The county of Sogn og Fjordane is located at the west coast of Norway. The county has huge outlying fields with big mountain areas. Compared to other counties, it is steep, has rough terrain, smaller holdings and huge grazing areas. The county has the third largest share of employment in agriculture in Norway and livestock, cattle, sheep, and in some places, goat or fruit and berries are important. Half of the land is suited for the pasture of livestock farming, where sheep is the most important. Many sheep farmers are part-time farmers with small holdings. For some, the farm is more like a hobby and farmer are not necessarily as focused on the production because they are busy with their main job.
This case was chosen because it combines cooperation of land management and introduction of a new technology. Electronic bells (e-bells) are involving a rather new technology that is still not fully developed. It has the potential to contribute to increasing the sustainable use of outfield resources in sheep production.
The study focuses on implementing a new technology, electronic bells, that makes it possible to trace sheep during the pasture season. Some sheep farmers experienced big losses in 2009 because of predators, and therefore the county administration started as part of a project to offer sheep farmers’ electronic bells at a subsidized price.
They wanted farmers to test if bells could contribute in reducing the loss of animals. Sheep farmers in the region use large outfield pastures that they own or have the right to use together with other farmers. They were organized in pasture groups many years ago, where they cooperate in collecting the sheep in the autumn. When the county started to offer e-bells, it was required that only formalized pasture groups could apply for support on behalf of its members. In total 21 interviews were conducted with sheep farmers in Sogn og Fjordane, 19 of which were adopters and only two were non-adopters. In addition, five AKIS expert interviews were conducted.
Full report is available here.