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Abstract

Using a discrete choice experiment and a mixed-effects logit model, this article analyses the job preferences of 300 dairy farmers in the eastern part of Switzerland who intend to stay in milk production. The results show that a shift to suckler cow husbandry plus additional employment or to a job completely outside of agriculture would only be considered by dairy farmers in exchange for compensation of around 52,900 Swiss francs (CHF), equal to one-and-a-half times the annual on-farm income of a full-time family work unit. At CHF 45,800, the compensation required for farming without cattle is slightly lower, whilst giving up self-employment would require compensation of CHF 32,300. Dairy farmers would be willing to sacrifice around one-fifth of their annual income for an additional week’s holiday, which shows how precious leisure time is for them. Overall, we conclude that the farmers interviewed are passionate about dairy production and that they clearly prefer to remain self-employed. Accordingly, there is evidence that these dairy farmers have substantial non-pecuniary job preferences.

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