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Abstract

Management strategies and performance differ among farmers, as a result of different, multiple and often conflicting goals. Many approaches to building farm level models that incorporate multiple goals have been developed over the years, most of which share a common weakness. The determination of the goals to be used as attributes in the utility function is the result of a highly interactive process with the individual farmer, often difficult to implement. In this study, we use a non-interactive methodology, described in recent literature, to elicit the utility function of selected sheep farmers in western Greece, since farmers often appear reluctant to answer straightforward questions about their goals and preferences. Τhe results indicate that sheep farmers aim at the achievement of multiple goals, and that the maximization of gross margin is an important attribute in the utility function of mainly larger farms with a commercial orientation. The minimization of purchased forage, family labor and cost of hired labor are also important goals, especially for small and less commercial family farms. The multi objective farm level model built reproduces the Greek sheep farmers’ behavior more accurately and can replace the single objective model in decision making or agricultural planning problems.

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