Agroscope, Institute for Sustainability Sciences ISS, Switzerland

What is the impact of the new alpine pasturing subsidies?

Alpine pasturing subsidies are now being introduced under the 2014–2017 Agricultural Policy. These subsidies are meant to offer lower-altitude farms a further incentive to move their livestock to alpine pastures during the summer season. Calculations made with the agent-based model SWISSland show that the alpine pasturing subsidies in combination with the previous summer pasturing subsidies strongly support the stocking rate. Despite this, the summer- and alpine pasturing subsidies are not sufficient to halt the decline in livestock population in the summer pasturing areas. Above-average decreases are to be expected for sheep and goats, whilst the number of summer-pastured suckler cows, other cattle and dairy cows is decreasing to a lower extent. The main reason for the decline in summer-pasturing numbers is the reduction in the livestock population on the farms, which goes hand-in-hand with the implementation of the 2014–2017 Agricultural Policy. It remains to be seen just how strongly the use and upkeep of summering pastures can be supported by the new measures for the promotion of biodiversity and landscape quality.

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