Multivariate statistical methods were used to investigate the decisive factors responsible for the change of agricultural structures in Switzerland. For this purpose, the relative development of a) all farms, b) full-time farms, c) part-time farms and d) part-time workers in agriculture in the period from 1985 to 2000 was examined. 32 socio-economic and agricultural variables were combined to 9 potentially decisive factors by factor analysis. The statistical analysis could explain the development of the part-time farms mainly by the two agricultural factors “structure of farms” and “area of farms”. Therefore, the structural change in agriculture proceeds largely path-dependent. The change of agricultural structures is very different from district to district. Noticeable is the similar development in the south of Switzerland and in agglomerations. Instruments of the agricultural policy, which are mainly based on the altitude of the farms, are no longer sufficient. According to the results of the analysis of the structural change, the instruments of agricultural policy should be stronger adjusted to the different structural problems of the regions.
Thanks to their unique landscapes, the 15 Swiss parks, the majority of which are located in the (pre-)Alps and in the Jura Arc, feature as tourist attractions. But do the parks also provide economic value-added for local agriculture?
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.