Browsing by Subject "farming"

Sort by: Order: Results:

Now showing items 1-8 of 8
  • Öhman, Jenny (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    The EC regulations for organic farming (OF), No. 834/2007 and 889/2008, apply in all EU countries but still, different rules are being implemented. Every country in the EU has its own certification bodies and certification systems, and the interpretation of the EC regulations for organic farming is done nationally. The purpose of this research is to fill a gap in the understanding how rules of organic farming differ between three countries in Europe: Finland, Sweden and Austria. In particular, this study aims to examine the role of the national interpretations of the EC regulations for OF at different stages in the food supply chain. The main interest lies in why these differences in interpretation occur, and what interpretations are made at what stage in the system. The methods chosen for answering the research questions is a literature review, a survey with qualitative interviews for gathering relevant topics from the field and finally a comparison of the EC regulations for OF and the national legislations and guidelines in Finland, Sweden and Austria for these topics. This study shows that there are many topics in OF where the EC regulations for OF leave room for variable interpretations and hence, it is unclear to the implementing authorities in the member states how to interpret these. The most significant result is that some of the differences in interpretation lead to the organic farmers being unequal across the countries. Even for statements with clear reasoning and precise instructions there can be significant differences in interpretation between the countries. Based on the results of this research I can state that the farmers in OF would benefit from a more harmonized landscape of OF rules on EU-level, as this would lower the inequality between farmers in OF in the different countries. One mean of doing this would be to reduce the number of statements of qualitative character.
  • Puupponen, Antti; Lonkila, Annika; Savikurki, Anni; Karttunen, Kaisa; Huttunen, Suvi; Ott, Anna (Elsevier BV, 2022)
    Journal of Rural Studies
    Environmental and political debate concerning the role of agriculture in sustainability has long been on the agenda. However, owing to climate change, an analysis of the transition to a low-carbon society must also be considered from the perspective of justice. Dairy farming, in particular, faces pressure in this context, when contemplating changing consumer behaviors and reduction in the carbon footprint of dairy products. Accordingly, many dairy farmers are struggling with the profitability and high production costs of farming. This study examines the experiences and perceptions of dairy farmers in Finland. The theoretical background is predicated upon the “just transition” literature. Additionally, recent literature regarding farmers' attitudes and agency, related to climate and environmental change, is utilized. A collaborative, empirical study of the Finnish dairy co-op Valio Ltd.‘s carbon-neutral milk chain program was conducted. The authors interviewed 18 dairy farmers and examined their motivations and barriers to carbon-neutral practices. Their experiences and perceptions of justice, in the context of a carbon-neutral milk chain, were studied. This study elucidates how to shift to carbon-neutral agriculture in such a way that dairy farmers perceive this systemic change as justified and acceptable. The results indicate that from the farmers' perspective, three key justice issues need consideration: 1) profitability of farming, 2) blaming of farmers, and 3) use of agricultural peatlands.
  • Koivuranta, Riina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    The concept of ecological management can be seen tackling the relationship of agriculture and environment, not only from the perspective of limiting the negative effects of farming practices, but also promoting positive actions. This notion of managing and maintaining, rather than leaving alone, is currently in the core of biodiversity promotion in agricultural landscapes in Europe. The focus of this thesis are the perceptions Finnish agri-environmental actors have regarding ecological management innovation stemming from the grassroots. In this thesis I assess how i) Finnish agri-environmental actors perceive grassroots innovation, ii) weigh its barriers and enabling factors, as well as iii) envision further needs regarding these innovations. The study is based on a mixed-methods approach using both qualitative and quantitative data; a questionnaire and two focus group discussions conducted during a two-day seminar “Managing Nature - working together” 29.11.-30.11.2016 in Turku. The study was conducted in co-operation with the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), University of Helsinki Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry and a Horizon2020 project HNV-Link. I approached the research questions using an iterative approach, and my analysis is guided by Grounded Theory in constant comparative analysis and generating theory. The results indicate that Finnish agricultural actors acknowledge the heterogeneous nature of grassroots actors in agricultural areas. However, several common attributes are linked to innovation stemming from the grassroots such as practical, economic and local. Currently bureaucracy, lack of cooperation and the changes and challenges in the socio-cultural environment of grassroots hinder ecological management grassroots innovation. Finnish agri-environmental actors acknowledge that the challenges biodiversity in agricultural areas face, are of such magnitude that the need is rather to expand, not narrow down the actor-base for innovation.
