Organically farmed area
In organic farming, production is based as much as possible on closed cycles and the use of environmentally sustainable methods. The use of chemical-synthetic fertilisers and plant protection products is prohibited. Hence, an increase in organic farming is good for biodiversity. This positive effect varies, however, according to the location, climate, crops and dominant farming methods. For instance, it is stronger in areas with large crops than in the grassland areas.
Nearby water bodies also benefit from organic farming. They are not polluted with chemical-synthetic fertilisers and plant protection products. In addition, livestock holdings are tailored to the size of the organic farms with a view to keeping cycles as closed as possible. This means that organic farmers do not overfertilise their land and fewer nutrients reach nearby water bodies.
Organically farmed area increased considerably up to 2003, after which the increase slowed. The highest level was reached in 2006, after which there was a slight decline. It has increased again slightly since 2011. At 13.5 %, in 2016 organically farmed land represented a considerable proportion of agriculturally productive area. In view of the rising sales of organic products, potential remains for the creation of more organically farmed area. Therefore, the development is considered positive but the state could still be improved.
- Related indicators
- Nutrients in watercourses
The statistical office of the European Union (Eurostat) publishes comparable figures at the European level. In 2016, organically farmed land accounted for 6.7% of the total agriculturally productive area (APA) of the European Union (EU). With 21% of its APA farmed according to environmental standards, Austria heads the list of European countries in terms of organic crops. Switzerland comes in 6th, with 13.5%.
The Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) and the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) survey the data on agricultural operations jointly. The information about organically farmed land forms part of these data. The federal authorities‘ evaluations are based on standardised questionnaires which must be completed by the farmers. The information they provide, which relates to the deadline in early May, are checked by the federal authorities and cantons and managed in the FOAG’s central database.