Swiss College of Agriculture, Zollikofen

The sustainability evaluation RISE of mountain farms

The Response-Inducing Sustainability Evaluation (RISE) summarizes, based on twelve indicators ecological, economical and social aspect of agricultural production at the farm level. Within the Mountain Dairy Project RISE was used to assess the overall goals of the individual farm strategies. Although an improvement on the economic indicators can be seen, an overall sustainable situation on average and in summary could neither be achieved in the current nor in the targeted situation; based in particular on the negative degree of sustainability on the indicator Economic Efficiency. Regardless of the economic optimizations an average calculated loss remains even in the targeted situation. The degrees of sustainability of the ecological as well as social indicators all appear positive and remain alike for the target situation. Nevertheless a number of distinct ecological parameters were identified as problematic in both cases (energy requirements form various fuels and electricity per workforce and year, deficits due to losses of ammonia into the air from the manure application, and to advance fodder availability on the participating farms from the Lower Engadine, environmentally friendly irrigation management may be recommended) The methodic addition of the holistic sustainability analysis RISE throughout a strategic planning process is desirable as it enhances the outcome and discussion with otherwise ignored aspects of sustainability and multifunctionality.

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