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A simple measure for workload as a social sustainability indicator for family farms

Most criteria for social sustainability of farms rely on the presence of employed labour, so that the social sustainability of family farms is difficult to capture. We therefore propose to focus on workload as one aspect of social sustainability, with a particular angle on its manifestation in family farms. We compared existing labour resources to working time requirements according to the farm’s portfolio. Different levels of detail in acquiring the necessary data are presented. Two case studies on samples of Swiss dairy farms indicate that around a third of all farms suffer from potentially being overworked whereas being underworked does not seem to be an issue. It has been indicated that the problem of overwork is more prevalent among lowland farms than in the mountains. The simple indicator proposed was found to be a potentially useful and easy-to-use tool. However, it became clear that added value could be found by including the degree of mechanisation on the farm and the degree of outsourcing of work processes to contractors in the calculation of the indicator. Further, an outlook is given on how to automate the indicator calculations to provide additional benefit.



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