A Franco-Swiss border, farmers hit by Travellers

A Swiss farmer had to rethink a parcel, scheduled for intensive grass meadow with five harvests a year, to make sunflower. In Haute-Savoie, another farmer and mayor came under gunfire …

These are what journalists call trivia. But that impact the least important to the rural, to agricultural landscapes. It all started on a land owned by a French Switzerland (in fact, historically, the border has divided a single domain with one owner and land on both sides), there is a little over a month. The Friday before Easter Monday, about 40 caravans of Travellers settled on a private plot, agricultural. The farmer is headquartered Swiss side, the town of Veyrier, just in front of the Haute-Savoie, in Geneva.

In Switzerland, a field pollution by human waste

Called on the phone by WikiAgri Claude Rosset, the farmer in question, explains: “The plot, she was thoughtful to provide grass meadow This is an intensive, five harvests a year, mainly with alfalfa. . This herb helps me to feed a herd of twenty cows, who were 30 before, but I’m not going to increase again soon I also have vineyards and orchards. This herd is an extra, So with its consumption in grass. The problems posed by the arrival of gypsies are many. First, they stayed almost 15 days. The police had advised me not to complain because of the time, out of time, taken in righteousness. And also to negotiate with the Travellers on the day of their departure. Problem, they stayed longer than the six days scheduled. It took the threat of a forceful intervention of security forces for them to leave. Upon departure, I plowed the edge of my field so that they can come back. And I did well because, having been turned away, they tried to return. Then I inspected my field. Because of the many human waste, I inquired about the tapeworm, so manmade, he saw 8 months. So no matter graze the fear of disease transmission from animals, it has happened elsewhere. So I had to change my crops to sow sunflowers instead. And that, after having to make deep plowing, to fully bury the feces in question. And I will have to buy 100 bales of hay (note: at 250 kilos the haystack, at a cost of 30 Swiss francs per 100 kg, almost the same in euros). But even that is not simple. We have laws in Switzerland, no question of having a rotation with more than 33% sunflower. Now, I’m over, so I had to apply for and obtain a waiver, then it took prevent customs, because I had pre-declared herb crops and not of sunflower … Of course I did not have the equipment to deep plowing, nor even for the sunflower harvest a neighbor will come to my house. ”

On arrival so a big shortfall, administrative concerns, a land-use change and human pollution which only a farmer can get around …

Ski touring in Spitsbergen: Travel border of extreme

It took several days before suffering the spot. Here it is, after a long stretch, that appears behind the mouth of a frozen river. Around us, the scenery is magnificent: on both sides of the fjord along which we glide, the mountains are shaped like castle battlements. We see her, but above all we hear. If compressing on herself, she snores, growls and cracks on the surface. Plates, cracks and imperfections snowdrifts trace on her white and flat immensity, it looks like some places have been carved by an abstract artist. As an old door badly oiled, it squeaks in a shrill whistle, rather disturbing. Everything But still, the ice seems -vivante.

Four days of ski touring were needed to reach her at the rate of ten kilometers and six hours of skiing a day on average, in the beautiful and deserted panoramas. Our group of nine is led by a French guide. We started from Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen main town (2,000 inhabitants), the most northerly in the world. It is located on the largest island of Svalbard, an archipelago under Norwegian administration, floating far beyond the Arctic Circle. The North Pole is 1,338 km, 2,313 km to Oslo. In early April, a hard, icy snow still covers the whole territory (39,000 square kilometers, about 61,000 of Svalbard), the highest peaks reaching 1,700 meters. At this time of year, the day is almost continuous: the sun hides two or three hours after midnight, leaving a bluish twilight in which we can easily move without artificial light. At the lower the temperature down to – 20 degrees. We have, it seems, are in luck. Previous -semaine, he made up – 32 degrees.

Face cold and polar wind

On the first day, however, is not the cold – you get used surprisingly quickly with the right equipment – that welcomes us, but another companion of Spitsbergen: the wind. Blowing from the east, it takes us face as we go up the valley of Adventdalen. The Norwegian who minivan drove us to our starting point, just outside Longyearbyen, warned: “The worst thing is the wind, everything depends on him. “Under a gray sky, veiled and hostile, it cools the atmosphere, stolen snow dust in all directions and increases the intensity of effort required. I wanted to discover the Arctic? I am, and I wonder a bit why I subjected me this event – it will not be the last time this week. Under these conditions, the first step is exhausting. Such a ski tour, engaging, otherwise warrants an excellent physical preparation. The habit of snow is an advantage: among my fellow travelers, mountaineers seem much more comfortable. Luckily, the weather is with us that week: the bulk of the hike takes place under a generous sun and a comforting blue sky.

The expedition is all the more tiring it is not limited to push all day on sticks to move, dragging a pulk (sled) behind 20 kilos, in which transports its business material and food for six days of hiking. In the evening, we also set up camp where we spend the night. Spitsbergen, shelters do not exist. Using saws and shovels, we first dig a trench in the snow round and then draw a table around which we spend all the time we do not sleep. The blocks extracted are used to maintain and protect the town from the wind tent, called “mess tent”, a large red tipi son hanging by our skis planted in the ground. Then, mount the individual tents to dry wet clothes and boil snow tirelessly with the two stoves brought with us. It is with hot water that comes out that one is drinking and makes edible freeze-dried dishes constituting our meals. Tonight the yellow powder turned into a delicious invigorating aligot seems. In this all-white universe of discomfort, hot tea and a soft brownie taste like little treasures.