The government has called for a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from Switzerland's agricultural sector.
Farmers will be expected to cut annual emissions of nitrogen from the current average of 44,000 to 25,000 tons, the federal environment and agriculture offices said in a joint statement on Monday.
The nitrogen reduction was one of 13 environmental goals listed by the two offices to protect biodiversity, the climate, water and the soil. Agriculture is responsible for 11 per cent of Switzerland's greenhouse gas emissions, according to 2004 figures.
The goals are based on existing principles and should serve as the foundation for how Switzerland should proceed with its system of making direct payments to the country's farmers.
The government is expected to present its recommendations to parliament in the coming months.
The environment office will formulate environmental goals for other sectors of the Swiss economy over the next two years.