Measuring and evaluating farm income and well-being of farm families in Europe

Towards a shared and broader approach for analysis and policy design


171st Seminar of the European Association of Agricultural Economists (EAAE),

5th – 6th September 2019, Taenikon, Switzerland.

A joint seminar of Agroscope and ETH Zurich.



Post Seminar Information

Download some pictures of the 171st EAAE Seminar (Source: Twitter) here >>

Find related Twitter content using the hashtag #171eaaeseminar

Read the Agroscope News Item on the 171st EAAE Seminar here in German >> and in French >>

An Interview with Nadja El Benni and Robert Finger on the 171st EAAE Seminar in the ‘Landfreund’ (in German) can be found here >>

Winner of the Best Presentation Award: Willemijn Vroege (ETH Zürich, Switzerland), Janic Bucheli, Tobias Dalhaus, Martin Hirschi and Robert Finger for the paper entitled ‘Evaluating satellite soil moisture data for index insurances’.

Winner of the Best Poster Award: Fabio Santeramo (University of Foggia, Italy), Martina Bozzola and Emila Lamonaca for the poster entitled ‘On the impact of climate change on global agri-food trade’.


Important Dates

  • November 15, 2018: Abstract submission and registration opens
  • March 16, 2019: Submission deadline of abstracts
  • May 17, 2019: Notification of acceptance
  • July 05, 2019: Early bird registration deadline
  • August 23, 2019: Deadline for full paper submission
  • August 23, 2019: Deadline for registration
  • September 05-06, 2019: 171st  EAAE Seminar, Taenikon, Switzerland
  • October 31, 2019: Deadline Submission Special Issue






The governmental support of farms in European agriculture aims to ensure a decent standard of living for farmers and to ensure an environmental and animal friendly production. Income levels and income stability affect the well-being of farm families and contribute to rural development and farms’ ability to provide ecosystem services. However, changes in climatic, market and political conditions create new challenges. The seminar focusses on research related to the drivers, measurement and management of the distribution of farm incomes across time and space and other measures for well-being.


The European Commission recently communicated proposals on the future development of the CAP that include ideas for simplification and more effective and efficient direct payment schemes. Direct payments are the preferred agricultural policy measures applied to support farm incomes and the provision of ecosystem services and animal welfare. Yet, adjustments in direct payment schemes are suggested to further reduce the negative external effects of agricultural production and to balance the distribution of financial means across farms. Such changes in direct payment schemes often lead to redistributions of governmental subsidies across farm types and regions and thus, together with changing market conditions, contribute to structural change of the farm sector.

Farmers` incomes are still lagging behind salaries in other sectors and the pressure on income levels and income variability will remain high or may even increase. First, budgets devoted to agricultural policies are under constant pressure in European agriculture. For example, the upcoming Brexit is expected to further exacerbate the EU budget for the CAP. At the same time, market liberalization has resulted in more competitive and volatile markets and climate change and an increasing weather variability increase the production risk faced by farmers. Also the rapid structural change in the agro-business sector towards increasingly concentrated firms operating in the up- and down-stream sectors may put pressure on farm gate prices if no actions are taken to strengthen the market power of farmers.

Policy measures are implemented to ensure that policy targets are met despite these challenges. A toolkit will be developed at the European level and EU countries will be given the flexibility to choose which of these tools to use in order to achieve the desired results. Among others, the proposals include creating an EU-level platform on risk management on how best to help farmers cope with the uncertainty of climate, market volatility and other risks.

All these factors are expected to have implications for three aspects related to farm income: average income levels as well as income distribution over time (income variability) and space (income inequality). At the same time, we observe an increasing relevance of income as measured at the household level, reflecting the importance of off-farm income and farm-diversification also into non-agricultural activities. Moreover, new measures for well-being have been proposed that go beyond monetary measures.


To progress the knowledge base and expertise on the measurement and analysis of farm incomes and farm well-being in the light of future challenges facing agriculture by bringing together researchers and policy makers.


The publication of a special issue based on the contributions in the seminar is intended. We will submit a proposal for a special issue based on selected accepted abstracts to the European Review of Agricultural Economics.


