Case Study

Suitable for the region


Suitable for the region


1. Introduction

The business was created and could develop thanks to the existing infrastructure of a former cooperative in the Turček municipality. Sheep farming helps maintain pastures in high mountainous, remote land parcels. The plots are difficult to access for agricultural machinery and are unsuitable for other farming types. On the farm, ongoing and planned activities are the gradual reconstructions of buildings, renewal of machines, and managing regrowth in the entire area.

2. Basic information

Main promoter

Lucia Vojvodová / Salaš Turček AGROTRADE GROUP, Ltd. Rožňava

Start of the practice



Turček, Slovakia

Organisations involved
  • Cooperative(s)
Total surface of land farmed in ha
  • 100 ha
Ownership of the land used for transhumance farming
  • Cooperative(s) land: Municipal Forests Kremnica Ltd.
Basic produce
  • Milk
  • Meat
SK032 Banská Bystrica Region
  • Main farm

    Farm and summer pastures


3. Situation before startup/ change/ continuation

The farm is a continuation of an agricultural cooperative that was in decline after the Velvet Revolution, like most cooperatives in Slovakia. In the past, sheep were bred at the farm since the altitude (770 m above sea level) and the cold climate are most suitable for sheep breeding. Interestingly, workers from the Orava region worked at the former cooperative. This region is located in northwest Slovakia. Sheep farming is typical for the region. Some workers have started families and stayed to live in the village of Turček. The Salaš Turček belongs to the AGROTRADE Group Ltd. Company. Organizationally, it is a part of the primary agricultural production centre in Malý Čepčín, which was established in 1998. The farm operates sheep breeding using modern technologies.

However, the former employees of the cooperative in Ľubietová were not interested in continuing the business. Finally, in 1992, the current owners of the Farm Milko Ltd. decided to buy the cooperative and set up a family business, where they apply their multi-generational experience in livestock farming, especially sheep. The situation with a lack of employees is recurring and currently, this is the main constraint that hinders the development of the business.

For Lucia Vojvodová a positive attitude towards animals and a family tradition of raising farm animals were decisive in choosing a profession and working on the farm. For practical application after completing university studies, experience directly at the farm, advice from colleagues and training were an advantage. However, the desire to work with animals was most important, and “when work is also a lifestyle then obstacles are easier to overcome”.

4. Transhumance farming business description

Landscape type

The farm is located in the hilly mountainous landscape of the Kremnické Vrchy Mts. (700-900 m above sea level). Land cover alternates between pastures and forests. Numerous balks occur on the pastures. These are the places of occasional attacks of the predatory wolf. Thus, it is necessary to regularly graze all locations and open up the woody vegetation in balks or remove quickly spreading woody plants.

E-Atlas: Pasture.

Animal type/ breed

The farm specialises in the Slovak national breed (the Wallachian breed), a foreign breed (Lacaune) and their crossbreeds. The breeding of the noble Wallachian breed brought an award in a competition. The Wallachian breed is hardy, undemanding and has a good gait in uneven terrain. The French Lacaune has better milk production and is suitable for machine milking.

Movement patterns

This is a case of vertical movement. The sheep graze the mountain meadows from spring to autumn. The meadows provide the sheep herd with sufficient quality nutrition for milk production. Animals graze less accessible places, unreachable by machinery. From the end of April to the end of September, the sheep stay in the countryside. At night they are in a fenced fold and graze pastures freely during the day.

Kind of cooperation

Horizontal cooperation prevails in the sale of dairy products. Several other farmsteads with similar production occur near the Salaš Turček. They compete with each other to sell products.

Markets addressed/ product selling

The advantage of the Salaš Turček is the direct sale from the farm. The direct sale attracts residents and tourists because hiking trails lead around the farm. The farm sells approximately half of its production directly in the farm shop. The other half is offered to the Turčianska Bryndziareň trading company. Another place where the products are sold is the nationwide market chain of the “Farm Foods” stores.

Threats & challenges

Subsidies from projects are the most important source of income for business development. They are used in renovating buildings and to purchase agricultural equipment. Moreover, there are plans to build a well and to clean pastures from quickly growing trees regularly. Last year, the greatest challenge was dealing with high electricity prices. In second place, obtaining qualified personnel is an issue. Several students are expected to intern at the farm in the future.

5. Decisions taken


A personal interest in animal husbandry is the most important factor for choosing transhumance as a profession. This interest is essential if the job is also part of the lifestyle. The character of the farmed sheep corresponds to the environment and follows the historical tradition of sheep breeding in the region.

Decision for the kind of animal/ specific breed

The Slovak Wallachian breed is typically raised at higher altitudes with rugged terrain and a harsh climate.

Decision for the production system

Grazing can be characterised as semi-intensive.

Diversification of income

The business is diversified in a ratio of 1:1, which means that half of the production is sold at the farm and half is sold to other trading companies. During the Easter period, the farm exports lambs. The Salaš Turček is a commercial part of a larger company, which, in addition to raising farm animals, also deals with the cultivation and sale of crops. Moreover, the company is an authorised dealer of agricultural equipment. The company has diverse business fields. Multifunctionality makes the company resistant to instability in individual agricultural production areas.

Multifunctional aspects

The farm contributes to the natural renewal of herbaceous communities and ensures their optimal species composition. Grazing enables the use of land that is inaccessible to machinery and cannot be farmed in any other way.

6. Training/ skills to establish the business

Vocational secondary or university education is essential to successfully start a business. Family tradition also plays a decisive role. Last but not least, training in everyday activities directly at the farm after the end of the education is important. Training at the farm lasted from 1 to 1.5 years in this case study. Employees willing to advise and help with solving everyday challenges, and various online courses and trainings are of great help.

7. Next steps to move on

In the future, the farm plans to expand the variability of offered cheeses in its shop. Based on the successes and the award received from the breeding competition, the farm also plans to produce breeding rams. Quality appreciation means satisfied customers, so this activity appears to be a promising future income source.

Investments are needed in farm buildings and renewal of machinery, mainly through project subsidies. In terms of agritourism development, the plan is to get the tourists to extent their stays at the farm by making the farm accessible and building a shelter with a view on the mountainous pastoral landscape. The tourists could, for example, use the shelter to enjoy dairy products from the farm.

A better understanding of agricultural issues by the executive governmental structures is needed. Such an understanding should be reflected in targeted, practical help for the purchase of equipment. A specific problem that the state bodies have not solved for a long time is the sale of sheep’s wool. The cost of shearing sheep disproportionately exceeds the profit from its sale.

8. Quote and recommendation of the promoter

Most important in business is education. Then it’s commitment. It is essential to have one’s vision of the future, which is motivating even when failures occur; with the help of an idea, failures are easier to overcome. In the transition period after the end of education and starting a job, the employees in the collective who are willing to advise and provide support are a great help.

However, a well-planned business sometimes also brings periods of smaller profits or losses. Therefore, creating a financial reserve to bridge such phases in the business is essential.