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
Algorithm could streamline harvesting of hand-picked crops
13.03.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering
A global conflict: agricultural production vs. biodiversity
06.03.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.
When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...
At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.
Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
08.03.2018 | Event News
19.03.2018 | Trade Fair News
19.03.2018 | Life Sciences
19.03.2018 | Life Sciences