The development of alpine summer farming strongly depends on the development of the home farms. According to representative surveys of summer-pasturing (n = 856) and nonsummer- pasturing (n = 233) home farms in Switzerland, the available forage area on the home farms is a key parameter of the demand for summer pasturing, being both the most important reason for summer pasturing or not, as well as a potential and actual reason for exiting summer pasturing. In coming years, a scenario of increased opting-out is probable, since half of the farms articulate a wish to increase the homefarm forage area. Added to this, according to survey results, is the low likelihood of farmers entering or returning to the summer-pasturing option. For one thing, the survey indicates that very few farms that have previously never sent animals for summer grazing in alpine pastures will start to do so. Moreover, the return of large numbers of farms which previously summer-pastured their livestock is not to be expected, since opting out was in most cases a result of major – and therefore probably fairly long-term – changes on the home farm such as e.g. expansion of the forage area.
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.