Agricultural Expert Panel at the German Environment Agency

a very huge field without plants, trees and bushesClick to enlarge
Agriculture has to become "greener" to protect soil, water and biodiversity
Source: Martina Chirnielewski /

The Agricultural Expert Panel at the German Environment Agency (KLU) concluded its three-year term of office with the publication of a detailed paper on the future of agriculture in October 2019. The KLU is an independent panel of scientific experts and scholars and has advised UBA on environmental issues in agriculture since 2010.

The panel's focus in 2016-2019 was on the future of agriculture. They developed recommendations to realize a future-oriented and sustainable agriculture along five priority areas:

  1. Strengthen sustainable rural-regional development – new prospects and better policy for agriculture, nature and environment
  2. Optimize nutrient cycles – reduce nutrient surpluses
  3. Modify and develop the food system sustainably
  4. International agricultural trade – fair and sustainable
  5. Digital transformation for an improved environmental impact of agriculture

The KLU published its position paper on the future of agriculture in October 2019 (German): Landwirtschaft quo vadis? - Agrar- und Ernährungssysteme der Zukunft – Vielfalt gewähren, Handlungsrahmen abstecken. At a one-day  conference in November 2018, the KLU discussed its positions with some 140 decision makers from government, agriculture, trade and citizens,  During its term of office, the KLU also examined the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In its paper calling for a CAP reform, the KLU demands a shift away from area-based payments and develops benchmarks for the funding period after 2021.

The KLU is a group of scientists and scholars of various fields of agriculture, representatives of agencies and civil society. They work on a volunteer basis and are appointed by the President of the German Environment Agency.

KLU members 2016-2019

• Chairman: Prof. Dr. Alois Heißenhuber, Agricultural economist and professor (ret.), Technical University of Munich
• Deputy Chairman: Prof. Dr. Hubert Wiggering, Professor, Institute for Earth and Environmental Science, University of Potsdam
• Dipl.-Ing. Agr., Diplôme d‘Agronomie Générale, Ingrid Apel, Adviser for strategic communication and public relations, Berlin and Paris
 Dr. Martin Bach, Scientific researcher in the fields of agriculture, landscape and water ecosystems and the material cycle, Justus Liebig University Giessen
• Dr. Tanja Busse, Author and facilitator
• Dr. Annette Freibauer, Director, Institute for Organic Farming, Soil and Resource Management at the Bavarian State Research Center for Agriculture, Freising, Germany
• Prof. Dr. Kurt-Jürgen Hülsbergen, Chair, Organic Agriculture and Agronomy, Technical University of Munich
• Andreas Krug, Head of Division "Integrated Nature Conservation and Sustainable Use; Biosafety" Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) Bonn
• Heino von Meyer, Director, Berlin Centre of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
• Dr. Stefan Möckel, Lawyer and Scientific Officer in Environmental and Planning Law, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Leipzig
• Prof. Dr. Karin Holm-Müller, Chair of Resource and Environmental Economics, University of Bonn
• Prof. Dr. Dr. Urs Niggli, Director, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FibL), Frick, Switzerland
• Dipl.-Geol. Ulrich Peterwitz, Head of Division "Water Management", Gelsenwasser AG utilities company, Gelsenkirchen
• Lutz Ribbe, Conservation policy director at the EuroNatur Foundation, Member of the European Economic and Social Committee of the European Union,
• Prof. Dr. Christoph Winckler, Division of Livestock Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna

Administrative Office 2016-2019

The KLU’s administrative office is established within Section II 2.8 " Agriculture " of the German Environment Agency. Staff members include:

Dr. Knut Ehlers
Agronomist with experience in soil and agricultural consultancy and communications. Earned his Ph.D. at ETH Zurich. Research stays in Sweden, Norway, Kenya and Burkina Faso; Head of Section "Agriculture" at UBA.

Dr. Anne Biewald
Agricultural economist, Research fellow in the UBA section "Agriculture"; Former Researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, specialized in modelling global land and water use.

Dr. Diana Sorg
Agricultural Scientist with a PhD in Animal Science; agricultural technical assistant in UBA section "Agriculture". Prior experience includes academic research and teaching in animal physiology, animal genetics and methane emissions from cattle at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and Technical University of Munich.

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