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Claudia Schildknecht

Agricultural subventions, increased milk production at dropping prices, combined with free-trade agreements in agriculture and food production between the EU and Switzerland – all of this burdens and undermines the economic survival of Swiss farmers. More and more small farms dissolve.

While some agricultural businesses seek recourse in industrialization, others venture into promising market niches: water buffalo, zebus, bison, kangaroos, ostriches, silk worms, shrimps, cashmere goats, lamas and camels are no rare species on Swiss farm land anymore. Some farmers have already established themselves in this market, while others are venturing into these alternatives. Next to the economic state of affairs, the love for the animals is a central concern.

In her work, Claudia Schildknecht tackles general questions of the culture and tradition of Swiss farming. More in particular, she zooms in on the farms of her own family and friends, who are confronted with the rapid decline of the traditionally strong Swiss milk market. Will Swiss mentality survive the farming of exotic animals? Are we witnessing the birth of a new rural culture in Switzerland?

Schildknecht’s photos, sound recordings and video fragments make us aware of the challenges and changes current Swiss agriculture is facing.


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