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: email@example.com)
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,
Media - Abteilung Kommunikation | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
How much soil goes down the drain -- New data on soil lost due to water
18.12.2017 | European Commission Joint Research Centre
Cascading use is also beneficial for wood
11.12.2017 | Technische Universität München
A study carried out by an international team of researchers and published in the journal Physical Review X shows that ion-trap technologies available today are suitable for building large-scale quantum computers. The scientists introduce trapped-ion quantum error correction protocols that detect and correct processing errors.
In order to reach their full potential, today’s quantum computer prototypes have to meet specific criteria: First, they have to be made bigger, which means...
Since 2016, German and Spanish researchers, among them scientists from the University of Göttingen, have been hunting for exoplanets with the “Carmenes”...
DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
18.12.2017 | Information Technology
18.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.12.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science