Marijan Bavcon Farm

1. Introduction

The town Cerkno lies in the west of Slovenia at the junction of the pre-alpine valleys, surrounded by steep, forested slopes at an altitude of 324 m. There are about 4700 residents of a municipality, 36 inhabitants per square kilometre. Farming is not very important economic activity. Some successful industrial companies are located in the area and in recent times the area has been increasingly devoted to tourism. There is a hotel with spa and some interesting tourist points nearby. The area is famous for the tradition of making lace and traditional carnival masks. The surrounding settlements are concentrated on slopes or in the wider parts of the valleys. There are usually part-time farms dealing with livestock and forestry. They try to connect tourism and agriculture through the introduction of local brands for some typical local products.

2. Promoter profile

Marijan Bavcon Farm

First Name
Marijan
Last Name
Bavcon
Birth Year
1968
Gender
Male
Education

Secondary vocational school - electrician

3. Farm Profile

Address
Bevkova 20, 5282 Cerkno
Address

46.1280731869, 13.9873874187

Country
Slovenia
Farm area in hectar
15.00
Date since when the promoter owns/rents the farm
NUMBER OF WORKERS FAMILY MEMBERS EXTERNAL WORKERS
Full time 0 0
Part time 0 5
Farm description

It is typically part-time farm. It provides its members with only part of their income, which is mostly acquired outside the agricultural activities. The area is among the more economically successful in Slovenia, with a low unemployment rate. The farm is situated on the outskirts of the village of Zakriž, 2 km from the urban settlement, in the protected area of Natura 2000. The family does not live on the farm but in an urban area  15 minutes away. The farm is divided into more parcels, of which only about 2 hectares of pasture, garden and orchard are around the farm. In addition to the farm house, there are also some traditional farm buildings (stable, hayrack, lope). Agricultural activity is largely intended for the self-supply of the family and close relatives. Sheep breeding, fruit processing, vegetable production and forestry are the main activities. The farm will remain part-time also in the future, but agriculture is by no means intended to be abandoned. They will seek for possibility of introducing some market-interesting traditional agricultural products. The potential successor of the farm is attending school with agricultural program.

4. Multifunctional/sustainable farming and European Agricultural Landscapes (EAL)

Landscape type
Free Text

The Cerkno Hills (in Slovenian: Cerkljansko hribovje or Cerkljansko) is a transitional region between the Alpine and the Dinaric landscape, centred in Cerkno in north-western Slovenia. Several passes in this area connect the Poljanska Valley and the Selška Valley with the Idrijca Valley and the Soča Valley. The highest peak is Porezen (1,630 m ASL). The landscape is geologically very diverse and one of the most interesting in Slovenia in this regard. Among the steep hills, numerous ravines and valleys have been carved out by the Cerknica River and its tributaries. Cerkno hills reach an average height of 1,000 m ASL. More than three quarters of the surface is covered by forests with a large plant and animal diversity. Many hiking trails are marked and maintained and many interesting tourist spots are located nearby.

Advice/Recommendation

•   Even part-time farms, although mostly self-sufficient, are important for the look of the  landscape.

•   They feel that they owe the preservation of agricultural activity to the past generations. And at the same time, there is some  potential for development even on a part-time farm.

5. Considerations, skills/competences involved and queries/questions

General considerations

For the Bavcon family, farming is not the main activity and source of revenue. Owner of the farm has an electrical installations company. They maintain the farm because of the tradition, the attitude towards the work of the previous generations. They are strongly connected with the local community and environment. The farm represents opportunity for next generation who is still studying. The members of this generation are not yet fully determined about their own further career paths. For industrial agriculture, the area is not suitable, so the potential of the farm is seen in the development of traditional local products with a higher added value which, together with the development of tourism in this area, could generate a satisfactory income. One of the sons attends agricultural school. In agricultural school programs, students are given some information about the importance of preserving the agricultural landscape and the possibilities for the development of supplementary activities. More specific knowledge can also be gained in the training provided by the agricultural advisory service or through the projects implemented by local development agencies. There is raising awareness of the opportunities that are offered by unique and protected cultural landscape. Although there is little knowledge about the landscape elements and the farmers usually don’t have a full idea of what represents the agricultural landscape and how to manage it and connect it with farm business. The Bavcon farm lies near the village Podkriž by Cerkno. It is included in one of the marked footpaths, it has a picturesque location, some interesting cultural monuments, historical sites, a detailed description on the website. The young members of the Bavcon family know and value the peculiarity of their place and they are trying to find a way to use it in connection with the development of their farm. But they say that they have enough time for concrete plans and that they are now focused on education.

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Educated family members.
  • Strong local community.  
  • Prosperous region.
  • Traffic connections.
  • Not defined vision of the farm.
  • Investment potential of the family.
Opportunities Threats
  • Tourism.
  • Traditional products.
  • Cooperation.
  • Successor not yet chosen.
  • Bad business plan.
  • Natural disasters.
Main Training/Skills/Competences

Knowledge of farm cooperation, local community cooperation, local history and landscape characteristics and development are needed. Also communication skills, entrepreneur skills, exchange of experiences at the local and international level and support for the functioning of local communities are beneficial.

Queries/Questions

•    Would you agree that in the past few decades, the awareness of the importance of preserving agricultural landscape and heritage has risen among local population in Slovenia and EU countries?

•    Are there potentials in the link between agriculture, tourism and landscape type? 

•    Are part-time farms also important for agricultural landscape and should they have easier access to development funds?