Christian Vieth

Ashoka Fellow
Germany,
Fellow Since 2012

Citation

This profile was prepared when Christian Vieth was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
In Germany and beyond, small and midsized farms serve an essential role for biodiversity, organic food production, landscape management, economic stability of rural areas, and social integration of retired farmers. However, 70 percent of Germany’s 300,000 (mostly small) farms do not have a successor within their families. Currently, up to 10,000 small and midsized farms close per year, although many of them could provide decent income for one to two families. This shows that the underlying reasons are not economic but cultural, social, and educational.

Christian, a business graduate and agricultural scientist, understands the complex set of issues lying beneath the handover issue and confronts it in a holistic and innovative way: he wants to change the paradigm of how farm succession works. Because he is well connected to institutions educating young people for careers in farming and agriculture, he can shape a future perspective on entrepreneurship in agriculture for an interested young generation. He also consults and educates farmers about the possibilities of succession without a family member involved—a revolutionary thought for many of them. Christian offers an online matchmaking platform, the first in Germany, that connects farmers with young agricultural entrepreneurs interested in taking over the daily work on the farm, while also enabling the predecessors to stay at the farm with a secure pension. Christian then takes these individuals through the process of taking over, educating and training them to understand their financial and legal options in a small farm takeover.

Christian scales his model by training farm-take-over-coaches, as well as further deepening his education, networking, and lobbying efforts. Christian’s methodology serves to successfully promote the positive perspectives an entrepreneurial career in agriculture offers; while it also serves as a model to manage agricultural transition in many other European countries.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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