Name Case Study Site: Farms in the Canton Bern
Responsible partner: University of Bern, Abdallah Alaoui (CSS lead), Chervet Andreas (CSS team)

Geographical description
CSS4 is located in Canton Bern close to the university of Bern. 19 farms including conventional, integrated and organic farming have been intensively investigated resulting in a soil database (KABO) launched by the Canton of Bern (Service for soil protection) since 1994. In 2018, the Canton starts collecting data on microplastic in soil.

Some projects were carried out with the main stakeholders to adopt sustainable agricultural practices and supports the university of Bern in many activities related to soil protection. The methods used for soil assessment are standardized at the national level and can be used for this project. Service for soil protection will be involved in this project at different stages, e.g. scientific and administrative support dissemination activities, and workshops.

LO Swiss

The farms will spread in the Canton of Bern marked in red.

Main farming systems
The main farming system considered in the Canton of Bern consists of Orchards. Apple trees, cherry trees) at this stage, we have selected 5 farms of small to medium size, 4 authorised to attest ecological performance, and one as organic farming system. In order to receive direct payments, the farmer perceiving the subsidies must meet or have met the requirements of the ecological performance certificate (ÖLN) on the entire holding (Direct Payments Ordinance; DZV). We are going to complete the list of the orchards with additional farms with intensive farming use.

FS Swiss1 FS Swiss2
FS Swiss3 FS Swiss4

Above, the two photos are taken in Niederösch (left with cherry trees) und Grasswil
(right with Apple trees), the two photos below are taken in Langnau (Apple trees).

 

Ongoing research and innovation actions
The Service for soil protection of canton Bern start monitoring 19 farms since 1994.

Since 1994, it deals with pesticides control and is very interested to collaborate with the University of Bern. There are many workshops and stakeholder meetings organized by the service of soil protection. The canton of Bern launched in 2009 a program entitled “Soil Promotion” of a duration of 6 years (2009 – 2015). This Program was designed to support financially the farmers applying voluntary specific methods conserving soil while exploiting their land (art. 77a and b according to the Law on Agriculture LAgr.).

The Bern organisation for ecological performance and for animal-friendly farming practices (BFO), the organisation of Swiss Bio (FGB), and the Office for Agriculture and Nature of Canton Bern (LANAT) have drawn up the project. The project is based on 3 pillars: (i) Education and Advice; (ii) Support for measures in soil protection and nitrogen efficiency; and (iii) Controlling and Monitoring. During last 10 years, several initiatives have been launched by different private sectors. Two important ones, were initiated by Bio Suisse, a federation of Swiss organic farmers, with 7,100 members. The initiatives are called: “Pour une Suisse libre de pesticides de synthèse” et “Une eau propre pour tous”. Thus, the Swiss farmers under high pressure are have to adopt more sustainable agriculture in the near future.

Relevant stakeholders in the area:

  • Member organizations: 25 cantonal farmers’ associations
  • Agricultural Chamber:
  • Members of the executive committee
  • Executive committee
  • Offices of the Swiss Farmer’s Union