In the coming years, significant changes are to be expected in agriculture in mountain regions due to the changing general environment. It can be assumed that product prices will sink while production costs remain unchanged at their present high level. Therefore, a more incisive structural change will be necessary if additional direct payments are not forthcoming. Economic survival can only be assured if the number of farms, and in particular the number of workforce, decrease even further. This will also lead to a decline in agriculture's contribution to decentralised settlement. On the other hand, if this structural adaptation is impeded, the result will be a major decline in the per capita income of the workforce and, consequently, social problems. The reduction in the number of workforce is an economic necessity and in turn will lead to changes in production strategies. Given the anticipated price relationships, dairy farming will become less competitive compared to meat production. If the workforce is mobile and economic decisions are based on labour costs, labour-intensive production systems in animal husbandry and land use will be cut back in favour of extensive meat production on large pastures. The undesirable consequences are higher emissions of volatile nitrogen or changes in the botanical composition on meadows that were previously mown.


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