Tuesday afternoon, half past two, in grobziegenfeld. The scent of lavender drifts from the farm garden across the yard, snowy ducks take a nap in the shade of a tractor. The warm sun makes the wheat field on the edge of the court glow golden.
A sow grunts her comment, as if in approval, to henrik gieger's statement: "she's a real trooper." In the middle of the farm idyll, the young man in the female protective suit and with the ultrasound device, the so-called pregtone, in his hand, it's all about the whole thing: he takes the practical final exam to become a farmer.
This year, a total of 45 youngsters will be tested by the coburg office for agriculture, food and forestry on five days. 28 pruflinge are graduates of the coburg vocational school and have undergone a classic dual training program. 17 are graduates of the farmer training program at the bamberg office for food, agriculture and forestry – career changers who already have an auberschulische education and have acquired the essential content in the evening or in block courses over three years.
The theoretical part, the written examination, will take place next week. Then knowledge in economics and social studies is tested. Henrik gieger from klosterlangheim is one of eight trainee farmers taking part in the practical part of the final examination on the piglet breeding farm of the schwarzmann family in the award-winning juradorf village.
"The graduates can choose whether they want to be tested on cattle or pigs", explains thomas schwarzmann, landlord, prufer and expert advisor at the office for agriculture, food and forestry in bayreuth in personal union. "An apprentice has chosen a chicken farm as a training company", adds vocational school teacher tanja schilling. She is rooting for her proteges in grobziegenfeld. In two sections, divided into morning and afternoon, the graduates have to answer questions from two auditors each.
As romantic as village life may seem at first glance, most farms today are modern businesses that keep up with the times and face up to technical and economic challenges. To run a farm like this, farmers need technical know-how as well as expertise in crop and animal production – a broad-based knowledge that the pruflinge in grobziegenfeld have to demonstrate. Excitement is part and parcel of exams. But the man from klosterlangheim seems self-confident. "Of course, there are subject areas that suit you more than others", he admits critically, but remains confident. The 19-year-old and his colleagues answer questions about livestock breeding: how do they assess a group of piglets in terms of their fattening characteristics?? What is the purchase price? What is the documentation for the use of medicines and a change in stock?? How to calculate a mixture with the available feed for the same group of piglets? And they solve tasks on crop production: prepare all the work for sowing suitable winter barley in the trial farm on a flat of 2.5 hectares. Calculate the manure requirement for this area of barley. Assess the existing barley crop on the farm. They also have to answer questions on the operational safety and technical adjustment of agricultural machinery. "To ensure equal opportunities, because not all training companies have the same machines, the trainees can take a look around their training company beforehand and familiarize themselves with everything", explains thomas schwarzmann.
Prospective farmers need to be familiar with all aspects of the job, even if they go on to specialize later in their careers. Like henrik gieger. He completed his training on a pig fattening farm, while his parents' farm is used for agriculture. So he becomes a farmer because it is expected from home? "Rather not", says the klosterlangheimer with a smile. His parents had also supported it, he had learned another profession.
But he has grown into agriculture, he admits critically. For him, the test is not the end of the road. "I want to become a technician." And it sounds almost blackmerian when he says that hardly any other profession is so varied. It varies with the seasons. "You are in nature and always have something to do." And as if in approval, the sows don't grunt now, but the haflingers max and moritz snort, who could almost look over the shoulder of the klosterlangheimer during the final examination talk in the barn.