Topic: On styles of farming and sustaining land-use: the potentials of beef cattle production in the mountainous county Os Ancares (Galicia, Spain)
Keywords: Farming style research, land management, sustainable agriculture
This paper shows the preliminary results of farming style research among 53 beef cattle farms located in the County “Os Ancares”, a mountainous area in the east part of the province of Lugo (Galicia, Spain). Through farming style research we identify patterns of production, which we take as departure point for assessing actual and potential socio-economic impact (income, and employment) and territorial and environmental impact (land use management and the provision of environmental public goods). Data analysis is done combining Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and cluster analysis with semi-structured interviews complementing those results. In doing so, we identify how farmers have different situations and take different management decisions regarding land-use, farm scale and markets. The PCA shows production strategies represented by every component. The factor scores of every component are used as variables for running a cluster analysis which allows us to classify the farms in different farming styles. Farms in the sample show strategies linked to different degrees of land intensification, scale and market dependency. The combination of those strategies enable a classification of farming styles with different socio-economic and environmental impact. Qualitative information from interviews addresses the relation between farm management and landscape, product differentiation and productive diversification. This information combined with the quantitative data on farm size and income, results in the assessment of the potentials of every style to foster sustainable development, including the provision of ecosystem services and public goods.