Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station ART, CH-8356 Ettenhausen

Increasing phasing out of organic agriculture – with an upward trend

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.

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