Since 2004, the number of organic farms has been declining steadily contrary to the positive trend in demand. Between 2005 and 2007, 263 or 4.1 percent of organic farms were lost. An analysis of data from the Federal Office for Agriculture’s Agricultural Policy Information System (AGIS) shows that 2.0 percent of the farms converted from organic to conventional farming (or to “proof of ecological performance”, PEP) and 2.1 percent dropped out of agriculture. These percentages are disproportionately high for mountain farms and dairy farms. Over one eighth of the farms which stayed in organic farming during the three years of the survey changed their farm type (13.9 percent). Initial results show that the majority of farmers abandon organic production for economic reasons. The drop in milk prices has also affected the organic sector. Moreover, at the end of March 2009, the purchase of conventional fodder is being set at 0 percent. The reasons for leaving farming are specifically investigated in selectively targeted interviews and a written survey.
How do farmers experience social sustainability on their farms? As an Agroscope study shows, this depends on farmers’ identities and farm types.
Cheese stands out as one of the main Swiss agricultural trade offensive interests. Outside the EU, the USA are an important export destination. The CAPRI model allows to assess the impact of a free trade agreement for cheese between the USA and CH.
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.