Ecological direct payments in Swiss Agricultural Policy
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The Swiss Agricultural Policy allows environmentally friendly farming practices to be compensated according to specific criteria outlined in the Federal Ordinance on Ecological Direct Payments. A distinction is made between general and ecological direct payments. Particular services are remunerated separately through ecological direct payments. Participation in this program is optional. The aim of one of the proposed programs is to create valuable habitats for animals and plants. Among other things, the farmer receives additional payment for extensive meadow-land, reed-beds, natural field margins, permanent flowery meadows and rotated fallow fields, hedges, copses and wooded river banks and standard fruit trees (with trunk and crown). An additional program was started in 2001 aimed at raising the quality of these ecological zones and encouraging farmers to link them up.