Austria: Help for farming families in need

BIOMIN has been supporting the association Bauern für Bauern for many years. It was created in 2007 by Maschinenring (a coalition of more than 74,000 members active in agriculture) and other supporters. It offers financial support to farming families in emergency situations.

Maschinenring has a long-standing tradition of helping farmers in need: Social assistants always help out when farmers need manpower the most. For example, when farmers can’t work because they have a cast; they do the work when a baby is born, or they are available to offer support when the head of a farm dies and their surviving family members do not know how to run a farm. It was therefore only the logical next step to provide financial support in addition to labor, which is why Bauern für Bauern was created eleven years ago.

Decisions are made by an independent committee

Maschinenring manages the association Bauern für Bauern; however, it is completely independent. An awarding committee makes neutral, independent decisions on who is entitled to this support, in accordance with the association’s statutes.

Hans Peter Werderitsch, who is in charge of fundraising, notes, “The problem may arise, for example, as a result of an accident or death, when a parent is suddenly alone and has to juggle raising a family and running the farm. The secondary costs of serious illnesses can also push farming families to their financial limit.” Any farming family who requires assistance can submit an application to any Maschinenring office; there are over 80 of them across Austria. You do not need to be a member of Maschinenring to be eligible.

The applicant and the local Maschinenring manager fill out the application together, which is then submitted to Bauern für Bauern. The Chamber of Agriculture then delivers its statement concerning the application, provided that all of the necessary documents have been submitted to the independent awarding committee. The committee, which has seven members in total, decides whether it can provide support in accordance with its statutes and how much the applicant will receive. Decisions are made as quickly as possible to help applicants who are in urgent need of support. Depending on the severity of the situation, applicants receive donations between EUR 500 and EUR 6,000.

Donations do a world of good

From its founding in 2007 to the end of 2017, Bauern für Bauern was able to help 178 families with a total of EUR 652,589.

In addition to major donors such as BIOMIN, many private individuals also support Bauern für Bauern. Every year, from November to March, calls for donations are made in newspapers and magazines dedicated to agriculture, such as the Maschinenring member newspaper, the “BauernZeitung,” or in “Landwirt.”

“Privacy is very important to Bauern für Bauern, which is why it does not publish any of the recipients’ stories. This is because farming families need support during a crisis, not publicity,” says Deputy Chairman Johann Schinko. “We appreciate any and all financial contributions we receive. In the first half of 2018 alone, we have received 14 applications from people who are in serious need of assistance.”