The interdisciplinary Greifensee research project deals with the utilisation of land and landscapes in the densely settled Swiss midlands (see http://www.ito.umnw.eth.ch/SoilPhys/greifensee/). Using the Greifensee region as an example, fundamental scientific principles for the organisation and management of sustainable agriculture and forestry are developed, together with the policy measures required for their implementation. Various aspects of this question are investigated in natural science and economic projects, the results of which are incorporated in an economic model. This interdisciplinary research and synthesis encompassing various disciplines places extremely high demands on both the planning and processing of the project. On the other hand, it also offers the opportunity to cover new sectors, gain new knowledge and widen disciplinary frames of reference. At the same time, the research approach is essential to the solution of central problems and questions related to sustainable development. In addition, a comprehensive approach helps to justify science in the eyes of society.
To balance their nutrient cycles, Swiss farms export surplus farmyard manure to farms with free uptake capacities or to composting and anaerobic digestion facilities. Between 2015 and 2020 the volumes of organic manure and recycled fertilisers transported rose significantly, with a consequent increase in transport costs.
Employment in the agricultural sector is declining in many European countries, especially in livestock farming. Direct payments can counter this trend and lead to the employment of more – especially female – family members on the farm.
Despite the current challenges of e.g. the war in Ukraine and climate change, the Swiss food sector is relatively resilient. This is the conclusion reached by Agroscope’s report on behalf of the Swiss Federal Office for National Economic Supply.