"Imminence" will be the queen of the Salon this year. It is a cow of the race "Blue of the North" which almost disappeared during the twentieth century. She was raised on the lands of the present region of Hauts de France. She was a victim of the German occupation twice, with the fact that it involved taking herds off the flocks to feed the soldiers in the field. As a result, it is only present in 25 farms including that held by Gilles Druet in Saint Aubin in the valley of Avesnois where produces a smelling cheese known as Maroilles. A local product that Dany Boon, in one of his films, spread on his toast to accompany the breakfast coffee!
Good preservation of hardy breeds
This local and rustic breed is a good dairy without the returns of herds of the Prim'Holstein, worn for decades by a genetic selection that made it a fragile animal. The "Blue North" has been preserved thanks to the abnegation of patient breeders like Gilles Druet. Defender of a family farm farming, the man who deals with "Imminence" at the show, notes that "the evolution of agriculture is such that we are growing more and more breeders are only diminishing. Like him, other passionate breeders have saved the Breton Black Magpie, the Froment du Léon, the Maraîchine, the Bazadaise and all this diversified genetic capital with also the Normande, the Montbéliarde, the Eastern Red Magpie mountain breeds like Abundance and tarantaise for milk. This is also true for ewes and to a lesser extent for goats and draft horses.
In cattle farming, there are as many cows that are never milked as dairy. These are the meat breeds of which the best known are the Charolais, limousine, salers, red meadows, blond of Aquitaine, Aubrac and some others. These were once animals used to plow and charroyer before the arrival of tractors, few in France until the second half of the twentieth century. All these cattle will be visible for nine days in Pavilion 1.
Highlighting regional products
The Plant Odyssey is a staging of plant cultivation and will occupy Pavilion 2.2 which is accessed from the 1 by a escalator. It should be noted in this regard that the communication of exhibitors changes to take into account the current and future changes in production conditions in the face of the consequences of global warming.
Pavilions 3 / 5.1 / and 5.2 allow regional products to be tasted and marketed as appropriate, be it wines, breads, cold meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables and quantities of other products, while catering offers a lot of diversity in the different regions of metropolitan France and overseas. In the educational farm of Pavilion 4 one can admire poultry and rabbits while dogs and cats occupy the pavilion 7.1. History of experiencing some form of change of scenery, there is even in the pavilion 5.2 a space reserved for the "Livestock of the world" in which we can admire camels, dromedaries, llamas, yaks and goats of Somalia.
If this show shows what is still the diversity and intrinsic quality of agriculture in France, it does not allow to see that this potential is now threatened for at least two reasons. The income that most farmers get from their work is not up to the efforts of the men and women who produce our daily food. As a result, it is becoming increasingly difficult to install young people who are struggling to borrow because of uncertainties about income. However, the average age of operators is close to 50 years in France and peasants who will leave the profession in the next five years are very numerous. Tomorrow, if an agriculture of firms launched in speculative policies on agricultural raw materials replaced the family farms, there would be less diversity and less quality in agricultural production. In this country, the most innovative farmers are those who transform their products and sell them directly to consumers, be they winemakers, market gardeners or producers of farmhouse cheeses.
Abnormally low agricultural prices at the beginning of the year
Finally, almost five months after the adoption of the Egalim law, which the President of the Republic said would make it possible to pay farmers better by taking into account the evolution of production costs in setting the price, the situation has not improved, far from it. The price of the kilogram of pork butcher carcass was 1.18 € on February 18th at home against 1.40 € in Germany. The number of dairy cows that went to the butcher shop was € 2.65 per kilogram. The price of 1,000 liters of milk leaving the farm runs between 320 and 330 €, against 370 € in 2014 while the consequences of the drought of the summer and autumn 2018 have significantly increased production costs. The price of wheat returned to the port of Rouen for export fell to 189 € per ton at the end of February whereas it revolved around 195 € per ton for weeks. That of malting barley which stood around € 195 per tonne between August and December 2018 fell to € 165 in February 2019. The same is true for corn fell in a few days from € 170 to € 165 per tonne. The ton of rapeseed to produce oil currently sells for 366 €, against 430 € last year at the same time.
The peasants will therefore have good reason to challenge the President of the Republic and his ministers on their broken promises during the visits to the show.
(1) The show is open to visitors from Saturday, February 23 to Sunday, March 3 from 9H to 19H. The entrance ticket costs 14 €. It is 7 € for children from 6 to 12 years, admission is free for children under six.