This year`s EUFRAS Annual Assembly due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic was held virtually on the 9th of March.
The event was opened by the moderator EUFRAS Board member Aurelia Bondari who warmly welcomed 67 registered participants representing 37 of 54 EUFRAS Members of that time and introduced the participants to the Assembly`s agenda. In the opening speech, EUFRAS Chairman of the Board Jussi Juhola stressed that despite the fact that we as a community are not able to have the same level of interaction as we are used to having in past events, this past year has also brought the silver lining which has forced the advisory services to take a leap forward in digitalization which was also one of the focus in this year`s gathering and surely will also carry on far in the future.
As it has been each year, the Assembly provided the opportunity for new EUFRAS members and candidates to present themselves and express their expectations. The EUFRAS network continues to grow and since the last annual meeting in Athens, EUFRAS has welcomed five new member organizations:
- Agricultural Innovation Farm Advisory Services S.A. from Greece
- INAGRO, Belgium
- Edney-Gannon Associates Ltd from the United Kingdom
- Ministry of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development from Luxembourg
The event continued with the Statutory meeting where an overview of the past years' activities was presented by the Chairman or the Board Jussi Juhola who also introduced the audience to the activity plan for 2021. As the main activities for this year were mentioned:
- The joint virtual conference between IALB, EUFRAS and SEASN on June 10-11th, 2021 - see the conference page here!
- Young EUFRAS workshop "System Constellation work" within the IALB, EUFRAS and SEASN conference on June 10th
- Covid-19 situation permitting an informal networking event and field trip in the fall of 2021
- Exploring opportunities for a networking event towards the end of the year with excursions
- Informal virtual thematic round-table networking events for members on an engaging platform such as wonder.me
- CECRA Train the trainer program 2020/21
- Exploring opportunities to build a virtual roster of project consortia for EU Horizon calls
In her presentation, Annick Spaans from ZLTO highlighted the need and advantage of YEUFRAS. The young advisors are particularly interested in such training course topics as:
- CECRA courses
- Coaching, group facilitation, handling difficult situations
- Visiting innovative demonstration farms
- Change management in farmers
- Animal diseases/zoonoses (importance of prevention/risks)
- Reduction of emissions
- Antimicrobial resistance
Introduction to the project and innovation support service and update on Horizon Europe Work programme actualities were presented by Elena-Teodora Miron, Austrian Chamber of Agriculture. It was agreed among the members to continue with a workshop on the virtual roster of project consortia for Horizon Europe calls. Find out more in the presentation!
i2connect project aims to fuel the competencies of advisors who will support and facilitate interactive innovation processes and was presented by Sylvain Sturel from the French Chambers of Agriculture. EUFRAS members were invited to:
• Register in the AS Database to boost your profile and strengthen the network of advisors and organizations in Europe
• Identify candidates for the next training courses:
- Training of advisors in Croatia, France, Ireland, Slovenia & Switzerland information & registration: national contacts
- Excellence classes for managers: 10-11 June 2021, online information & pre-registration: Jos.Verstegen@wur.nl
- Training of Trainers: preparatory webinars on 22 April, 6 May, 3 June & 2 Sept. 2 sessions: France (Lyon, 28-30 Sept.) & Ireland (Dublin, 5-7 Oct.) information and pre-registration: Kay.OConnell@teagasc.ie
• Share & showcase successful practical cases in interactive innovation support
• Take advantage of the project’s online resources
• Keep in touch with i2connect by subscribing to our newsletter & following us on social media
With a rather bold statement «Change! or you will be changed!!» EUFRAS Board member Ulrich Ryser presented the creation and distribution of knowledge - see the presentation! It was followed by the open discussion and group work where participants shared their best tips, tricks for online advisory work. The outcomes of the discussion are summarized by EUFRAS Board member Aleksander Bomberski and can be found here!
In the closing session, EUFRAS members were invited to save the date for the two upcoming EUFRAS annual events:
- Innovatiesteunpunt invites you to the EUFRAS General Assembly 2022 in Boerenbond and the City of Leuven - more information will follow!