Law

Farmers and the Law

Farmers and the Law

I tried once, in earnest, to buy a farm. Being that I had mostly been operating as either a contract worker or under-the-table, farm lending from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) was out of the picture. Looking further into loans, business plans and creative land-use, the numbers didn’t line up. About six years later, the price of land in my county has gone up more than 25%. In the US, farmers under 35 have an average debt-to-asset ratio of 28%. Without inheriting land or building on external assets, jump-starting a farm is seldom viable. This reality of a systemic hardship surrounding farmland access has created a generation that rarely considers farming as a life path.

Farmers and the Law Switzerland

Farmers and the Law – Switzerland

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While the Swiss system of government might already be familiar to some, what is less well know is that Switzerland has a longstanding tradition of valuing and protecting small farmers and their farmland and insisting on its use solely for agricultural purposes. In doing this it takes stringent measures to prevent farmland becoming an investment tool or falling to industrial or suburban development. The country recognizes the importance of preserving its agricultural heritage, ensuring food security, and maintaining a sustainable environment. Swiss law protects the nation’s farmland, and actively promotes local family farms and is enshrined in the Swiss Confederation Constitution which explicitly states that the Confederation and the Cantons shall ensure the preservation of agricultural land.