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Vertical and horizontal diversification in Agriculture
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The cooperation of the last year is continued 2015. It is a cooperation between the Rural Youth Lower Austria and the agricultural chamber of Austria. Their initiative is called “Gutes vom Bauernhof”. The project title is “Vertical and horizontal diversification in Agriculture”. Vertical diversification means expansion within a special part of the concept – for example direct marketing: presenting a special product in another way. Horizontal diversification stands for expansion and integration of a complete new idea in the existing system. Diversification in Agriculture plays an important role in the Austrian agricultural section. Especially in the tourist areas farm stays in apartments or bed & breakfast is offered. Many farmers also work in the field of direct marketing and offer their own local products in own farm shops. Agricultural additional acquisition and diversification measures provide more development opportunities for the agricultural sector. The Rural Youth Lower Austria has developed a project in cooperation with higher agricultural schools for students to expand their experience abroad. The pupils should work on specialized farms with diversification measures in Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Ireland and France and thus gain international experiences and implement new ideas for their own farms at home. In higher agricultural and forestry colleges 14 weeks practical traineeships are compulsory between the 3rd and 4th grade forms (see curricula for HLFS in Austria). The curricula for HLFS recommended in view of the development of linguistic skills to complete the internship abroad. The present project of the Rural Youth Lower Austria provides the opportunity to implement these compulsory internships on specialized diversification farms in other European countries. The Rural Youth Lower Austria has access to the expertise of the Rural Youth Austria, which is experienced in the processing of Leonardo da Vinci PLM or IVT for many years. With the new mobility project under Erasmus+ up to 150 students from Austria’s HLFS can gain specialized experience abroad until 2016. The Rural Youth Lower Austria implements the ECVET system for the agricultural traineeships. The approval of the training activity abroad will be thus unified according to the European standard. The project objectives are to improve language skills, personal development, intercultural and social competences, the appropriation of agricultural expertise and building work-related contacts abroad, as well as an insight into agricultural labor in diversification sections and perspectives in another European country. The students are better qualified by these competencies and strengthen the agricultural sector in Austria and its touristic areas. Activities: Trainees seek for internships on specialized touristic or direct marketing farms throughout Europe for about 14 weeks. Through partner organizations abroad and together with the agricultural colleges, the Rural Youth Lower Austria organizes for the project 2015 internships in 6 countries at the moment such as: Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Ireland, Norway and France, thus the main language during the internships will be English. The independent organization Rural Youth Lower Austria is working for the project with partner organizations across Europe in order to provide a high quality of internships. The support from the partner organizations contains the selection and control of traineeship placements, the farm descriptions in advance, internship contracts, arrival support, orientation seminars in Austria and in the host country, site visits, personal advices, insurance, evaluation, etc. The services of the partner organizations are agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding. The objectives of the measure are actually following: • Increase of foreign language skills and agricultural terminology • Personal development and self-independence • Appropriation of agricultural knowledge in the diversification section such as agritourism or direct marketing • Social competence, intercultural competence, tolerance of other cultures and perspectives • Getting to know the diversity of European agriculture, various labor and perspectives The students from the agricultural sector acquire through this measure, higher qualifications and strengthen the overall agriculture and rural areas. More European cooperation and understanding in agriculture should be gained. The topic of the project is supported by the initiative “Gutes vom Bauernhof” of the agricultural chamber of Austria. By many public relations measures of the rural youth Austria Lower Austria this mobility initiative is getting public nationwide.
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