Agro-ecological Knowledge Hub

CH case study: interviews and workshop to identify strategies for reducing animal stocking densities

During June and July 2020, we carried out online group interviews with farmers and farm advisors to identify strategies for reducing animal stocking densities in the case study region Lucerne Central Lakes Region. In a subsequent workshop, we then had lively discussion on what would need to change in policies and market to support those previously identified strategies. 

The strategies discussed were related to direct marketing, extensification of farming and income alternatives. The discussion yielded the conclusion that income alternatives exist, but it is uncertain to what extend they can be upscaled. Also, the participents of the workshop argued that despite existing regulation on animal densities, incentives to reduce them are still too weak and do not compensate for the loss in income. Therefore, it was argued, among others that it needs more support for farmers in the form of subsidies or border protection for special crops. For income alternatives unrelated to new crops or farm enterprises, it needs more flexibility within the spatial planning law. Yet, it was also stated that consumers have it in their hands to demand more sustainable products from extensive farms. Here, the participents agreed that such products need to be more promoted to the consumer and that climate- related taxes and lables could help in shaping the consumers’ buying decisions.

Text/photos: FiBL

Read more about the case study in Switzerland here.