In France MIXED is implemented by AGROOF and INRAE in collaboration. The project is working with two groups of farmers practicing MiFAS (Mixed Farming and Agroforestry Systems) in different ways.
Agriculture in France can be characterized as highly specialized and reliant on inputs (synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, feed, etc.). Indeed, livestock is concentrated in a limited number of regions and has almost disappeared in cropping areas. This segregation in space has led to a disconnection between crop and livestock farms.
In France, there are two main types of pig farmers: traditional breeders raising their pigs in enclosed conditions and engaged in an integrated chain, and breeders developing outdoor systems (organic and red label productions) either engaged in an integrated chain or managing their own marketing.
Agroof works in collaboration with a network of pig breeders of the Baron des Cévennes chain. These farmers occupy remarkable production sites, woods formerly called Plantades, often public, dominated by oak and chestnut trees that have traditionally been used to feed pigs. These systems ensure animal well-being by practicing outdoor breeding, preserve the environment by favouring extensive farming, and produce high quality meat thanks to rigorous specifications. Each animal, with 100% Duroc genetics, develops at its own pace with a local diet based on cereals, acorns and chestnuts.
In French mountainous areas, crop farmers are mainly located in the valleys and mainly grow cereals and oilseeds whereas livestock farmers are located in the piedmont and in the mountains and raise mainly beef cattle. Crop farmers are dependent on synthetic fertilizers and livestock farmers are dependent on feed concentrate inputs.
INRAE works in collaboration with a network located in South-western France (Ariège) which involves three different groups of neighboring farmers (10-15), including one group of organic farmers. These groups aim at developing crop-livestock integration beyond farm level. Crop farmers are interested in diversifying their rotations and being supplied with cattle manure. And livestock farmers are interested in local and non-GM feed for their animals. These groups have been engaged in a co-design process for five years to achieve climate change mitigation, soil fertility and nutrient cycling.