Case Study

Going new ways


Going new ways


1. Introduction

The Demeter farm of Herbert Fleck cultivates 60 hectares, 20 of which are leased land. Currently, 48 dairy cows are milked, and most of the milk is processed into fresh milk and yoghurt in the farm’s own dairy. The products are delivered directly to 608 households several times a week by the farm’s own delivery service. The Fleck farm is a member of the producer and marketing association TischGenossen.

2. Basic information

Main promoter

Herbert Fleck

Start of the practice

Aichstetten, Germany

Organisations involved
  • Farmer(s)/ Dairymaid(s)/ Herder(s)
Total surface of land farmed in ha

The farm is based on approx. 60 ha of grassland, of which 20 ha are rented land.

Ownership of the land used for transhumance farming
  • Own land
  • Rented private Land
Basic produce

Forty-eight dairy cows are milked, and most of their milk is processed into fresh milk and yoghurt in the farm’s own dairy. The products are delivered directly to 608 households several times a week by the farm’s own delivery service. The herding enables and fosters the maintenance of open, biodiverse, and attractive landscapes. Other farmers in the region are mainly producing silage and use it the whole year.

DE148 Ravensburg
  • Main farm


  • Stiftung Adlegg


3. Situation before startup/ change/ continuation

Herbert Fleck has taken over the family farm from his parents. At the time of succession the famr was based on conventional farming and delivery to the reginal dairy processor. Mr. Fleck and his wife mange the farm with the help of family members and internships or apprenticeships. Production methods have changed over the years, starting from “not working against nature”. The next step was “working with nature”, resulting in today’s practice of moving the cows among pastures. Herbert Fleck aims to reach “having nature working for you”. Additionally to these thoughts about production, there are thoughts about steps in the field of processing and selling of the produce. He always thinks ahead and wants to improve the processing and logisitics as well as to involve more the customers. Together with other farmers of the region he focuses on the market possibilities for beef additionally to the market of milk.

4. Transhumance farming business description

Landscape type
  • Meadows
  • Grassland
Animal type/ breed

Herbert Fleck decided to use the traditional regional breeds of animals (Braunvieh, Brown Swiss) and to practice biodynamic farming. The breeding aims at health and life performance rather than short-term maximisation and short life of the animals.

Movement patterns

The mindset described above led to the implementation of a horizontal movement pattern around the farm and the cooperation with the Stiftung AdleggAlpe Herrenberg. The Fleck farm grazes a considerable part of its young cattle on the Herrenberg AlpStiftung Adlegg. This cooperation has been running for years. The high lease prices and shortage of land in the region make this cooperation necessary. Moreover, grazing at the Alp reduces labor and is positive for animal health.

Kind of cooperation

The TischGenossen, an association of seven organic farms (dairy cows and goats), raises their calves and fawns on their own farms according to increased animal welfare criteria (mother-bound rearing, grazing, etc.). They jointly market their products directly to the customer.

Markets addressed/ product selling

The Fleck farm sells its milk products directly to the customers and jointly markets its beef directly to the customer through the TischGenossen association.

Threats & challenges

The changing wealth situation in the region may become a threat to the business. When income declines, the amount of money people are willing to spend on good healthy nutrition may decline. At the same time, the farm needs to develop itself and to keep in touch with existing customers and subsequent generations.

5. Decisions taken


Apart from an economic perspective of the family enterprise, Herbert Fleck’s way of farming brings an important advantage and uniqueness in terms of regional value creation. To use grasslands for grazing of cattle and dairy herds is very typical for the region. 

Decision for the kind of animal/ specific breed

Herbert Fleck’s decisions regarding the production system (see below) led to a good market position grounded on transparency and authenticity. The Brown Swiss is a breed that can be used for such a kind of farming.

Decision for the production system

Herbert Fleck started farming in a conventional way. After practicing farming and gaining knowledge, he changed to organic and then biodynamic farming. Organic and biodynamic farming resulted in a change from stable to pastures. Having and extensive production system such as Herbert Fleck, can be effective and efficient. The focus is highest quality in production. Therefore, soil and animal health are key factors in the farm.

Diversification of income

Herbert Fleck is close to nature, animals and biological processes. He can tell a lot about agriCULTURE, and people – other farmers and customers – listen. Begin able to communicate his production methods and its advantages is a very good basis for direct marketing of high-quality products.

Multifunctional aspects

Herbert Fleck aims to optimise the farm enabling generational change based on a good perspective for farm and life.

6. Training/ skills to establish the business

Today’s situation and the development of the farm are not based on basic vocational education. It is based on experience and exchange with other farmers, reflection processes and the steady will to optimise. Herbert Fleck fosters a culture of good communication and high transparency, and a helpful and nature-loving atmosphere.

7. Next steps to move on

Herbert Fleck will continue to optimise and to combine tradition and innovation in all steps, from production over processing to selling.

Next step could be the cooperation with another Alp. The aim is to move about 20 dairy cows from the Fleck farm to the Alpe for the summer. The milk would be processed into high-quality cheese in the dairy of the cooperating Alp (800m drive). The cheese would be market directly. The Alp has enough alpine pastures to provide the fodder required by the dairy cows. It would also be possible to increase the number of cows. The hay for feeding the cows in the cowshed could be produced in sufficient quantities by other cooperating farms. Currently approx. 40 ha of meadows would be needed.

On the existing farm, the next important step will be generational change and handing over.

8. Quote and recommendation of the promoter

Keep being open minded! 

Watch and learn!

Think about possibilities in cooperation. Be aware that cooperation is a tender plant that needs care from all parties involved.