Case Study

Starting again


Starting again


1. Introduction

This is a case study of a newly restarted seasonal farm located in a forested landscape. Milk processing and food production is the main driver for the practice. All milk is processed at the seasonal farm, and products are sold at the seasonal farm and through the local grocery shop. The dairymaids have chosen to keep the management of the seasonal farm – regarding the amount of equipment used, relatively simple.

2. Basic information

Main promoter

Sina Joten Søndmør

Start of the practice



Sømådalen, Norway

Organisations involved
  • Dairymaid(s): Sina Joten Søndmør, her two sisters and her mother are managing the seasonal farm.
Total surface of land farmed in ha
  • Ca. 20 ha around the seasonal farm
Ownership of the land used for transhumance farming
  • Own land: The land belongs Sina Joten Søndmør’s family’s farm.
Basic produce

All milk produced at the seasonal farm is processed into sour cream (rømme), Norwegian brown cheese and skjørost (a type of cheese). The seasonal farm has an ‘Open day’ once a week. The dairymaids welcome visitors and sell their products and coffee on that day. Interested guests get information about seasonal farming and processing of milk and are also invited to visit the barn. Thereby, dissemination of knowledge is one ‘product’ of the seasonal farming practice. Moreover, the seasonal farming landscape is created by the grazing animals. Their impact became already visible short time after the practice started.

NO020 Innlandet
  • Main farm


  • Summer pastures


3. Situation before startup/ change/ continuation

Sina Joten Søndmør’s grandparents managed the seasonal farm until the practice was abandoned in 1982. The seasonal farm had been in use since the start or the middle of the 1800s. The year 1917 is written on one of the logs of the barn. After the seasonal farming practice was abandoned, the seasonal farm was used as a cabin. A new building for processing the milk was erected to restart the practice. The barn had been used and maintained since the seasonal farm was used as pasture for calves. Thus, the barn was in good condition, and no rehabilitation was necessary. However, some equipment was needed, such as a mobile milking machine to be used with a diesel generator, a new oven and cheese forms. Sina Joten Søndmør grew up on a farm with milking cows. All current dairymaids are very interested in processing milk and to show traditional food production. None of them has a formal education in farming; however, all have farm management experience. Since milk production on the farm has been abandoned, the dairymaids borrow three milking cows and some young goats – for the company – from a farmer. In addition, they have some heifers at the seasonal farm. The livestock grazes freely but has NoFence collars. These collars allow delimiting the area where the animals can graze. The cows get concentrate feed in addition to the grass they graze. The seasonal farm has a solar panel for electric light, in addition to the diesel generator for the mobile milking machine. The building for cooling and the milk processing facility gets water through pipes. Otherwise, water from the creek is used.

4. Transhumance farming business description

Landscape type

An undulating terrain with a mix of birch and pine forest characterises the seasonal farming landscape. Bogs make the forest appear somewhat more open.

Animal type/ breed

The cows belong to the Norwegian Red breed, and the goats are Norwegian Dairy Goats.

Movement patterns

The seasonal farming season starts at the turn of June-July and ends at the turn of July-August. The livestock is transported by vehicle from the main farm to the seasonal farm. The about 20 km long trip takes about 30 min. The elevational difference between the main farm and the seasonal farm is about 100 m.

Markets addressed/ product selling

In addition to direct sales at the seasonal farm, the products are sold at the local grocery shop.

Threats & challenges

So far, the dairymaids could take days off in summer to be at the seasonal farm. If circumstances in life change, this may become difficult in the long run. A possible solution could be to employ somebody; however, this would need to be a dedicated person willing to take the very time-consuming job of a dairymaid.

5. Decisions taken


The interest in milk processing and food production was the most important driver to restart seasonal farming. Thereby, processing of milk is the core of the practice.

Decision for the production system

The way the seasonal farm is managed – regarding the amount of equipment used, is relatively simple. This was a deliberate choice made by the dairymaids.

Diversification of income

Seasonal farming does not provide any income. The budget is balanced; however, the seasonal farming practice gives the dairymaids a lot of enjoyment.

Multifunctional aspects

At the same time, they maintain the seasonal farming tradition, which is important – not at least since very few seasonal farms producing milk are left in the municipality.

6. Training/ skills to establish the business

Sina Joten Søndmør and one of her sisters took a seasonal farming course and worked on a seasonal farm for one summer to better understand how cheese is produced. Their mother took a cheese production course. Several active seasonal farms are located in the neighbouring municipalities. Even if those are larger-scale production units, they are available for help and guidance.

7. Next steps to move on

The dairymaids have some thoughts and plans, such as disseminating knowledge about seasonal farming, for example, by offering stays at the seasonal farm or courses. The current practice regarding heads of livestock and traditional products works well, and they have no plans to make any changes.

8. Quote and recommendation of the promoter

‘It is very meaningful to produce locally based food in a good way and to use the available resources in the immediate vicinity.’

‘To get somebody to understand what we do, we have to describe it very detailed and specific, and for somebody to really understand what we do, they have to be with us for one day to see how much work we do.’

If one wishes to start with seasonal farming, Sina Joten Søndmør recommends taking a course or working at a seasonal farm with a similar management regime as one wishes to develop. Moreover, subsidies are available for seasonal farming. And then, it is to ‘just do it’.