In the course of the LIFEstockProtect project, we have set the goal of establishing at least 20 livestock protection competence centres in Austria, South Tyrol and Bavaria over the next 5 years (10 in Austria, 5 in South Tyrol/Trentino and 5 in Bavaria). This consolidation of farms now also has an official name: Alpine LIFEstockProtect Competence Center Network. A total of 25 interested farms and the project team have now met for the first time during two online information events to discuss the possibilities and requirements of the competence centres and to clarify open questions.
Please also read: Livestock Protection Competence Centres Starting Soon
From the valley to mountain pastures
The variety of interested farms was large, which shows that livestock protection is a topic that stimulates the exchange of experiences between groups of people with various backgrounds. Both in terms of type of use (pasture, permanent pasture, alpine pasture) and topography, the conditions of the farms ranged from steep to flat terrain, partly with special landscape elements such as streams, rocks or bogs. The types of livestock also showed great variability (sheep, cattle, horses, goats, pigs, etc.). This is very fortunate for the project, as it will allow the planned livestock protection trainings at the centres to address different needs of livestock owners.
The aim is to assign a coordinator to each centre, who will in most cases be the responsible of the farm. These coordinators will then be specially trained to offer the trainings throughout the entire project period (and possibly beyond), and to be advisors themselves. In total, about 180-200 weekend-long courses are planned, with at least 1000 people to be trained.
During the information events, many farms already expressed their interest in becoming a competence centre. Interesting questions were also raised, such as whether livestock protection can also repel other animals like foxes and wild boars, or how livestock protection is possible in winter. The project team will incorporate these and other questions into the trainings. On selected farms, there will also be long-term installations of different fence materials in the so-called Fence Labs, as well as special trainings on the subject of guarding dogs.
Next step: On-site visits
All in all, competence centres as a place of exchange are an important building block for the success of this project, as both, those affected and those interested, can meet to share existing but also newly acquired knowledge. In the next few weeks, project-internal livestock protection experts will visit the farms to evaluate the possibilities for on-site trainings and to talk to the owners to find out what the next months and years could look like. The first trainings are already planned for autumn 2021.
Depending on the capacity and location of the farms, it will be possible for them to be grouped into clusters. On the one hand, this will make it possible to address different location conditions in training courses, and on the other hand, it will give several farms the option of benefiting from the knowledge transfer.
Are you also interested of forming part of the Alpine LIFEstockProtect Competence Center Network? Fill out the form below and we will get back to you!