Grass based ruminant production provides multiple benefits to farmers and to wider society. This paper addresses key economic and social factors of grass based ruminant production and illustrates them with national and regional examples from different parts of Europe. Farmers are key actors when it comes to maintaining and improving grass based production systems since they decide on the day-to-day management of the farm. The traditional farm economy model is a model where the income of farmers is a function of the price of the animal products sold, subsidies/direct payments and the associated costs of production. The multiple benefits of grass based production systems to society lead to promising new business models, where farmers are financially rewarded for their added value contributions. This is already put into practise as several societal initiatives have been started, to support rewards for ecosystem services delivered. When developing stimulating initiatives, the mind-set of the farmer should be taken into account, since this is an important influencing factor. Special attention should be paid to young farmers since they represent the next generation of farming.
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