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

Organic farming in Switzerland: opting in and opting out

The Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon ART Research Station conducted a survey on 3425 Swiss farms in January 2009. Its aim was to examine the dropout rate from organic farming over the period 2005 – 2007, to determine the types of farms and regions primarily affected, and the reasons leading farms to opt out. In the present study, the factors influencing a decision to opt out of organic farming are determined by means of a factor analysis and logistic regression. The bulk of those opting out are dairy farms in the mountain region. Economic reasons (price of organic products, low direct payments), the time and effort of record-keeping and checks (“Guidelines change too often”) and problems obtaining suitable concentrated feed/straw were the most commonly cited reasons for opting out. There is a high disposition towards opting out of organic farming (14%), especially in the case of dairy farms. The regression analysis confirms the results of the survey.

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