Nordic Council of Ministers have a natural forum to meet to discuss these issues” wrote the Swedish Minister of Rural Affairs in an invitation to an extra ministerial council meeting between the Nordic ministers in agriculture and forestry areas in September this year.

NKJ and SNS in new project

In the meeting the ministers asked for a summary of the effects of this summer’s exceptional drought and of immediate and future actions. A full picture of the drought impact on harvesting, animal husbandry or forestry is yet to be completed. The project’s goal is to find ways to improve future management of these situations.

Working groups are now established, one for agriculture and one for forestry, with representatives from the Nordic countries including Åland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and a representative of NordGen. Nordic Forest Research (SNS) and Nordic Agri Research (NKJ) secretariats will manage the projects.

Nordic overview

– We start by gathering the latest statistics relating to the effects of the drought. Strategies and measures to cope with the effects of the drought will also be compiled. The working groups will then discuss potential collaborative initiatives, says Maria Tunberg, process manager for the working groups.

– There are both similarities and differences in how the countries have been affected and how they have managed the situation, says Maria Tunberg.

– We can learn a lot from each other and there are starting points for cooperation across national borders.

Report in June

The working groups will produce a report where the countries’ experiences of the drought will be documented. It will also include concrete proposals on how to build a well functioning cooperation and ways to make the agricultural and forest sectors increasingly sustainable in future extreme weather conditions and to reduce the negative effects.

The report will be completed in June 2019 before ministers meet again.

Matchmaking Day: A step forward for the career

Networking can be an act of art – at least in Ås at the Matchmaking Day arranged by SNS, NKJ, EFINORD and NordGen Forest.

Text and photo: Sara Hildebrand

See more photos!

Researchers from several Nordic and Baltic countries met in Ås at the Matchmaking Day. The day started with tea and mingle, first contacts and interests were shared between the participants.

Theme of the day

Introduced to Lukasz Andrzej Derdowski, who’s also conducting research in the field of work-related creativity, the participants were invited to draw themselves and note their key interests. Pinned to the wall and done relations to the people they already knew participating at the Matchmaking day, this activity resulted in a low-tech social network, which got expanded throughout the whole day.

In presentations of SNS, NKJ, NordGen Forest and EFINORD the participants received a short insight into the organisations, the opportunities to receive funding from them and how to be successful in writing applications. Outlined from the EFINORD to be creative in this process and also use social medias, an inspiring speech from Lukasz Andrzej Derdowski continued on the red thread of creativity and the ingredients of a climate in working groups stimulating creativity.

New contacts and input

The intense networking day ended with a last coffee and mingle while completing the low-tech network to a real piece of art with many new, interesting and helpful contacts for the participants.

Join the SNS-NKJ network symposium about biocontrol

The NKJ-SNS network Dialogue Biocontrol wants to bring together researchers, commercial actors and end users with interest in biocontrol solutions for North European conditions and to strengthen the dialogue between these groups. Therefore they invite you to a one-day symposium with the titel “Biocontrol in Agriculture and Forestry – research, innovations and markets”.

The venue is Alnarp, Sweden, and the date November 13th. Ramesh Vetukuri, Johanna Witzell, Jarkko Hantula, Lars Moelbak and Birgit Jensen will talk and there will be a lot of discussions to find a way forwards.

Register by e-mail to network coordinator: ramesh.vetukuri@slu.se. Deadline for registration: November 5th.

Find the program here!

The Nordics cooperate to meet extreme weather

The extremely hot and dry summer prompted the Swedish minister for Rural Affairs Sven Erik Bucht to gather the Nordic ministers in the agriculture and forestry sector to discuss how to cope with future weather related crises. NKJ can have an important role in the future work.

From the left: Dagfinn Høybråten, Anna Tofften, Mads Frederik Fischer Møller, Åsa Danell, Sven-Erik Bucht.

 

The reason for the meeting September 19th was the extreme weather, with heat and drought, during the summer that hit many of the Nordic countries hard.

