This study addresses the influence of technological progress on the annual working hours of Swiss farmers in the years 2003 and 2012. The analysis of standard labour contracts for agricultural employees in Switzerland as well as a study of the literature revealed that the weekly working time for agricultural activities in most countries comes to over 48 hours. In addition, the working-time requirement was modelled on the basis of accounting data from 65 arable and 236 dairy farms. The data were used to calculate average farms, after which the ART Work Budget Software (Agroscope, Ettenhausen) was used for the modelling. Overall, it was noted that technological progress is definitely implemented on the farms, but that the resulting working-time reduction is being used either to farm more land or manage larger livestock numbers. In conclusion savings in working time have been offset by expansion, and working hours per person and year have tended to remain stable.
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.
Agroscope studied the changes in the agricultural sector over the past twenty years in three Swiss regions and compared them with the visions of three associations: Avenir Suisse, the Schweizer Bauernverband and Landwirtschaft mit Zukunft.