Agriculture supplies us with food and helps shape our landscape, but also pollutes the environment with nutrients and other emissions. How can we improve the environmental impact of farms? What types of farms perform well, and where does the greatest potential for improvement lie?
Agroscope's ‘Life Cycle Assessment - Farm Accountancy Data Network (LCA-FADN)' project investigated the connections between the environmental impact, income and productivity of farms. For each of the three years 2006-2008, an LCA was created on around 100 Swiss farms of varying types and altitudes.
In the process, the environmental impact of numerous factors such as farm type, product category, farming system, region, fertilisers, fuels and pesticides was analysed. The linking of the environmental data with the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) database allowed for combined environmental and economic analyses. The results were related to the various reference values representing the different functions of agriculture: land management, food production and income generation.