Association of the Chambers of Agriculture of the Atlantic Area


Association des Chambres d’agriculture de l’Arc Atlantique (AC3A)

Chef de projet : Pascal DAGRON
Chargée de projets : Sarah BEIGEL

Maison de l’agriculture
Rue P.A Bobierre – La Géraudière
44939 NANTES Cedex 9

Tél : +33 2 53 46 60 55

Mail : contact AC3A


What do we do ?

The Chambers of Agriculture have a public responsibility to prepare farmers and rural businesses to face today’s most important issues (environment, productivity, policy…). AC3A was set up to develop projects which can identify and/or develop solutions to support the Chambers in this process. Also, AC3A shares savoir-faire developed within the Chambers with partners from elsewhere. In order to do this, AC3A carries out activities such as:

  • Participating in local development initiatives with local authorities and VSEs & SMEs
  • Developing training content for farmers and farming advisers
  • Implementing new processes with Research and Universities for agriculture European cooperation is central to the majority of AC3A’s activities.

Who are we ?

AC3A is an association, its members are the Chambers of Agriculture from the Atlantic Area. The board of directors is made up of 4 regional Chambers of Agriculture (see map).
AC3A is currently directed by the vice-president and the vice general director of Nouvelle Aquitaine’s Regional Chamber of Agriculture.
A number of representatives from the Atlantic Chambers of Agriculture act as contact points for AC3A. They work regularly with the AC3A staff to develop ideas for projects, pass on important needs, and highlight interesting activities going on currently in the Chambers which could be part of cooperation projects.
Specific services, trainers, advisers or other employees from the Chambers of Agriculture are identified for each cooperation project run by AC3A to carry out specific activities (field testing, training activities, etc.).

The permanent staff of AC3A carry out the day to day activities of project management and administration, international partnership coordination, coordination of Chamber representatives, organisation of events and meetings, communication, etc.

Agricultural issues in the Atlantic Area

AC3A deals mainly with agricultural issues and challenges facing the Atlantic regions (in France and beyond its borders). The Atlantic regions cover 25% of the France’s land and provides over 40% of national food products. Most of these products are also processed here, the Atlantic area offers both quality raw materials and the savoir-faire for activities throughout the production chain. Products are known to be of high quality, including a well-developed organic sector.

AC3A identifies in particular, new subjects where agriculture is not yet, or little involved. Subjects linked to: bio-based products, biomass, use and transformation of agricultural byproducts, energy, climate change, ICT for agricultural management, young farmers, evolutions in advisory…

How do we work ?

AC3A was founded to cooperate in interregional-networking and positions itself at the crossroads of development, research, training, facilitation and innovation for agriculture in the Atlantic area. AC3A believes that cooperation between different actors using different approaches and bringing together various disciplines is key.

AC3A works in cooperation with universities, research institutions, local authorities and policy makers and entrepreneurs (including farmers and rural VSEs). AC3A also works with organisations from various sectors such as business support, energy, education, tourism. The results of our projects have to benefit everyone involved and are always disseminated through all of the different networks.

European Cooperation

Since 1998, AC3A has led 25 European-funded projects mainly as lead partner.
Agriculture was a founding element of the European Union. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has accompanied the development of European agriculture to a point where it produces enough food for its population, where its farmers now have an income which is equivalent to other professional categories and where its agricultural and food industry can play an influential role globally.

AC3A works as part of this commitment, along with the other Atlantic organisations, to maintain a strong, competitive, sustainable and innovative Atlantic agriculture. In Europe, economic integration and interdependence of States and regions are increasing, so territorial cooperation often provides solutions for effective management of local issues. Atlantic cooperation has contributed to bringing people and cultures together, creating a true sense of belonging to Europe.

Objectives and projects

AC3A’s objectives are decided by its board of directors. For the past few years our projects have focused on the following themes: Strategy and foresight, innovation and research, economy of proximity and sustainable development. Please see below a description of these objectives and some examples of our projects (please note that a number of the projects mentioned are actually concerned by several of the themes):


STRATEGY and FORESIGHT: The frequent changes in today’s context (consumer’s needs, competitors, price of raw materials, legal constraints, CAP changes, sustainable development) leave managers of Very Small Enterprises (VSEs), especially those from the rural and agricultural sector, facing uncertainty and Strategy problems. Thus, the sustainability of the VSEs and their region is challenged. The AVEC® method developed by AC3A, can be used in managing farms and small businesses to use complexity as a development tool.


STRAT-Training (2013-2015), funded by the EU’s Leonardo Da Vinci programme. Development of an adaptable educational programme to train trainers and advisers helping VSEs to face today’s complex context. Partners brought together management tools and the skills for using them, methods for mobilising trainers, advisers and VSE managers to come to training sessions and a set of behavioural/attitude techniques for working with VSEs.

CASDAR-Stratégie (2013-2015), funded by the French programme CASDAR. Creation of training content to teach Strategy to agricultural advisers. More info in French.

INNOVATION & RESEARCH: Agriculture is an innovative sector where cooperation between research, universities, local development is fundamental. AC3A works to identify or develop new technologies which can facilitate and improve production. The Chambers of Agriculture have experimental farms where innovations can be tested.

EIP-AGRI (since 2013). AC3A is a member of the EIP-AGRI consortium and its staff works for the EIP-AGRI Service Point. The agricultural European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI) launched by the European Commission works to reduce the gap between research and practice. It strives to foster competitive and sustainable farming and forestry that 'achieves more and better from less'.

ECONOMY OF PROXIMITY: AC3A has been working on developing methods for setting up supply chains in which products are produced, transformed and consumed within limited proximity. This has positive results on the quality of food, environmental impact and also has social and economic impacts.

ANATOLE (2010-2014), funded by Interreg IVB Atlantic Area. Giving towns and cities a coordinating role to organise proximity supply chains such as school meals, food services (hospitals, universities, prisons ...). The project produced operational tools. Read the Argumentary and the Good Practice Guide (in English).

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Agriculture is fundamentally linked to the earth and its climate. Maintaining a productive agriculture whilst taking care of environmental impact is essential. Anything from finding alternatives to pesticides to transforming agricultural waste into energy and plastics are important topics for AC3A.

New Advisers (2011-2013), funded by the EU’s Leonardo Da Vinci programme. Increasingly agricultural advisers and trainers have to combine their traditional roles with new complex issues such as protecting water, biodiversity and global warming. They need strong scientific background, knowledge of local soils and climate, and other socio-technical, regulatory, organisational and institutional knowledge. The project developed ‘learning by doing’ approaches enabling farm advisers and trainers to efficiently build local solutions around pesticide issues.

AC3A is currently setting up a number of new projects about the sustainable use of biomass.




Click here for all of our latest news and events in English. More information on our projects (in French) can be found here.