MIL-OSI Translation: Report on the income of farming families adopted by the Federal Council

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MIL OSI Translation. Government of the Republic of France statements from French to English –

Source: Switzerland – Department of Foreign Affairs in French

Federal Council

Bern, 01.03.2024 – After regular growth between 2015 and 2021, income from agricultural activity decreased in 2022, for the first time in seven years. In addition, income from agricultural work is mostly lower than wages in other economic sectors. These are the conclusions of the report delivered on March 1, 2024 by the Federal Council, which notes that the quality of professional training is one of the keys to improving agricultural income. The Federal Council also wishes to improve the comparison with the rest of the population to better monitor the evolution of this income.

The report responding to postulate 21.4585 Bulliard shows that agricultural income increased by 32% on average between 2015 and 2021 to reach 80,709 francs. However, it fell in 2022 (-1.3%) for the first time since 2015. In addition, income from agricultural work remains modest compared to wages in the secondary and tertiary sectors. It also reveals a gap between the plain region and the mountain region.

Strong disparities within agriculture

There are large differences in income within agriculture, the origins of which are multiple. Apart from topographical and climatic conditions, the training of farmers is decisive in this regard. The income of well-trained operations managers is on average significantly higher than that of managers with less training, and has increased more in recent years. Income also depends on the branch of exploitation, because certain productions, such as specialty crops, and processing activities are more lucrative than, for example, dairy production or the breeding of mother cows. Finally, the size of the farm also matters, with larger farms usually generating higher income.

Relative low income from agricultural work

At around 17 francs on average per hour, the hourly income of agricultural work is modest compared to that of workers in the secondary and tertiary sectors. It emerges from the comparison between agricultural income and the salaries of other professions representative of the value creation chain (veterinary medicine, meat or milk processing, transport, catering) that salaries in these professions are higher than income median of agricultural work, which reaches 50,551 francs per unit of family labor. The median gross annual salary is between 54,840 francs in catering and 95,964 francs in veterinary medicine. In the plain region, however, the median income from agricultural work is higher than the median income from the professions analyzed in the value creation chain, except veterinarians and agricultural machine mechanics.

Activity outside of agriculture plays a crucial role in the composition of the income of farming families. Taken from agricultural activity to which is added non-agricultural activity, the total income of farming families reached on average 111,284 francs in 2021. That same year, extra-agricultural income represented on average 31% of total income. , and is of greater importance in mountain and hill regions than in the plain region. More than 93% of households report having one or more sources of income outside of agriculture, income produced mainly by salaried work, which represents on average 72% of non-agricultural income. Note that lucrative activities carried out outside of agriculture by women have increased in recent years: in 2022, this phenomenon concerned more than half of women active in agriculture.

A policy favorable to improving income

The report gives a nuanced picture of the economic situation in agriculture. On the one hand, reduced to an hourly wage (based on 2,800 hours per year), agricultural activity brings in little. On the other hand, the income generated by agricultural operations has evolved in an overall positive manner in recent years. Ultimately, it is important to pursue a policy that allows agriculture to fully exploit the potential for improvement in this regard.

Concerned with improving the monitoring of the income of farming families, the Federal Council considers it necessary to perfect the comparison method and to establish the terms by means of an ordinance. He instructed the DEFR to submit a proposal to him by the end of 2026.

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Federal Council

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure not be perfect.

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