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.
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.
The agricultural sector as an aggregate proved resilient to the COVID-19 shock. But how did it impact agribusiness firms within the sector? Using the Swiss case, we provide the first set of evidence on how agri-food importing firms survived the pandemic economically.
Agricultural economics research uses a multitude of methods and approaches to assess existing and new policy measures. This is the basis for agricultural policy that demonstrably makes a difference, i.e. is evidence-based.