Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Variety keeps Swiss farmers satisfied


A project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation has found that Swiss farmers enjoy greater levels of job satisfaction than their counterparts in industrialised agricultural systems.

What impact do agricultural systems have on job satisfaction among farmers? This is the question that Agroscope researchers have been investigating with funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation.

They compared Switzerland's agricultural system with the more industrialised northeastern German system, which is dominated by non-family farms. They concluded that farmers in Switzerland are generally just as satisfied with their work as their counterparts in northeast Germany.

Varied work a source of satisfaction

However, job satisfaction is generated differently between the two groups of farmers. Whereas financial factors have a significant impact on satisfaction levels among farmers in northeast Germany, farm size and the financial situation play a secondary role among their Swiss colleagues. "In fact, if you factor in the agricultural structures of both regions, you find that the Swiss farmers tend to be more satisfied," says Tim Besser, socioeconomist at Agroscope. "The Swiss system evidently exhibits qualities apart from economic return."

The researchers compared the two systems by surveying the job satisfaction levels of 3000 Swiss and 2000 northeast German farmers and asking them to rate their financial situation. Of the 5000 questionnaires sent at random, 1687 were returned. 1158 – 72 percent from Switzerland, 28 percent from Germany – were used to assess job satisfaction. (*)

Additionally, the researchers found similarities. For example, being forced to take up paid employment outside agriculture seems to have a detrimental effect on satisfaction with agricultural work. On the contrary, diversification in the form of agritourism or running a farm shop increases job satisfaction.

Social role in rural areas

The researchers also investigated social networking levels among farmers in rural areas. They found that Swiss farmers generally had stronger local roots than their German counterparts and that the type of networking depended heavily on farm size. Besser assumes that: "An agricultural system based on small family-run farms could counteract negative population developments, such as the depopulation of peripheral areas." Based on the results Besser emphasizes: "When we discuss the changes that are taking place in the Swiss agriculture, we should remember that adopting an entirely economic perspective can have negative social consequences."

(*) T. Besser, S. Mann: Which farm characteristics influence work satisfaction? An analysis of two agricultural systems, Agricultural Systems, 10.1016/j.agsy.2015.10.003

T. Besser, C. Jurt, and S. Mann: Agricultural structure and farmers' interconnections with rural communities. International Journal of Social Economics (in press)

(Available to journalists as a PDF file from the SNSF:


Tim Besser, Agroscope, Agroscope, Institute for Sustainability Sciences, Agricultural Economics and Engineering, Tänikon, Tel.: +41 (0)52 368 32 54,

Stefan Mann, Agroscope, Agroscope, Institute for Sustainability Sciences, Agricultural Economics and Engineering, Tänikon, Tel.: +41 (0)52 368 32 38,

Christine Jurt, Agroscope, Agroscope, Institute for Sustainability Sciences, Agricultural Economics and Engineering, Tänikon, Tel.: +41 (0)52 368 32 22,

Weitere Informationen:

Media - Abteilung Kommunikation | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Forest Management Yields Higher Productivity through Biodiversity
14.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Farming with forests
23.09.2016 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>