  • Mattila, Tuomas J.; Hagelberg, Eija; Söderlund, Sanna; Joona, Juuso (Elsevier, 2022)
    Soil and Tillage Research
    Soil carbon sequestration is a recognized climate mitigation method, but it involves changes in the practices of more than 0.5 billion farms worldwide. Regionally customized carbon-farming programs are one way to tailor soil carbon storage to local conditions. We conducted farmer participatory research on 105 Finnish farms to investigate how farmers approach carbon (C) sequestration. We conducted training for farmers in the basics of carbon-farming and instructed them to make a Carbon Farming Plan for one of their fields. The plans were evaluated by a team of experts and through soil C balance calculations. In addition, potential nutrient limitations and the existing C stock were identified from soil tests. Although the existing C stocks were relatively high, an assessment of the plans indicated high potential for additional C storage (median 320 kg C ha−1year−1). The plans did not show any sensitivity to the existing C stock, with similar C inputs planned for low organic matter (OM) and high OM soils. The farmers either did not know their C stock or were not familiar with the C balance concept. Most soil samples showed considerable nutrient deficiencies (P, S, B and Mn), which can limit C storage. The quality of most plans was adequate for research with minor modifications. The largest C storage potential was estimated for measures with large additions of nutrient-poor amendments or in grazing. Most farmers chose measures with relatively low C storage benefits but high potential benefits for soil structure and productivity (cover crops, nutrient-rich amendments, grassland management). The C gain from some measures (subsoiling, diversity in grasslands) could not be estimated with current methodologies. The magnitude of planned C storage over 5 years on most farms was so small (<0.5% OM), that it is challenging to measure it through soil sampling. This finding supports the earlier conclusions that a combination of modeling and soil sampling is needed to verify the C storage.
  • Martikainen, Maria-Viola; Rönkkö, Teemu J.; Schaub, Bianca; Täubel, Martin; Gu, Cheng; Wong, Gary W. K.; Li, Jing; Pekkanen, Juha; Komppula, Mika; Hirvonen, Maija-Riitta; Jalava, Pasi I.; Roponen, Marjut (2018)
    Background Studies conducted in farm environments suggest that diverse microbial exposure promotes children's lung health. The underlying mechanisms are unclear, and the development of asthma-preventive strategies has been delayed. More comprehensive investigation of the environment-induced immunoregulation is required for better understanding of asthma pathogenesis and prevention. Exposure to air pollution, including particulate matter (PM), is a risk factor for asthma, thus providing an excellent counterpoint for the farm-effect research. Lack of comparable data, however, complicates interpretation of the existing information. We aimed to explore the immunoregulatory effects of cattle farm dust (protective, Finland) and urban air PM (high-risk, China) for the first time using identical research methods. Methods We stimulated PBMCs of 4-year-old children (N = 18) with farm dust and size-segregated PM and assessed the expression of immune receptors CD80 and ILT4 on dendritic cells and monocytes as well as cytokine production of PBMCs. Environmental samples were analysed for their composition. Results Farm dust increased the percentage of cells expressing CD80 and the cytokine production of children's immune cells, whereas PM inhibited the expression of important receptors and the production of soluble mediators. Although PM samples induced parallel immune reactions, the size-fraction determined the strength of the effects. Conclusions Our study demonstrates the significance of using the same research framework when disentangling shared and distinctive immune pathways operating in different environments. Observed stimulatory effects of farm dust and inhibitory effects of PM could shape responses towards respiratory pathogens and allergens, and partly explain differences in asthma prevalence between studied environments.
  • Santalahti, Tanya (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Carbon neutral agriculture plays a key role in climate change mitigation. However, Finnish farmers are struggling with the impacts of climate change and the profitability crisis. This study aims at providing market insight on potential sources of income for Finnish farmers in carbon neutral agriculture by 2030. However, this thesis does not focus on the question whether carbon neutral agriculture is achievable. The role of policy instruments is also investigated to determine whether they facilitate or prevent changes. The thesis is commissioned by Envitecpolis Oy. Six experts from the agriculture field were interviewed and the data were analysed with theory-driven content analysis. The analysis is based on the future signals sense-making framework (FSSF) that focuses on the weak signals, drivers and trends found in the data. Each theme includes two categories; the nonlinear and linear paths of change. In addition, policy instruments were divided into promoters and disrupters of change. The relevant weak signals identified are innovations, the formation of premium markets, the adoption of paludiculture, novel and existing market mechanisms for carbon neutral practices, the substitution of materials and energy in production, digitalization, the increasing requirements for producers by food industry and by consumers and lastly, strengthened cooperation between actors in agriculture. The drivers of change, such as climate change, knowledge and advances in technology, significantly influence the adoption of these weak signals. However, various trends function as blockers of change whilst some trends are inevitable large change processes. In light of the results, weak signals of potential sources of income are not likely to become mainstream by 2030. However, existing or emerging issues may play a key role in providing additional income for farmers. National agriculture policy and the EU Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) are complex schemes that are gradually emphasizing climate issues. However, these policies fail to incentivize farmers to adopt practices for carbon neutral agriculture. Recommendations for future research include the cost-effectiveness of climate change mitigation measures and a follow-up on the sources of income for farmers in 2030.
