Active cooperation among researchers, advisers and farmers has been promoted and practised for over sixty years. In Swiss agriculture, however, participatory research and extension activities are still lacking. Therefore, the Swiss College of Agriculture has been taken up this topic as part of its Opti-Milch research project. It has studied the available literature, analyzed past experience and set up two learning groups to examine the basic principles and success factors of active research and advisory work. The findings are positive: The groups studied show that the exchange of experience among the persons involved can be very successful. Crucial success factors include accurate observation of the processes, selecting the appropriate action, clearly defined roles, various basic conditions and a work process divided into various phases. The key to success lies in understanding that the sound specialist knowledge of researchers and advisers and the practical experience of farmers can complement each other very well within a framework of structured, guided processes.
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.