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Ferreira Andrade, Ana Daniela, 2022. “It’s a visceral connection” : young farmers processes of engagement in animal farming with autochthonous breeds. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development



Agroecosystems are valued by the provision of utilitarian services that satisfy human needs and by their non-utilitarian ascribed ecological, sociocultural or intrinsic values. Nowadays, a delicate situation of decrease of population and the fragile generational renewal comprises the risk of loss of cultural landscapes in many European rural communities. Farm animals play an important role in these systems as ecosystem service providers, particularly autochthonous breeds, which play a special role in biodiversity conservation and in the preservation of unique cultural identities of communities. However, animal farming is a particularly susceptible agricultural sector when it comes to the aging process, as young farmers are less interested in it.
Focusing on a depopulated rural region in the northeast of Portugal, the purpose of this study was to explore the processes that drove young animal farmers to breed autochthonous animals, and the extent to which their motivations are influenced by the identification of their role in the provision of ecosystem services, and/or by the characteristics of the human-animal interactions established. The results showed the importance of family legacies as motivating factor, and, in contrast, when that is not present, the hampering factors related with difficult access to land mainly due to social factors and bureaucratic constraints of the young farmer’s project support measures. It seems that to raise autochthonous animals is only economically doable due to agricultural pluriactivity and/or by maintaining other non-farming primary jobs. However, cultural services related to human-animal relations, like the preference for certain aesthetic features of a breed, the acquired social status and identity as a breeder, the pleasure for the act of caring and the connection with natural phenomena, played a relevant role in the processes of choosing to raise these animals. These emotional drivers showed to have a great importance in the choice and permanence of young farmers in farming autochthonous breeds in a less favoured region. Development plans aimed at reversing depopulation and ageing rural communities, while maintaining the cultural landscape, may benefit from considering these aspects in their structure and action programme.

Main title:“It’s a visceral connection”
Subtitle:young farmers processes of engagement in animal farming with autochthonous breeds
Authors:Ferreira Andrade, Ana Daniela
Supervisor:Pettersson, Katarina
Examiner:Bartholdson, Örjan and Clay, Nathan
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2022
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NM009 Rural Development and Natural Resource Management - Master's Programme 120 HEC
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:young farmers, ecosystem services, autochthonous breeds, human-animal relations
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Rural sociology and social security
Agricultural structures
Deposited On:11 Jan 2023 11:21
Metadata Last Modified:12 Jan 2023 02:00

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