  • Valve, Helena; Lazarevic, David; Pitzén, Samuli (Pergamon, 2022)
    Environmental policies often leave room for case- or region-specific discretion. In this paper, we focus on the transformation of socio-material settings into objects of policy discretion. This move calls for manipulation—ontological work—enabling settings to be connected to policy aspirations. The settings become configured in terms of their professed policy-relevant dimensions. The outcomes affect how environmental liabilities become defined in policy processes. The paper develops a conceptual toolkit to analyse ontological work as it is performed by policy documents. We use the toolkit to analyse three types of policy documents defining how agricultural nutrient loading is to be reduced in the Finnish region of North Savo. The findings show that regulatory decisions and policy recommendations are, to a significant extent, outcomes of ontological work. Environmental liabilities are shaped by the ways ‘unstable junctures’ are brought into being. By these junctures we refer to the points in the configured policy landscapes where choices influential for water protection are, according to the documents, to be made. The documents also generate exclusions that narrow down what liability implies in the unstable junctures. Without a focus on the ontological work and emerging ordering effects, it would have been difficult to show how environmental liabilities became (un)defined in the policy documents. The approach is needed to understand how power is practiced in policy processes and how policy instruments come to have consequences.
  • Krusche, Johanna; Twardziok, Monika; Rehbach, Katharina; Böck, Andreas; Tsang, Miranda S.; Schröder, Paul C.; Kumbrink, Jörg; Kirchner, Thomas; Xing, Yuhan; Riedler, Josef; Dalphin, Jean-Charles; Pekkanen, Juha; Lauener, Roger; Roponen, Marjut; Li, Jing; Wong, Chun K.; Wong, Gary W.K.; Schaub, Bianca; Ege, Markus; Depner, Martin; Illi, Sabina; Loss, Georg J.; Renz, Harald; Pfefferle, Petra I.; Kabesch, Michael; Genuneit, Jon; Karvonen, Anne M.; Hyvärinen, Anne; Kirjavainen, Pirkka V.; Remes, Sami; Braun-Fahrländer, Charlotte; Roduit, Caroline; Frei, Remo; Kaulek, Vincent; Dalphin, Marie-Laure; Divaret-Chauveau, Amandine; Doekes, Gert (2019)
    Background: Childhood asthma prevalence is significantly greater in urban areas compared with rural/farm environments. Murine studies have shown that TNF-alpha-induced protein 3 (TNFAIP3; A20), an anti-inflammatory regulator of nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-kappa B) signaling, mediates environmentally induced asthma protection. Objective: We aimed to determine the role of TNFAIP3 for asthma development in childhood and the immunomodulatory effects of environmental factors. Methods: In a representative selection of 250 of 2168 children from 2 prospective birth cohorts and 2 cross-sectional studies, we analyzed blood cells of healthy and asthmatic children from urban and rural/farm environments from Europe and China. PBMCs were stimulated ex vivo with dust from "asthma-protective'' farms or LPS. NF-kappa B signaling-related gene and protein expression was assessed in PBMCs and multiplex gene expression assays (NanoString Technologies) in isolated dendritic cells of schoolchildren and in cord blood mononuclear cells from newborns. Results: Anti-inflammatory TNFAIP3 gene and protein expression was consistently decreased, whereas proinflammatory Toll-like receptor 4 expression was increased in urban asthmatic patients (P <.05), reflecting their increased inflammatory status. Ex vivo farm dust or LPS stimulation restored TNFAIP3 expression to healthy levels in asthmatic patients and shifted NF-kappa B signaling-associated gene expression toward an anti-inflammatory state (P <.001). Farm/rural children had lower expression, indicating tolerance induction by continuous environmental exposure. Newborns with asthma at school age had reduced TNFAIP3 expression at birth, suggesting TNFAIP3 as a possible biomarker predicting subsequent asthma. Conclusion: Our data indicate TNFAIP3 as a key regulator during childhood asthma development and its environmentally mediated protection. Because environmental dust exposure conferred the anti-inflammatory effects, it might represent a promising future agent for asthma prevention and treatment.