The change of Swiss agricultural structures 1985-2001 is explained by macroeconomic, sectoral and farm-specific variables. Expected explanatory patterns arise (eg. the influence of the farmer’s age), but also unexpected ones. The off-farm income, for example, plays a more important role to preserve agricultural structures than agricultural income. Acreage as a size variable has a stabilising impact, while rather the opposite can be said about number of animals per farm.
Policies to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions are more effective and more efficient if they are set at the regional level and not at the level of individual farms. This can help achieve climate targets.
Global food availability is expected to remain stable in the medium term. Food security challenges in Switzerland include the decline in agricultural land area per capita, higher incidence of extreme weather events and increased pressure from pests.
Different cultural backgrounds lead to different uptake of biodiversity agri-environmental schemes at the inner-Swiss French-German language border. Economic policy incentives could mitigate culture-driven behavioral differences.