Just 20 years ago, over half of the genetic material for the breeding of Braunvieh cattle was imported – primarily from North America – despite the fact that Switzerland is the genetic centre for Braunvieh. Today, however, the self-sufficiency level for Braunvieh breeding material is just shy of 100 %, and Switzerland has even become a net exporter of this breed. The reasons for this positive development are traced in this paper. Two factors stand out here: on the one hand, the increasing deregulation of reproduction is of prime importance. A government-instituted monopoly was abolished; now, any animal may be offered and used for reproduction. On the other hand, however, government-sponsored herdbook keeping and the targeted provision of animal-specific information on milk and meat production as well as on health status provide an informational base allowing farmers to make a qualified selection of genetic material. This combination of liberalisation and government-sponsored information seems to be good for a competitive breeding sector.
How do farmers experience social sustainability on their farms? As an Agroscope study shows, this depends on farmers’ identities and farm types.
Cheese stands out as one of the main Swiss agricultural trade offensive interests. Outside the EU, the USA are an important export destination. The CAPRI model allows to assess the impact of a free trade agreement for cheese between the USA and CH.
Policies to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions are more effective and more efficient if they are set at the regional level and not at the level of individual farms. This can help achieve climate targets.