Agriculture is “systemically relevant”

by Josef Kunz, former National Councillor, Grosswangen

The headlines in the media constantly cast agriculture in a negative light. For example, Switzerland is drowning in slurry, livestock numbers are far too high and produce too much ammonia, agriculture pollutes the water, meat production pollutes the environment and the farmers’ subsidies cost too much. These are just a few examples.
  For clarity, the following facts:
  Too much slurry: The use of artificial fertilisers has decreased massively. Spreading slurry must be precisely documented and done in a targeted manner. The nutrient balance, withdrawal and application must correspond to the yields.
  Livestock numbers too high: The number of cattle and pigs has decreased in recent years.
  With almost 50%, of self-sufficiency it would be negligent to further reduce livestock numbers. By livestock farming Switzerland’s grasslands are maintained. Do those who demonise meat want to consume grass soup in the future? Farmers refine grass into milk, cheese and meat, and thus also provide thousands of processing jobs.
  Water pollution: Farmers have never used illegal sprays. These have always been approved by the federal agencies. Thus, the farmer uses sprays in good conscience, believing that residues are not a problem. Additionally, hormones and medicines from humans are just as big a problem. Clearly, residues must be reduced in all sectors of industry, health and agriculture, but to hold agriculture unilaterally responsible for these residues is untenable.
  Subsidies: With the introduction of direct payments, farmers saw their milk and grain prices halved. Thus, agriculture lost income of approximately two billion francs in these sectors alone. Do you know, dear readers, that without direct payments 50% of farmers’ families would no longer have an income? Avenir Suisse would have to question whether these price reductions reached the consumer or led to margin improvements by the intermediary trade. Cheese did not become significantly cheaper for consumers; despite the halving of the milk price, cheese imports have increased to over fifty thousand tonnes within fifteen years. Where is the climate and environmental protection? Payments are also linked to animal welfare and environmental services.
  Conclusion: Farmers do not produce for themselves, but to provide our population with excellent food. Productive agriculture is the cheapest form of landscape maintenance and provides thousands of jobs in processing. The Agrarplattform (agricultural platform) calculated that if the state had to take over landscape maintenance, this would cost twelve billion without any production. If Europe were hit by a drought (signs are there), famine would also break out in our country. That is why our farming families deserve appreciation. They do their utmost to preserve the environment and to pass on intact land and agriculture to the next generation which is also in the interest of the rest of the population. The media has a great responsibility not to constantly cover agriculture with negative headlines, but for once with positive ones! Here are some suggestions:

  • The farmer is drowning in bureaucracy.
  • Without farmers, there is no intact landscape.
  • Without food, there is no economy.
  • The degree of self-sufficiency must not be allowed to fall any further, otherwise dependence on foreign countries threatens to increase.
  • Due to the price reductions, the farmer is dependent upon subsidies.

I thank all consumers who support our agricultural and local products, I advise the media to take my food for thought seriously, the farming families deserve it and are grateful for it!    •

(Translation Current Concerns)

Our website uses cookies so that we can continually improve the page and provide you with an optimized visitor experience. If you continue reading this website, you agree to the use of cookies. Further information regarding cookies can be found in the data protection note.

If you want to prevent the setting of cookies (for example, Google Analytics), you can set this up by using this browser add-on.​​​​​​​