Sheep farming plays a large role in some specific economies, maintains strong links with natural resources, and produces multiple functions in rural areas. Its sustainability has to deal with different purposes. This study aims to assess economic and environmental sustainability of extensive dairy sheep farming in Sardinia. A case study approach was adopted in order to directly collect farm data and to integrate assessments on more dimensions of sustainability. We found that farm is not profitable without support of public financial aids. Furthermore, production of nitrogen is under the normative limit and greenhouses gas emission intensity, allocated with economic criteria, was equal to 2,3 and 16,1 kg of CO2eq emitted per kg of produced milk and meat, respectively. Empirical evidences suggest the need to better take into account environmental externalities and into the farmer’s choices. A public financial support system expressively based on minimizing environmental externalities might force farmers to incentive eco-sustainable production and guarantee them profitability.
Keywords: Sheep farming, balance sheet analysis, Life Cycle Assessment, local natural resources, multifunctionality, agricultural policies
Alberto Stanislao Atzori, Roberto Furesi, Fabio A. Madau, Pietro Pulina, Pier Giacomo Rassu, in "RIVISTA DI STUDI SULLA SOSTENIBILITA'" 1/2015, pp. 117-134, DOI:10.3280/RISS2015-001008