Maria D. Yiakoulaki1, Nikolaos D. Hasanagas2
1 Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of Forestry and Natural Environment, Laboratory of Range Management (236), GR 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
2 University Forest Administration, PO Box 22418, GR 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
Yiakoulaki, M., & Hasanagas, N. (2019). Professionalism in extensive sheep farming system in Central Greece. Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science, 25(4), 661–667
Aim of this paper is to explore determinants and conditions of professionalism in extensive sheep breeding system. Professionalism is here defined as considering extensive sheep breeding as a “main occupation” according to the self-assessment of breeders. The study was conducted in Central Greece using in-depth interviews and standardized questionnaires answered by the whole population of sheep breeders (Ν = 60). The data was processed by using Kendall test (P ≤ 0.05). It has been found that professionalism is related to the location of stables outside the residential areas (-0.409), the milk-based income (0.216), the annual duration of milk production (0.277) and the existence of milk storage system (0.272). Personal characteristics of sheep breeders, structural features of the holding, usage of forage resources, feedstuffs and grasslands’ infrastructure are not strong determinants of professionalism. The novelty of the content consists in the exploration of professionalism as a self-perception of the breeders, which is considered to be more authentic than any arbitrary definition of professionalism and the new information provided by this research lies in pointing out that the breeders’ perception of professionalism can be characterized as superficial and entrepreneurially unsustainable, because it is related with the production output and not with deep-rooted prerequisites like structure and conditions. Policy instruments for strengthening professionalism are suggested.