In Piedmont prevail the breeding of medium-small dairy cows, with a prevalence of direct and manual work of man; most of the livestock is fed with fodder produced by the producers themselves. Many farms are settled in hilly, pre-alpine and alpine areas, which allow excellent climatic and animal welfare conditions: in fact there are more than 1000 active pastures in which about 100,000 cattle and 100,000 sheep and goats live. The territory is characterized by the presence of 287 mountain pasture sites (128 mountain pastures are home to only cattle, 68 alpine pastures are home to only sheep and goats and only 2 for horses). Generally the property of the mountain pastures in Piedmont is municipal or belongs to the consortium, with a small part of private mountain pastures. In general, 50% of the pastures are owned by the municipality, 30% are managed by consortia, 20% are privately owned. About 80% of the milk produced annually in Piedmont is destined for cheese making, while the remaining 20% is consumed as drinking milk, within a framework of extensive and rigorous health checks to protect the consumer. There are 10 Piedmontese cheeses that boast PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) including Toma Piemontese PDO, Castelmagno PDO, Robiola di Roccaverano PDO, Murazzano PDO, Bra PDO, Gorgonzola PDO, Grana Padano PDO, the Raschera PDO, the Taleggio PDO, the Ossolano PDO, out of a total of 50 Italian PDOs and 186 European.
Legends, pagan rituals and canonical votive offerings are inextricably bound to Piedmontese agricultural culture. From the erratic boulders for the fertility of women to the ex-voto with animal subjects, from the devil who steals cheese from the black Madonna of the Sanctuary of Oropa, everything is linked to the millenary gestures of farmers and producers of cheese. The ex-votos are still widespread in Piedmont and represent a tradition that dates back to Roman times. Besides the traditional human representations, two species are exclusively or almost exclusively concerned by the phenomenon: cattle and, to a lesser extent, horses (or donkeys). They are the two species closest to man, in the sense that they are close collaborators of his work: riding and transport for the horse; transport and plowing for oxen, milk and cheese for cows, mules and donkeys. A voto for the good health of animals (votum pro bubus, uti valeant) that does not call for a cure, but asks to protect their health, leaving them immune from disease and unharmed by accidents, especially after miraculous rescues or escaped dangers.