This EAAE seminar aims to provide answers to these challenges by addressing the following topics:

  • Definition, measurement and monitoring of income, wealth and well-being
  • Distribution of income among the farm population and the effects of agricultural policies on income distribution
  • Risk and risk management in agriculture
  • Factors affecting well-being and income in rural areas
  • Relevance of off-farm income and wealth for farm family well-being
  • Models and tools for policy evaluation and assessment
  • Data availability and data quality for income evaluation and monitoring
  • Role of the supply chain partners on income level, income variability and income distribution in agriculture
  • Policy and private measures contributing to enhance farm income levels


Registration is done via conftool (click here). Registration is completed once the participation fee has been received. Note that after the registration you will receive an invoice via Email.

Deadline for registration is August 23, 2019.

Participants of an EAAE seminar have to be members of the EAAE at the time of registration for the seminar. The cost of becoming an EAAE member in 2018 is 150 EUR for the triennial period of 2018 till 2020. This amount is to be paid in advance of registration to the EAAE via the EAAE website,





We invite you to submit a two-page extended abstract (Times New Roman 11 pt, single spaced) that includes a problem statement, research question(s), methods, data, (preliminary) results and conclusion. Citation style should follow the European Review of Agricultural Economics (click here for details)

Please submit your abstract as .doc file via conftool (click here). During the submission process you will have to indicate names, affiliations, and full addresses of the author(s), an e-mail address of the corresponding author and whether the submission is aimed for oral or poster presentation.

There will be awards for the best paper presentation and best poster presentation. The seminar will be held in English.


There will be a special issue based on selected contributions from the seminar in the European Review of Agricultural Economics. Please find details here >>



Dr. Nadja El Benni (Agroscope, Research Division Competitiveness and System Evaluation) & Prof. Dr. Robert Finger (ETH Zurich, Agricultural Economics and Policy Group)


Simone Severini (Tuscia University, Italy), Miranda Meuwissen (Wageningen University, The Netherlands), Martin Odening (Humboldt-University Berlin, Germany), Oliver Musshoff (Göttingen University, Germany), Klaus Mittenzwei (NIBIO, Norway), Martina Bozzola (Queens University, UK), Geoffroy Enjolras (University Grenoble Alpes, France), David Wüpper (ETH Zürich, Switzerland), Carl-Johan Lagerkvist (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences), Paul Allanson (University of Dundee, Scotland), Gabriele Mack  (Agroscope, Switzerland), Robert Huber (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)



The seminar and the conference dinner will take place at Agroscope in Aadorf, Tänikon 1, 8356 Ettenhausen, Switzerland.

Aadorf can be reached by train from Zurich main station and Zurich airport in 45 minutes, from Winterthur in 20 minutes. From Frauenfeld (30 minutes from Zurich airport), a bus connection brings you directly to the seminar site in 25 minutes. Details on Swiss public transport can be found here.

  • Bus from Frauenfeld to ‘‘: BUS 834 (Richtung Ettenhausen TG) (one bus per hour, seminar schedule will be aligned to bus)
  • Train from Zürich or Winterthur to ‘Aaadorf’, 15 minutes walking (multiple trains)


Hotel capacities are blocked in Frauenfeld and limited housing capacities will be available in Tänikon itself. Note that there is a direct bus from Frauenfeld to the conference venue. Please find details below:

In the following hotels in Frauenfeld, capacities are blocked until the 2nd of August 2019

Hotel Blumenfeld, located directly at the main station Frauenfeld and the bus to Tänikon Rates: single room/night incl. breakfast: 97 – 135 CHF, double room/night incl. breakfast: 145 -180 CHF, triple room/night incl. breakfast: 190 – 230 CHF, four-bed room/night incl. breakfast: 255 – 280 CHF

Motel Falken, located 5 minutes from the main station Frauenfeld. The bus stop to Tänikon is located in front of the hotel (scroll down for information in english). Rates: single room/night excl. breakfast: from 85 CHF (+15 CHF breakfast), double room/night excl. breakfast: from 130 CHF, triple room/night excl. breakfast: from 170 CHF

Limited housing capacities (single and double rooms) are available in Tänikon itself. Please contact Susanne Jurk by phone +41 58 480 31 51 or e-mail to Rates: single room/night incl. breakfast: 80 CHF, double room/night/person incl. breakfast: 60 CHF


Find the detailed programme of the 171st EAAE Seminar here (July 23, 2019) >>


Winner of the Best Presentation Award: Willemijn Vroege (ETH Zürich, Switzerland), Janic Bucheli, Tobias Dalhaus, Martin Hirschi, Robert Finger for the paper entitled ‘Evaluating satellite soil moisture data for index insurances’.

