Farms can only maintain and improve their competitiveness long-term through investment. This paper attempts to determine whether the investment behaviour of farms changes when whole farms or certain production branches merge. To this end, data on individual farms from the investment support measures of the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) and the cantonal credit banks were analysed. During the period investigated (2003-2005), 2644 investments in farm buildings were supported in Switzerland. Over the same period, around 9.4% of the farming collectives (FCs) and partial farming collectives (PFCs), and nearly 4% of individual farms (IFs) in Switzerland invested. IFs as well as FCs and PFCs invested primarily in the new building and rebuilding of cattle housing. Farming collectives opted more frequently for new-build, while individual farms increasingly tended to rebuild existing buildings. On a regional level, a high rate of investment may be observed in West Switzerland (Fribourg, Jura and Neuchâtel cantons). With farming collectives, both the investments as well as the amount of investment funding received are higher on account of the size of the farm; however, consideration of the investments per hectare or cattle equivalent reveals almost no differences.
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.