Swiss farming families are under pressure as a result of developments in agriculture policies and the economy. For many of them, the income situation is unsatisfactory; some are even in precarious income situations. This article highlights the precarious situation of seven farming families. The reasons behind this precariousness are multi-layered and complex. Two basic patterns can be discerned: (a) a dramatic event causes the fragile financial balance to collapse; (b) the gap between income and expenditure continually grows wider until one day the income is no longer enough. The responses to this precariousness are also varied. Seven strategies have been identified that are sometimes used concurrently, sometimes one after the other: reducing personal expenditure, making operational changes, taking on or increasing additional employment, delaying payments, taking out private loans, applying to foundations or charities, asking for professional help or consciously ignoring the problem. Giving up the farm was not a strategy for any of the households interviewed.
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.
The pandemic has influenced not only our everyday life but also our behaviour. Agroscope looked at which population groups and behaviours experienced or underwent particularly significant changes, and what this means for our health.
Swiss dairy farms are more strongly affected by structural change than other farm types. An analysis of the farms exiting the sector or switching focus highlights influencing factors.