The impact on agriculture and forestry reported

The countries reported about their situation and how agriculture and forestry have been affected. Several different policy initiatives have been taken to remedy the crisis. For example, the countries in the European agricultural policy have opened for harvesting of fallows and other areas that would otherwise have been left until later in the year. Norway has opened for imports of feed from Iceland.

The extensive forest fires were also discussed. There is a need for continued discussion of increased cooperation. This applies not least to the technical side, for example, by avoiding limitations on the movement of technical equipment between countries and cooperation on helicopters with heavy lifting capacity.

Discussion must go on

The General Secretary of the Nordic Council of Ministers recommended the countries to continue the discussion of potential cooperation opportunities to deal with future crises. Already today there are cooperative bodies in Nordic Council of Ministers that can play an important role in that work, including NordGen, the Nordic Committee for Agricultural and Food Research (NKJ) and Nordic Forest research (SNS).

The Nordic countries are already collaborating on several fronts about the primary sector and the climate. This applies, for example, to road maps for Nordic forest issues, Nordic Forest Solutions and the project Kol i Mark, which deals with the possibilities for increasing carbon dioxide storage in agricultural and forest land. The summer of 2018 has shown that in addition to these measures, it is necessary to start work on adaptation in the short and long term.

Working group

The Council of Ministers decided to set up a Nordic working group to meet the challenges of agriculture and forestry in a future with more extreme weather. Discussions will be followed up in the continued work of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Text: Per Hansson, per.m.hansson@slu.se

Save the date: Matchmaking Day in Ås, Norway, November 8

Welcome to Matchmaking Day in Ås, Norway, November 8! This is a great opportunity to make new contacts and get information about funding opportunities.

Welcome to our new Matchmaking day, get inspired, let the creativity flow! You will meet representatives from NKJSNS, EFINORD and NordGen Forest and we will tell you about how to successfully apply for funding from us. Lukasz Andrzej Derdowski from University of Stavanger (research area: work-related creativity, innovation, conflicts and intra-group dynamics) will give us insight in how to make our research networks creative and effective and there will be some workshops for you to enhance and improve your networking.

But most importantly, you will meet a lot of new colleagues and get in contact with people that can be important for your research and career!

Our Matchmaking Day is free of charge and young researchers/PhDs can apply travel grant for up to 3 000 SEK per person – more information below!

Date: November 8th, 2018
Time: 0930-1530
Place: Ås, Norway

Program
The day is free of charge, please REGISTER HERE before 25/10!
Join the facebook group!

 

Travel grant: Are you a PhD student or young researcher?

SNS cover the travel and accomodation costs for PhD students/ young researchers with up to approx. 3 000 SEK/person. Hurry up and register – there is a limited number of grants that will be distributed evenly between countries! October 18th is the latest day for registration if you want us to cover your expenses. Keep your eyes open shortly after – this is when we announce the successful travel grant applicants.

 

About the organisers:

Nordic Forest Research (SNS) is a co-operating body under the Nordic Council of Ministers that strives to enhance benefits for the Nordic region and to contribute to a sustainable society. We provide funding to interlink researchers and to facilitate exchange of brilliant ideas within sustainable forest research in the Nordic countries.

North European Regional Office of European Forest Institute (EFINORD) promotes and facilitate research collaboration and interactions between science and policy in forestry issues that arises in the northern region. A particular focus is given to the bioeconomy research field in combination with natural- and social sciences for a world where forests significantly contribute to sustainable well-being across disciplines.

The primary objective of the Nordic Joint Committee for Agricultural and Food Research (NKJ) is to contribute to promote and coordinate a knowledge-based agriculture and food sector in the Nordic countries. To meet this end, NKJ encourages and provides support to joint Nordic cooperation within agriculture and food research, including forestry and fishery.

NordGen Forest is a Nordic body dedicated to forest regeneration, plants, seed and genetic resources. NordGen Forest addresses conservation and sustainable use of forest genetic resources, by being a forum for researchers, practitioners and managers working on forest genetics, seeds, planting stock and regeneration, and by facilitating the flow of scientific information and knowhow between these groups.