Winner of the Best Poster Award: Fabio Santeramo (University of Foggia, Italy), Martina Bozzola and Emila Lamonaca for the poster entitled ‘On the impact of climate change on global agri-food trade’.


Thursday, September 05 2019:

Start: 08.30 Welcome coffee and registration

08.50-09.00 Opening Address (Robert Finger, ETH Zürich; Nadja El Benni, Agroscope)

09.00-10.30 Keynote Talks

  • Prof. Dr. Thia Hennessy, Cork University, Ireland: ‘Beyond Income: towards a better measurement of farmer welfare’
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Heckelei, University of Bonn, Germany: ‘Impact of income support policies for European agriculture – state and limitations of analysis’

10.40 – 12.00 Parallel sessions

12.00-13.30 Lunch

13.30-15.00 Visit of the ‘Swiss Future Farm‘, a flagship project on digitalization and smart farming in Switzerland (on conference site)

15.00-17.40 Parallel sessions

17.40 – 22.00: Welcome drinks; Speech by Bernard Belk (Vice Director of the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture) and Conference Dinner (takes place on conference site)


Friday September 06 2019:

Start: 08.40

08.40-11.00 Parallel and plenary sessions

11.00- 12.00 Poster Sessions

12.30-13.30 Lunch

13.30-14.30 Parallel sessions

14.30-15.00: Closing session and best presentation and best poster awards

15.00: End of seminar

General Information: Oral presentations are scheduled for 15 minutes, plus 5 minutes discussion. Poster presenters shall bring a printed poster (A0, vertical). Further details follow.


Upload of final papers

Use this template for final full papers to be uploaded by August 23rd 2019 171EAAE_Seminar_finalpaperTemplate

Poster presentations shall upload a pdf of their poster by August 23 2019


Pre-seminar Events on Wednesday September 04, 2019

There will be two pre-seminar events on September 04, 2019: one takes place in Zurich (at ETH Zurich) and one in Tänikon (conference site). Participants of the 171st EAAE Seminar are warmly welcome to join!


1) Event at ETH Zürich: 

Title: ‘Digitalization of Agriculture – Implications for Farmers, Food Systems & Policy’

Organized by:  the Agricultural Economics and Policy Group as well as the World Food System Center of the ETH Zurich

Time and location: Sept. 04, 17.15-18.45, with a reception afterwards. ETH main building, Zurich

Content: The event consist of two talks, a discussion and a reception. The scheduled talks are:

  • Welcome and Introduction (Robert Finger, ETH Zürich)
  • ‘Digital Innovation for Sustainable Food Systems’ Sjaak Wolfert & Krijn Poppe; Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands,
  • ‘Responsible Research and Innovation in Digital Agriculture’, Áine Regan, Teagasc, Ireland
  • Discussion (moderated by Melf-Hinrich Ehlers, ETH Zürich)
  • Reception

Participation is free but registration will be necessary. More details and registration details can be found here >>. Contact: Robert Finger (


2) Event in Tänikon

Title: Workshop «Farming as Lifestyle»

Organized by: Agroscope

Time and location:  Sept. 04, whole day, Tänikon

Content: The whole day workshop consist of various presentations and dicsussions. Invited guest speakers are Noa Lincoln (University of Hawaii), Imre Kovach (Hungarian Academy of Science), and Anne Cassidy (MIT Sloan School of Management), Moritz Boddenberg (University of Hamburg), Gudula Madsen (Technical University Berlin), Terresa Pinto Correia, (University of Evora), Stefanie Düsberg (Bavarian Ministry of Agriculture)

Details can be found on the workshop website >>





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