The current discussion about agricultural policy 2011 is taking place primarily among experts, politicians and those who represent agricultural interests. We aim to make the public at large aware of developments in agriculture by illustrating the relationships between the market, politics and developments in agricultural structures. To this end, we create photo-realistic illustrations of future land use, the development of which we assess using an agricultural sector model. The differences in the scenarios relating to developments in basic conditions depend primarily on whether or not Switzerland becomes integrated into the European markets. When prices fall and agricultural support remains unchanged, farms turn to more extensive land utilisation and reduce their numbers of livestock, regardless of the assumed market environment. In addition, arable farming will be seriously restricted under European market conditions. If agricultural contributions are also reduced by 50% there will no longer be any incentive to turn to extensive farming practices under Swiss market conditions.
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.