Fifteen ways to improve the Nordic bioeconomy

Nordic bioeconomy is heading towards a future with refreshed energy! Since Wednesday there is a strategy to lift and support every Nordic step for a sustainable society.

The new action plan gives the Nordic Region a still leading role in the work to create a sustainable society. It is meant to facilitate the transition from traditional agriculture and forestry to technologically advanced industries that optimize the use of biomass to access its full potential and create added value.

“We are facing a new era of bioeconomy where new industries can arise and jobs are created. If we do it in a good way, agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture industries can benefit greatly from upgrading biomass to more valuable products”, said Sven-Erik Bucht, Swedish minister for rural development, to norden.org.

The Nordic Bioeconomic Panel has elaborated the strategy. The vision is to accelerate the development of Nordic bioeconomy through strong political support at both national and Nordic levels. The strategy has four legs:
∙ Competitive biobased industries
∙ Sustainable resource management
∙ Resilient and varied ecosystems
∙ Including economic development

The program identifies fifteen ways to work for bioeconomy. Download the strategy and read about all of them!

Read more about the strategy here!

Film: Nordic bioeconomy

NKJ in new Nordic agri/food cooperation

NKJ will fund and take part in the work of the Nordic Food Partnership, a recently founded cooperation for synergies and exchange in the agricultural and food sectors in the Nordics.

 

June 1st the Nordic Food Partnership had its founding meeting. NKJ will fund the cooperation with 300 000 DKK. The chairman of NKJ, Nina Solheim Flæte, will also take place in the steering committee were also representatives from all Nordic countries will contribute.

The Nordic Food Partnership will gather key stakeholders of the Nordic food system to develop a common agenda for research, education and innovation. The partnership wants to identify common challenges and establish Nordic collaborations and synergy. It wants to be a unified voice to drive the transformation of the Food System in the Nordics, in Europe and in global interaction. There are a few areas where the challenges are the same across the Nordic countries and can be handled more efficiently together. The countries have world-class excellence in individual areas and it would be of great interest to spread and share this best-practices.

Except for the 300 000 DKK from NKJ, the Food Nexus Nordic will add 200 000 DKK. The administrative host will be RISE in Sweden.

 

The vision of the Nordic Food Partnership is…

…“to build on Nordic strengths in order to drive the transformation of the food system towards a system that enables the production, packaging, distribution and consumption of safe, affordable and nutritious food with as little harm as possible. We will target the challenges of the food system, such as security, sustainability, health and knowledge provision in the Nordics, in Europe and in global interaction.”

 

These are the partners:

 

New assignments for NKJ

NKJ got new exciting assignments and we are financing to eleven networks in 2017.

On February 6 last year, the seminar “Digitalization of agriculture – when and how is the big revolution?” was arranged by NKJ together with Partnership Alnarp, SLU. NKJ was also co-organizer of ICT Agris Conference 24 November 2017 in Copenhagen: “ICT-AGRI Conference on ICT and Robotics for a Sustainable Agriculture”. Digitalization is and has been a priority issue, and the emphasis in the latest NKJ call was digitalization. There is a lot going on in this important issue, and NKJ wants to contribute to the development.

In December, NKJ also attended a seminar on the reindeer husbandry. This was based on an report initiated by NKJ. The seminar set the course for the future of the reindeer husbandry.

During the year, NKJ continued the work for increased knowledge and Nordic cooperation in the agricultural and food sector, and these arrangements are part of this striving.

New assignments

Last year we also received new assignments. One came from Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation and the Nordic Council of Ministers and deals with the digitalization. NKJ will plan for activities in 2018 to bring the matter forward.

The Nordic Council of Ministers has also commissioned NKJ to coordinate a project on carbon storage in land. It will be exciting to develop and arrange activities on the subject!

Deepend cooperation

NKJ has deepened its cooperation with Food Nexus to strengthen Nordic contacts in the food sector. We are also co-applicants in an application to the Social Fund. The Swedish Farmers’ Association is the main applicant and we want to look at how we can supply the industry with labor.

