The best of the peasant

"Die Leut stinkt das alles," says poultry farmer Georg Heitlinger in broad Swabian. Heitlinger wants the compulsory levy, which is to be paid nationwide by around 380.000 farmers have to pay for joint advertising, abolish it. The German Farmers' Association is fighting for the continued existence of central agricultural marketing. The Federal Constitutional Court has the last word.

Every farmer pays into a fund e Since no farmer can afford his own advertising, every farmer pays into a fund to promote sales. This will primarily finance the Central Marketing Association of the German Agricultural Industry (CMA) and the Central Market and Price Reporting Office (ZMP). The CMA is mainly responsible for advertising measures, while the ZMP is mainly responsible for price transparency.According to DBV data, a farmer pays, for example, 0.1 cents per liter of milk or 51 cents per pig. This means that the sales fund receives around 90 million euros a year. While the DBV estimates that an average farmer pays only about 360 euros a year, Heitlinger expects to pay 800 to 1000 euros a year. "The majority of farmers don't even know what they have to pay for the CMA," he says indignantly.

Lawsuit against compulsory levy before Federal Catching Court "I'd rather burn the money, then at least I'll have warm hands," Heitlinger rages. Heitlinger is not just anyone. The master over 40.000 chickens from Eppingen in Baden-Wurttemberg filed a lawsuit against the compulsory levy at the Cologne Administrative Court last year and was initially proven right. Since other courts did not share this view, the Federal Constitutional Court must now rule on the legality of the levy. In contrast to the Farmers' Association, the poultry baron is convinced that the judges in Karlsruhe will agree with him."Since the CMA has no longer been allowed to advertise German agricultural products since 2002, but only agricultural products in general, it has thus also lost its raison d'être," explains Heitlinger. German farmers otherwise paid for advertising from which foreign competitors also profited. Heitlinger also has nothing good to say about the work of the CMA. Especially the last advertising campaign with young couples and slogans like "I love beautiful thighs" was extremely sexist.

Decision probably not until the end of 2008 The compulsory levy is collected from farmers by around 30,000 agricultural businesses, such as dairies or slaughterhouses. Around 70 percent of these farms have now also lodged an objection to the levy. Heitlinger sees it as a clear vote. In addition, about 1000 people a day visited his website absatzfonds-abschaffen.de. The Farmers' Association does not expect a decision from the Federal Constitutional Court until the end of 2008, while Heitlinger expects it to be ied by the end of 2007.Since then, the sales fund has been running out of money in any case. Because from the payments made under contradiction the farmer federation must form reserves for the case that the Federal catching court considers the Obolus unlawful and the fund must repay the money. The CMA budget for 2007 alone was cut by 50 percent. Since then, advertising with beautiful thighs is rarely seen – at least by the CMA.

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Christina Cherry
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