How Regionalwert AGs with citizen-shares secure non-heritage succession of the farm
An estimated 3.5 million farmers across the EU will retire in the coming years. In Germany alone, succession on the farm is unresolved in 70 percent of cases. In order to ensure that farms remain available for regional food supply, Regionalwert AGs in Germany offer help with the extra-family regulation of succession.
Regionalwert AG - What is behind the idea?
Fair prices beyond anonymous competition. Guaranteed purchase of the products by the regional businesses. Assistance in implementing organic standards in order to cultivate agricultural land sustainably. All supported by the citizens.
Unrealistic? Fairytale? Utopian? Some major regions in Germany are already implementing the idea of Regionalwert AG and have already saved many farms from bankruptcy in the past.
A Regionalwert AG is an unlisted public company in the food and agricultural sector, which is financed by private and institutional investors. The shares of Bürger:innen form the capital basis for a network of producing, processing, distribution, gastronomy and trade companies. The goal: regional value creation from the field to the plate. The standards: social, ecological and economic - for the benefit of people, animals and the environment.
And who benefits from this?
For example, farms that are faced with the question of where land and farmsteads should go when they retire. Price dumping, standards and unreliable agricultural policies make it increasingly difficult for farmers to find a qualified successor. Often they simply sell to the nearest large company and the small farming structures in the region have one farm less again.
And this is where Regionalwert AG comes in. One of the main purposes of the Bürgeraktiengesellschaft is to advise and financially support farming businesses in the region in arranging their succession.
Sounds good. And how does it work exactly?
Interested companies should first familiarize themselves with the social, ecological and economic standards according to which partner companies commit themselves.
The further procedure differs slightly from Regionalwert AG to Regionalwert AG, but is basically comparable. In the Hamburg region, for example, the process starts with the retrieval of data on the company via a so-called investment profile. The company must then be evaluated by an expert and presented to the board of directors and supervisory board. After the data has been checked, a participation agreement is jointly developed.
Who gets my farm then?
Regionalwert AGs are not only contacted by farmers who want to give up their farm, but also by those who want to expand, start up or convert to organic farming. The Regionalwert AGs bring these people together, mediate between them and help to arrange the transfer legally and financially.
In Germany there are four Regionalwert AGs in 2020 in Berlin, Hamburg, Freiburg and Rhineland area. Others are currently being founded. Due to the great interest of citizens in regionally produced food, work is currently underway to transfer the model to other countries in Europe and beyond.
More information and contact to the already existing Regionalwert AGs can be found here:
Do you already have contact with Regionalwert AGs in your area or is the concept completely new to you? What is your vision of a sustainable food industry?