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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Trends and perspectives of ruminant livestock farming in the French mountains

INRA Prod Anim 27(1) 5-16


1 INRA, UMR1213 Herbivores, F-63122 Saint-Genès-Champanelle, France
2 Clermont Université, VetAgro Sup, UMR1213 Herbivores, BP 10448, F-63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France
3 INRA, 147 rue de l'Université, F-75338 Paris, France


The gradual marginalization of French mountain agriculture recorded into the 1970s could be globally eradicated thanks to the dynamism of the mountain stakeholders and support policies implemented by the government. The success stories of some mountain areas like Beaufortain and Aubrac should not overshadow the disparities that persist within and between mountain areas or the necessary public support, that have been running for 40 years in various forms of specific support or benefiting mainly mountain farming. Currently, 16% of farms and 14% of agricultural land are located in mountainous areas. The area of mountain farms differ little from those of the plain but their economic power is lower, in line with the proportion of forage that feed respectively 17, 23 and 48% of the national herd of dairy cows, suckler cows and sheep. The analysis of recent structural and productive changes in mountain farms reveals a rather positive trend: the mountain agricultural land and the number of farms and farm asset decrease was lower than in the plain. Currently, despite the supports, the income of farmers is much lower in the mountains than in the lowlands and the differences were increased recently. In the future, the planned increase of public support will be helpful to limit the differences of income. The initiatives of the mountain stakeholders will also have to be strengthened in order to decrease the production costs and optimize the use of their local resources; the specific qualities of their products, environment, landscape and culture and more generally their region.

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