Preferences with respect to agricultural policy have changed in Germany and Switzerland. In the middle of the 20th century, food self sufficiency and a certain cultural solidarity with farmers were central issues. Today, farmers are expected to contribute to environmental protection and safe food. Switzerland and Germany are two examples of countries where national agricultural policies have attempted to take the changing preferences into account. However, in Germany the government had a hard time succeeding since the general features of agricultural policy are decided by the EU. Comparing Germany with Switzerland indicates that it might be more appropriate to decide on agricultural policy on the national rather than on a regional or supranational level.