History and evolution of the Regional Agency for Rural Development.
ERSA is an agency of the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia which operates in agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture. The Agency’s origins lie in the experimental stations set up in the latter half of the 19th century to introduce technical innovations into the rural economy.
In that period, the region was split between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Kingdom of Italy. The two governments set up specialist institutes at Gorizia and Udine, respectively to tackle the problems of sericulture and soil fertility. At the same time, anti-phylloxera consortiums were set up to coordinate the study of, and efforts to combat, the parasite that was wreaking serious damage to viticulture in Europe.
As times changed, and problems changed with them, the existing institutions were gradually transformed into autonomous units, which were later amalgamated into a single body for experimental agricultural research.
Subsequent reforms and restructuring led to the merger of the various research, development, control and advisory units in the agriculture and plant health areas, and the creation of the Regional Agency for Rural Development, which has kept its earlier name.
The Agency’s new structure arose from the need to provide a link between the requirements of producers and the activities of research, development and innovation professionals in the agricultural sector with the overarching aim of improving the quality of life for producers and citizens by enhancing the competitiveness of farm estates, product safety and levels of quality through protection of the environment and the development of rural areas.
In pursuing the aims for which it was created under L.R. 8/2004, ERSA is active throughout the entire agricultural production chain, from research to advisory services and promotion. Specifically, ERSA is active in technical and scientific assistance, research and development, training and updating for the transfer of innovation to agricultural and fisheries operators, the promotion and management of marks of origin and quality labels, and plant health protection and quality certification. Also among the Agency’s competencies are various international duties relating to the monitoring and control of plant health in the territory, and to the movement of plants.
In its role as a public agency, ERSA can safeguard and reconcile:
- the competitive capabilities of farms
- consumer safety
- protection of the environment and the conservation of rural areas
- control and certification
Specifically, the Agency operates in the following fields:
Research and Development
- Cultivation techniques
- Improvement/conservation of plant varieties
- Management of mountain dairies
- Land classification
- Food quality and safety
- Plant defence
Monitoring and Control
- Plant health and plant pathology
- Residues of plant protection products
- Soil and animal feed analyses
- Organic farming
- Teaching farms
- Production and movement of plants and products
- Propagation materials
- A.Qu.A quality label
Advisory Service and Technical Assistance
- Editing the Agency’s “Notiziario” (Newsletter) and technical monographs
- Web site
- Drafting weekly technical notes for radio broadcast
- Professional updating for farmers through conferences, seminars and courses
ERSA is legally domiciled at Gorizia and has a series of operational units distributed across the region. ERSA activities are implemented through an integrated system of operating units and experimental and demonstration farms, distributed across the territory and managed by two partially owned companies, Ersagricola and Saasd.