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Organic Sheep and Goat Farming

Rahmann, Gerold (2007) Organic Sheep and Goat Farming. [Organic Sheep and Goat Farming.] In: Tagungsreader der Pillnitzer Sommerakademie, Ecoconnect, pp. 30-45.

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Summary

Organic sheep and goat farming is on the rise in Germany and the EU. Many consumers see organic farms as an example of the "intact world" of farming and rural living. Agrienvironmental schemes support conversion from conventional towards organic farming. Only few know how difficult organic sheep and goat farming is from animal welfare, ecological and economic perspective. Newcomers particularly overestimate the production and marketing potential of the field, and underestimate the associated husbandry (e.g., health) and labour problems. It usually takes years to learn how to operate a sheep and goat farm and make it profitable. In addition to patience, good animal handling skills, and marketing ability, qualified professional and veterinary advice is crucial for successful, sustainable development. Many veterinarians do not know enough about organic sheep and goat farming. This paper will give some key information.
Organic sheep and goat farming is based on established and monitored production and processing guidelines. In 1999, EU-directive 1804/99EU on the legally binding minimum standards of organic animal husbandry was passed and has been in force since 24th August 2000. This was relevant for sheep and goats as well. It describes exactly the production processes to be adhered to, before advertising organic or eco-production. Higher standards than those demanded by the EU-organic-regulation are laid down by the agricultural associations of organic farming. Usually the standards are not very different.
Guidelines alone, however, do not make an environmentally friendly, economic, organic sheep and goat keeping centring on animal welfare. A high degree of knowledge as well as practical skill are necessary to keep live stock in accordance with animal welfare and in an environmentally friendly way, and at the same time to earn sufficient income. Here, the regulations offer little help. However, the experience made by organic sheep and goat farmers having practiced for a longer duration of time, show that, in time, these difficulties can be mastered.


EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:Sheep, goat, organic farming
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Sheep and goats
Research affiliation: Germany > Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries - VTI > Institute of Organic Farming - OEL
Deposited By: Rahmann, Prof. Dr. Gerold
ID Code:12978
Deposited On:26 Jan 2008
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:36
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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