This paper describes a choice experiment (CE) administered to explore farmer preferences for conservation agreements to conserve rare breeds among a sample of 174 respondents in Transylvania (Romania). The study site was chosen due to the prevalence of small-scale and extensive farm systems threatened by a changing policy environment that is increasing the scale and intensity of production units. Agreement attributes included length of conservation contract (5 or 10 years); scheme structure (community or individual managed conservation programme), and scheme support (application assistance or farm advisory support). A monetary attribute that reflects compensation for scheme participation allows the assessment of farmers’ willingness to accept (WTA) for different contracts. Results suggest 89% of respondents would be willing to farm with rare breeds; cattle and sheep being the most popular livestock option; 40% of farmers were reportedly farming with endangered breeds. However, only 8% were likely to qualify for funding support under current requirements. WTA estimates reveal minimum annual compensation values of €167 and € 7 per year respectively, for bovine and ovine farmers to consider enrolling in a contract. These values are comparable to Romanian Rural Development Programme (RDP) support offered to farmers keeping rare breeds of € 200 and € 10 per year for bovine and ovine farmers respectively. Our estimates of scheme uptake, calculated with coefficient values derived from the CE, suggest rare breed conservation contracts are considered attractive by Romanian farmers. Analysis suggests meeting farmer preferences for non-monetary contractual factors will increase participation.
- Conservation contract
- Choice experiment
- Farm Animal Genetic Resources
- Agri-environment schemes