I became self-employed in order to be able to continue the work I’m dedicated to – nature care. To stop the decline in nature areas, to push development in the right direction and to find nature care solutions, which can be used by farmers in practice.
Partner i Natur & Landbrug ApS, Tjele
You would think that caring for nature in Denmark is a public task. However, during the last many years it seems like nature quality has been declining: Protection of meadow areas, river valley and the common, which are so important for biodiversity, wildlife and water quality.
Lisbeth Nielsen was formerly employed at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences in Foulum, but when the funds for nature care stopped, she took the matter in her own hands.
”I could see that there was a possibility to continue my work via innovation funds , rural district funds, funds from municipalities and The Danish Forest and Nature Agency. You can say that I partially continued as a privatised version of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences in Foulum, where you also search for project funds”, says Lisbeth Nielsen, who is a researcher, but also a practician, who can create innovation projects so that the research results are put to work for nature here and now.
“It’s about finding methods of management, which farmers can make use of financially and which at the same time functions as nature care. Farmers cannot pay for the nature care out of their own pocket, so it’s necessary that there also are other benefits for them”, she explains.
An example of one of her projects is to harvest biomass from the river valleys. When the biomass is gasified and used as sustainable energy, you can use the residual product as ecological NPK fertiliser other places at the site, where it does not harm the watercourses. “We move the nutrients from the river valleys, where they harm the watercourses and get them moved to other places, where they benefit – and at the same time the river valley is cared for”, she explains.
Another example is de-grazing of meadow areas, because it both improves the bio diversity and gives the beef a fatty acid composition that makes it healthier. “To use our knowledge for the advantage of nature, as well as the farmers and the consumers, that is a healthy economy. We call it nature care beef and climate beef”, she says.
Lisbeth Nielsen’s partner in the company, Anna Bodil Hald, is located on the island of Zealand. They talk often on the phone, and together they are able to cover projects across the country in co-operation with a large network of other partners. “We work in networks crisscrossed by each other in order to get new projects. In order to do this you need to stay on the ball, be present at a lot of conferences and meetings in this area, have a broad field of work and be on the run all the time”, says Lisbeth Nielsen. Although this takes a lot of hard work, she does not want to go without being self-employed.
“I have a much larger freedom of movement as self-employed and can work at all stages of a project – from farm to fork. For example, I’ve just been in a project with New Nordic Food”.
Furthermore, Lisbeth is very fond of her work days in the open air. “I’m often in the field all day, for example with agricultural personnel, whom we hire for larger plant cuts and plant registrations. I also enjoy the co-operation with the farmers. Sometimes I get them to think about nature in a way, which is profitable for them.”