In some countries, especially in disadvantaged areas, a stronger tendency for low input farming systems (LIFS) can be noticed nowadays aiming at aspects of sustainability. Sustainable agriculture refers to the ability of a farm to produce food indefinitely without causing irreversible damage to the health of the ecosystem. There is a set of different LIFS-elements available, which have to be chosen and combined according to the specific situation on farm. Most of the LIFS-elements directly aim at the reduction of production costs, which are rather high in alpine and mountainous regions compared with favourable lowland areas. Several studies have been carried out by the Federal research and education centre for agriculture (HBLFA) Raumberg-Gumpenstein during the last years to identify different effects of low input farming systems on ecology, economy and socio-economy. The results clearly indicate beneficially effects of LIFS on nutrient fluxes, floristic biodiversity and economy. LIFS not automatically means organic farming but also can be realized on integrated and conventional farms. In Austria the majority of grassland and arable farms follow the principles of LIFS, which are also included in the Austrian agri-environmental program ÖPUL that is highly accepted by the farmers.
Pötsch, E.M. (2007): LIFS & livestock production – grassland and dairy farming in Austria, Low input farming systems: an opportunity to develop sustainable agriculture, JRC Scientific and Technical Reports - Summer University, Ranco, Italy, 33-38 S.