Structural change has become a central theme in debates on agriculture and, at the same time, is likewise getting more and more attention at the regional policy level. Regardless of the particular position supported, discussions focus mainly on the extent of structural change that is necessary, from a long-term point of view, to ensure that agricultural policy objectives are achieved and that farms remain profitable enterprises. This issue becomes even more relevant in view of the anticipated decline in commodity prices coupled with constant production costs and direct payments that are held at the present level, or even reduced. This article uses an agricultural sector model to investigate the structural development of the agricultural sector in the Swiss Alpine region. The main result reveals that any decline in commodity prices without an associated reduction in structural costs must inevitably lead to an increase in the degree of structural change required to maintain agricultural revenue at current levels. Hence, to ensure economic competitiveness, the number of farms and, more particularly, the agricultural labour force, must be reduced even further. Consequently, agriculture’s contribution to decentralised settlement will, and indeed must, shrink even more in future.
Agrivoltaics combines energy generation and agricultural production on the same land. Although this system is eliciting increasing interest, its success depends on numerous factors and the most compatible crops have yet to be identified.
How do farmers experience social sustainability on their farms? As an Agroscope study shows, this depends on farmers’ identities and farm types.
Cheese stands out as one of the main Swiss agricultural trade offensive interests. Outside the EU, the USA are an important export destination. The CAPRI model allows to assess the impact of a free trade agreement for cheese between the USA and CH.