Family farms in Slovenia: Who did the measures ’Setting Up of Young Farmers’ and ’Early Retirement’ actually address?

  • Duška Knežević Hočevar Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Keywords: family farms, Setting Up of Young Farmers, early retirement, generations, gender, Slovenia


The development of Slovenian agriculture is oriented towards sustainable multifunctional farming, yet small dispersed agricultural holdings and their low economic productivity place Slovenia among the EU member states with the most unfavourable agricultural structure. The recently introduced measures of “Early Retirement of Farmers”, and “Setting Up of Young Farmers” were aimed directly at improving agricultural productivity. But to whom were these two measures addressed? In this essay, the author discusses some results of the anthropological fieldwork carried out in 2009 in Prekmurje (NE Slovenia), a region with favourable conditions for farming. The research seeks to explain the divergences and correspondences of the farms with and without aid. The semi-structured interviews revolved around topics on farm history and organisation of farm work from a generation and gender perspective. The results show that the measures addressed farms that had substantially enlarged the size of their farmland, the number of livestock and the capacity of their buildings when the young operators took over the farms. These farms are also better equipped (mechanised) and more family members work full-time on them compared to the non-beneficiary farms. Both forms of aid stimulated the farm transfer from the older to the younger generations. The two types of farms observed do not differ in the organisation of farm work by gender. In general, the differences between the male and female working domain are determined by the time-period observed (political regime) and the introduction of tractors in the late 1960s. However, the care for the elderly and children is the working domain of women in all of the generations observed.