In order to strengthen the Nordic position in agricultural and food research in Europe, we actively participate in European contexts such as JPI FACCE, SCAR and ERA-NETs.

Read the Annual Report 2017 here!

 

The networks that have received funding from NKJ for 2018-2019 are:

 Added value to Nordic Baltic sustainable food research with quality and health perspective, coordinator: Gerd Vegarud, NMBU, Norway

 Nordic feeding recommendations for horses, coordinator: Rasmus Bovberg Jensen, NMBU, Norway

 Effects of extreme weather on agricultural production and environment, coordinator: Marianne Bechmann, NIBIO, Norway

 NORWAY – Nordic Ovine Research, Surveillance and Epidemiology, Coordinator: Clare Phythian, NMBU, Norway

 The Nordic Rye Forum, coordinator: Rikard Landberg, Chalmers, Sweden

 Healthy Outdoors for Sustainable Milk Production, Coordinator: Päivi Rajala Schultz, University of Helsinki, Finland

Together with SNS, NKJ finances in 2018-2019:

 NKJ-SNS 05: Advancing the bioeconomy transition in the Nordic Region (BioWiseTrans), coordinator: Karen Refsgaard, Nordregio

 NKJ-SNS 06: DIALOGUE BIOCONTROL – Improving utilization of biocontrol research for practical plant protection solutions in agriculture and forestry, coordinator: Ramesh Vetukuri, SLU

 NKJ-SNS 07: Neonectria cankers on trees – meeting changed climatic conditions and increased problems in Nordic horticulture and forest production by interdisciplinary networking, coordinator: Jorunn Børve, NIBIO

 NKJ-SNS 08: Genes4Change: Adaptation, mitigation and breeding of trees and crops for future climate, coordinator: Katri Kärkkäinen, LUKE

 NKJ-SNS 09: FiberTies – The use of fibrous materials from biomass, coordinator: Anne Christine Steenkjær Hastrup, Danish Technological Institute

Climate change – an important issue for reindeer husbandry

Climate change is a challenge in many ways, and that applies to reindeer husbandry too. NKJ co-organized a seminar about future needs for research in the sector.

 

Reindeer husbandry Nordregio has written a report, Reindeer Husbandry in Sapmi, commissioned by NKJ. The report is a summary of the relevant research done the last ten years. It was presented at, and formed a basis for, a seminar about reindeer husbandry research in Tromsø, Norway, before Christmas.

Overview

The purpose of the seminar was to get a good overview of the problems and possibilities the reindeer husbandry is facing in the future.

– We want to develop the reindeer husbandry moving towards future, says Sunna Marie Pentha, adviser at the Norwegian Agricultural and food department.

Environmental issues

Anna Berlina, Nordregio, initiated the seminar with presenting the report to the participants. Ethel Seljevold, Fylkesmannen, Troms, talked about the opportunities there are in reindeer husbandry, and was followed by Carlos das Neves and Torill Mørch, Norwegian Veterinary Institute, who talked about the challenges the sector approaches when it comes to animal health.

But the most important and urgent issue to discuss might be the climate change, which changes the terms of reindeer husbandry. The warming up of the atmosphere makes the snow come later. That makes it harder for animal owners to gather their herd and transportations become difficult because the snowmobile can’t be used. It also interacts with the movements of the herd because lakes and other waters doesn’t freeze when it usually does. The possible effects of climate change on pastures was summarized by Kari Anne Bråthen, University of Tromsø.

Technical development

Rune Storvold, NORUT, och Erlend Vinje, NIBIO, gave some insight in the new opportunities technology brings to reindeer husbandry.

– The last four or five years, more and more animal owners use drones to handle their reindeers, says Sunna Marie Pentha.

The second day of the seminar was all about the future research needs in the sector. Marit Meløy from the Norwegian Saami Parliament initiated the discussions, and then the participants had discussions in smaller groups to pinpoint the needs and give their suggestions.

– The workshops gave some really useful concrete suggestions for further research, says Sunna Marie Pentha.

– NKJ can be important for the future reindeer husbandry because of the contacts you have, and the funding you can give, she says.

Download the report here!