As part of the Central and Eastern European project of Wageningen UR (Wageningen, the Netherlands) combined with a Leonardo da Vinci project coordinated by Warsaw University of Life Sciences (Warsaw, Poland), an analysis was performed in year 2012 of future development paths of dairy farmers in three countries: Lithuania, Poland and Slovenia. In a previous EU-twinning project in 2005-2007, future plans of Slovenian farmers were also studied. In this chapter the status of Slovenian agriculture, especially of the dairy sector is described as well as the studies mentioned looking to future plans and strategies from a farmers’ viewpoint. The Slovene dairy sector can be characterised by a rather large variation in size, but is on average small due to historical reasons and less favourable (e.g. hilly/mountainous) land conditions. As a tool for the studies, two questionnaires were used. In the 2006 study, 1,114 questionnaires from dairy farmers, 121 from suckler cow farmers and 111 from Cika cow farmers were collected. Dairy farmers appeared to be more efficiency oriented, while Cika farmers were more nature oriented. About 40% of the dairy farmers had some interest in diversification. Dairy farmers more often had plans to develop the farm than the suckler cow and Cika farmers. For the recent study in 2012, a questionnaire was constructed with 49 main questions. In total, 365 questionnaires were received in Slovenia. With factor analysis we reduced number of questions and with cluster analysis we formed various farmer segments. On a base of 10 strategies, farmers indicated their 1st, 2nd and 3rd most important strategies for development of their farms in the next 5 years. Farmers’ segments identified were: independent specialisers, cooperating specialisers, independent diversifiers, cooperating diversifiers, chain integrating farmers, new starters and wait-and-see farmers. The wait-and-see segment had smaller farms. Compared to the other two countries, farmers in Slovenia look more for cooperation to develop the farm structure (28% of farmers) and consider diversification as a viable option (22% of farmers). Also, farmers indicated how important farming goals were on a 7-point Likert scale. Factors identified were: sustainable quality, succession, enjoying work, good management and financial management. Significantly lower scores for farmers’ goals were given by the wait-and-see and cooperating diversifying segments of farmers. The data were also analysed for resources, and opportunities and threats. Concerning resources, land and labour availability are the biggest problems for all farmers’ segments. In relation to perceived opportunities and threats farmers consider the common agricultural policy, EU agricultural policy after 2015 and the milk market as threats, while new technologies, services, interaction in the chain and EU membership are seen as opportunities.
|Title of host publication||Cattle husbandry in Eastern Europe and China. Structure, development paths and optimisation|
|Editors||A. Kuipers, A. Rozstalnyy, G. Keane|
|Place of Publication||Wageningen|
|Number of pages||280|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
|Publisher||Wageningen Academic Publishers|