Innovation offensive

Topic area
Agriculture and forestry, incl. value chain

Disaggregation level
Knowledge transfer
Education & lifelong learning
Agricultural services
Risk management
Business management
Value added

Project region
Lower Austria
Upper Austria

LE– Programming Period
LE 14–20

Project period
Dezember 2015-Mai 2017 (geplantes Projektende)

Project costs overall
94.000 €

Subsidy from LE 14-20
94.000 €

EN - 1.1.1. a) Begleitende Berufsbildung, Fort- und Weiterbildung zur Verbesserung der fachlichen Qualifikation - Landwirtschaft

Project initiator
LFI Österreich

Short description

This project can be seen as the starting point for a multiple-year process and incudes the implementation of the first project steps as well as the project concept. The aim is to establish a common basis and the necessary support for an innovative culture on the Austrian farms as well as to promote agricultural consultation and the education of adults.

The major aim is to encourage the Austrian farmers to develop and adopt innovative approaches in terms of their farm and business management and to provide them with continuous support. This represents a major step towards the improvement of the farms’ competitiveness, the farm revenues and the quality of life.

Point of departure

The increasing production costs and low producer prices within the last years have caused a significant drop in farm incomes. Furthermore, the climate change as well as the political and economic crisis imply planning uncertainties for farmers that make it necessary to continuously develop and improve the own farm concepts.

The progressive market globalization, the increased price volatility and costs are additionally intensifying the competitive pressure on Austrian agriculture. The combination of all influencing factors results in the need of an individual adjustment of business practices in order to ensure the farms’ competitiveness on a long-term basis. Taking innovative steps is highly important. Some of the basic prerequisites for the successful acting is the presence of business competence and the potential for innovative thinking and an effective implementation. The innovative approach in terms of improving the competitive capacity and the sustainable business and income development can be regarded as the key element regarding education, training and information within rural areas.

Even though there is a considerable number of innovative agricultural businesses, there is still much room for improvement in order to achieve a wide-ranging motivation and willingness to innovate agriculture. There is an increased need for the sensitization of the business managers and responsible actors in terms of agricultural education and innovation. Furthermore, the framework conditions for the effective development and implementation of innovative ideas in the agricultural sector, especially on farms, have to be improved.

Targets and target groups

This project on innovation offensive targets farmers, LFI-trainers as well as advisors from the Chamber of Agriculture.



The following targets shall be addressed throughout this project:


-          Raising the awareness of both, the LFI (Laendliches Fortbildungsinstitut) and the Chambers of Agriculture, regarding the need for the innovation and improvement of the business professionality. Furthermore, the innovation culture shall be promoted among farmers.
-          Improvement of the networking platform (“Potenzialentfaltungsgemeinschaften”) for farmers and other actors in the value-added chain.
-          Improvement of cooperation between the production branch and marketing branch on the farms, as well as with the related upstream and downstream sectors.
-          Creation of a database providing examples of good and best practices that have been determined on pilot/ leading farms before. The content shall serve as inspiration for other farmers.  Furthermore, the pilot farms could be the destination of future excursions and farm visits.
-          Development of a concept for the improvement of the innovation culture. It includes training events (innovation workshops, working groups) for farmers as well as awareness rising and information activities concerning the development of more innovative farm business models.
-          Development of designs for the mentioned information events and the training of moderators/workshop leaders.

Project implementation and measures

The actions include:

-          information events on innovation;
-          the development of designs for working groups and workshops as well as for the development of a concept on a more process-oriented innovation support;
-          the upskilling of advisors from the Chamber of Agriculture to moderators and leaders of the planned workshops and working groups on innovation;
-          study excursions to pilot farms/ leading farms for multipliers;
-          the establishment of a database listing Austrian leading farms.

Results and effects

The exchange of knowledge and experience shall be facilitated and promoted. The developing innovation culture of the agricultural sector shall encourage farmers to actively shape and develop their business models.  Farmers shall be capable to properly assess their situation and to carefully identify and realize reasonable, innovative approaches. In this way they are able to safeguard their income situation and their quality of life over the long term.