Primary education, cattle courses and expert in cheese production courses.
The case study is on a livestock farm of Murcia-Granada goats with ecological management settled in an extensive pasture near the Guadalquivir river. In addition to the livestock activity, they have developed other related multifunctional activities such as cheese production with Caprinatura's own brand and direct sales at their own market place. They are also linked to training, facilitate internships for students linked to the field.
2. Promoter profile
3. Farm Profile
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This goat farm was established in 2003, but in 2011 the conversion to ecological farming took place and the number of goats expanded to achieve greater production, began to develop activities of milk-to-cheese transformation for which they were trained with other farmers who lent their cheese-making equipment, that allowed them selling their own cheese under own brand Caprinatura. After the prior experience, they decided to apply for a license to set up own cheese factory. While the license was processed the farm was installed 80 km further away. The license took more than 5 years to be granted and while the work in the cheese factory became more difficult, the great distance of the farm and the family pushed them to stop the manufacture. Nowadays, the manufacturing is outsourced, but they maintain the brand and have a distinctive place on the market. The farm has pastures, mainly of autochthonous adventitious varieties, part of pasture is sown to obtain grain and hay (oats, beans, and barley) to complement the diet. Since the start of ecological management until now the landscape has changed and improved the action of the goats in 2011.
4. Multifunctional/sustainable farming and European Agricultural Landscapes (EAL)
This farm is located in Donadio in Úbeda area located in the natural park of Sierra Mágina enjoying a landscape of a meadow near the Guadalquivir river, the protected natural area. When the plot was acquired in order to move to an ecological management it was an abandoned site, it has completely changed since they developed the livestock there, the continuous incorporation of organic matter from goats improved the quality of soil and favoured the dispersal of seeds. Now there is a level of biodiversity in pastures before unknown. Situated by the river provide this plot’s humidity and conditions guarantee the presence of grass throughout the whole year.
Transforming from more intensive management to more extensive and ecological one was difficult in the beginning. The previous cattle were slow to adapt and it was the new offspring that quickly adapted to a new situation. Conversion to ecological production has been a very remarkable change in the physical state of the sheep and its animal health, now the number of incidences at births improved by the more physical activity of grazing. The grass species follow one another in different seasons which gives specific characteristics to milk and cheese throughout the year. The current abundance of vegetation retains water and holds the soil.
At the beginning of the project, many bureaucratic requirements were needed in addition to having a little comprehension since it is not very common activity this field of work. The long deadlines for obtaining authorizations largely discouraged the activity that worked very well. The effects on the family environment favoured the decision to stop making cheese, but in the future they intend to re-apply for licenses to restart the cheese production.
• In addition to training and information it is necessary to carry out practice before starting the activity, visit other farms where the activities can be done and seen.
• To dedicate the hours you must love the activity.
5. Considerations, skills/competences involved and queries/questions
This goat farm is located on the banks of the Guadalquivir river in Donadío de Jáen. This plot has undergone a substantial change since the entry of livestock with a significant increase of the biodiversity of pastures and an improvement in physical condition and sanitary of goats.
Although they consider it especially relevant to attend technical training of cheese production, milking, livestock management, etc., they consider that formal training must be accompanied by practice, therefore they demand greater mobilization from the collective to favour new livestock practice at farms already established.
From the advice point of view, belonging to a livestock association offers them veterinary recommendations, but in the end, they are aware that the farmer must take his own decisions based on what has been learned and technicians recommendations.
If the promoters had obtained the certificates earlier, they would have opened their cheese factory near the farm and would not have had difficulties with combining different activities. This has not diminished their illusion and they are already planning to restart the cheese production.
As in many case studies, technical training usually forms the basis of the training claimed by farmers, in this specific case, as well as management training, there are relevant courses in cheese production, marketing, knowing the requirements related to subsidies, as well as knowing the requirements necessary to comply with the certifications. In addition they demand the possibility of practice and the farmers' willingness to help new farmers.
• Do you know the bureaucratic deadlines linked to the bids and requests that you must carry out to start your project?
• Do you know the demands of being a breeder? Would you be willing to spend all the time it takes to be a breeder?
• Have you already located pastures? Do you know what characteristics they should have and what can you do as a breeder to improve these pastures?
• Do you think that direct transformation and sale are activities that can help you meet better results?