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Farming insider: Toni Peterhans, Switzerland

About Toni

Toni Peterhans lives with his family in Fislisbach, where he manages a dairy and arable farm. In 2003, he added another pillar to his business: large-scale production of silage corn bales. All this work doesn´t leave him much free time, but when he does have some, he likes to spend it on the dancefloor, at a concert or watching a football match.

Farm facts

Family-owned since 1960

Farm size: 60 hectares of agricultural land

Cultivated crops: Silage corn, wheat, barley, bush beans, thresher peas, sweetcorn and sugarbeet. There is also artificial, natural and ecological pastureland.

Features: 25 years ago the business recorded a stall average of 6,000 liters per cow. Now, the average is 13,400 liters per cow over 305 days of lactation. The farm therefore has one of the highest milk outputs of any in Switzerland.

Spirit and passion are what leads to success,
whether it´s in farming or on the football pitch.
Toni Peterhans, Fislisbach

Question time

Why did you decide to become a farmer – and can you picture yourself doing anything else?

I've been interested in farming since I was seven years old and I've always been very passionate about it. From a young age, it was the only thing I ever wanted to do. I had already accompanied my father while he was working on the farm, and it went without saying that I would follow him into the business.

And it´s a business that has seen tremendous success over the last 25 years, as the figures show ...

Yes, back then we had 19 hectares and milk production of 90,000 liters a year, so it was a relatively small farm for Switzerland. Now we have 60 hectares and milk production of 500,000 liters. This sort of development isn't something that happens every day, because it's down to hard work rather than inheritance. What it does show, however, is that if you make the right decisions at the right time, there is always the possibility for development.

How important is it to be able to make your decisions independently?

Independence means a lot to me, and I find being independent very fulfilling. It means freedom. Having freedom and managing a business, however, also places a burden on you, because you're having to make important decisions from morning till night.

How important are respect and appreciation for you, both in your personal and your working life?

Respect is everything. It should be an integral part of our day-to-day lives. That begins with simply saying "good morning", "thank you" and "goodbye" – that's the way I was brought up. Be it personally or professionally: appreciation, respect and trust are very important to me.

How do you approach innovations and new technologies?

I tend to be cautiously optimistic. Of course I want to get ahead, but with the necessary respect, because sometimes new things are credited with more than they're able to live up to. Nevertheless, I always find out all the details before I make a decision on whether to try something out or leave it be. In the past, we have streamlined our operations a great deal, invested in machinery and optimized processes generally. At the back of our minds, meanwhile, we were always thinking; become better before you become bigger.

On the road worldwide. Always closeby.

All farmers have their own character - which is reflected in their way of life, philosophy and the form of farming and livestock breeding. We visited our farmers around the world and wanted to know what makes them successful, what they stand for and what challenges they have to face. A journey across five continents.


Cole Vis, USA

“My wish for the future of the family farm is that it will still be run well in the fifth, sixth, and seventh generation.”


Arco Van Triest, Netherlands

“This farm has been running since 1900, and now my children are here.“


Adem Biçici, Turkey

“When I go out into the fields with my grandson, I see myself reflected in his curiosity.“


Brian Ryberg, USA

“I think the feeling of being part of something greater has always been important to me.“


Šandor Sabo junior, Croatia

“Whatever problems we are facing, we solve them together. For me, family is all about cohesion.“


Atila Sabo, Croatia

“Every morning, my brother and I agree what we want to do during the day, what our duties are. So we share the work and have passed on this structure to our children in the same way.“


Carla, Fábio and José Rossato, Brazil

“I never had any doubts; I never wanted to be anything but a farmer.”


Dimitar Vukudinov, Bulgaria

”Working with your own father means that you always have a wiser man with you to support you and look up to.”


Rodolfo Cura, Argentina

“The farm is everything to me. Working in agriculture is the greatest way to do what I love. For me, the farm means freedom.”


Heidi Verschelde, Belgium

"I think the next generation is showing a keen sense for the importance of nature."


Ievhenii Bondarchuk, Ukraine

"If you want to be a farmer, you can’t learn that in an institute. It’s something you have to be born with."


Luigi Torri, Italy

“I hope my sons will pass on the love and respect for the earth and all the values I taught them.”


Paweł Strzemiecki, Poland

“This love of farming, of the farming tradition, goes back generations in our family.”


Emma F., UK

“It would be great if one day the sixth or seventh generation of our family runs the farm.“


Peter Carlisle, UK

“Teamwork is the most important thing on our farm. Everyone does a little bit of everything. If we weren't a team, our business wouldn't be as successful as it is today.“


Henning & Arne Beecken, Germany

“The feeling of wanting to continue the work on the farm has grown day by day since childhood.“


Emanuele Bortoli, Italy

“Reliability and respect form the foundation for how we deal with one another. These are values I`ve always held in high esteem.“


Francis Bapst, Switzerland

“For me, the most important values are respect for nature, understanding our consumers and food production.”


Toni & Daniel Peterhans, Switzerland

”Spirit and passion are what leads to success, whether it's in farming or on the football pitch.”


Riccardo Casarotto, Italy

”Independence is a dream that we should all cultivate and pursue. Dreams are there to come true and to help you progress.”


Stephan Jansen, Belgium

”I look forward to waking up every day and being able to work with nature.”


Gizem Anar, Turkey

”People should love what they do, and I love farming. I enjoy looking after animals, plants and nature and try to feel connected to them!.”


Adrian Knuchel, Switzerland

”For me, team spirit means being able to live and work together. It means ongoing exchange, taking each other, mutual ideas and suggestions seriously.”


Gürkan Ilhan, Turkey

”People who work in agriculture, cultivating crops, rearing livestock and working on the land, accumulate positive memories day after day.”


René Vermue, Netherlands

”Team spirit and reliability are hugely important in both my personal life and my working life – be it with colleagues, employees, or in dealings with other farmers.”


Henrick Dieckmann, Germany

”For me, it´s important to be sustainable and healthy in what we produce.”

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