Interview of Bertrand, Clément and Jean LE VERDIER, flax producers from father to son.
Bertrand Le Verdier learnt about flax culture through his father. He experienced the flax culture automatization : together with his father, he used to harvest small bundles of flax straw. Nowadays, the bundles have become flax bales that are harvested with big roundballers .
Since they were young, his two sons have been in contact with flax culture, which has always been the lead culture in the farm.
Bertrand Le Verdier remembers « When they were 18, Clément and Jean used to fight with each other to be the one that would pull flax… ».
TERRE DE LIN : « To what extent is flax a culture of transmission ?
Bertrand Le Verdier : – The know-how of flax culture requires above all a good soil preparation and the management of humidity. Understanding the impacts on the soil structure before sowing is also critical to make quality flax. This learning process requires some time.
You do not grow flax independantly from other cultures : the 5 to 7 year rotation (according to the field) is thus key to grow quality flax.
We are in a family-run multicrop-livestock farming system. When my two sons decided join me in the farm, we have redesigned the culture rotation so that each of us could bring his own contribution.
TERRE DE LIN: -What does flax culture bring compared to other cultures?
Clément and Jean Le Verdier: – There is a specific relationship with flax. Compared to cereal cultivation, it is a culture of passion ; Flax needs observation and a regular follow up but also you need to take more risks than in any other culture. Flax is a priority and there is a real need of reactivity with this culture.
TERRE DE LIN:- Why is the training by your father a key of success for you both ?
Clément and Jean Le Verdier :- Training is firstly a question of knowledge transfer. It is also a matter of being aware of new techniques. If you want to improve on flax culture, you need to share with other flax growers, and to participate to technical groups. Besides, the TERRE DE LIN technicians bring the full vision of what us going on in the fields. Our father heritage is based both on flax knowledge but also on this ability to learn about others experience to improve our culture methods.
TERRE DE LIN: – It is usually said that flax is both rooted in its heritage and future oriented : do you agree with this idea ?
Jean Le Verdier:- Despite the changes through new tools and techniques, the fundamentals in flax culture have remained the same : soil preparation, observation, passion and reactivity are the keys of success. Flax is really rooted in tradition and transmission. At the same time, it is continuously improving. »