Expansion of Joint Farming in Norway: Coping Strategies by Milk Farmers in Harsh Times Reidar Almås Frank Egil Holm Egil Petter Straete Centre for Rural Research Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim, Norway
CRR staff 2006 • CRR has a multidisciplinary social science staff • 27 researchers, trained in sociology, geography, business economics, social anthropology, agronomy and fisheries,.. • Participation in research networks and comparative projects in the Nordic countries and the rest of Europe. • International co-operation is enhanced by inviting foreign visiting researchers to CRR and by own scholars going abroad.
Facts about Norway • Stretching 2 650 km from south to north • Population: 4,6 million • 323,800 square km (14 persons per square km) • Most of countryside populated, but sparsely • 75 percent urban versus 25 percent rural • 1,04 million ha (3%) of area is under agricultural cultivation • Small scale farm structure • “Modern” and “affluent” countryside • Member of EES, not EU
Norwegian agriculture • Agriculture 2 percent of GNP • About 53 000 farmers, 66 000 man-years (2005) • 22 000 seasonal workers, mainly from Poland and Lithuania • Average farm size: 19 hectares • Average dairy producer: 15 milk cattle • 50% of all landbased food calories produced in Norway • Pluriactiviy
Norwegian agricultural policies 1950s - Productivist ideals of modernisation • Techno-scientific development • Protectionist, state in control 1970s – Income and welfare policy • Income equality, relief service • Gender equalisation in succession 1980s - Greening of agriculture • Sustainable agriculture and starting organic orientation • Involvement in international trade negotiations (Uruguay Round) By the end of the 1990s • International pressure through EEA with EU (1994) and WTO (1995) • Green liberalism • Reducing protectionism (slowly) After 2000 • Doha Round of WTO, further reduction of protectionism • Diversification in production, green services
The Norwegian model of joint farming? • Two or more dairy farmers putting their resources together • A new start from the early 1960s • A model based on of how much labour, land, buildings and machines they put in • Farm ownership still individual • After a rapid growth in the mid 1970s, the number of joint farming enterprises reached 120 around 1980
The turn-around of 1975 • Support to small-scale farming • Farm relief service during holidays and vacations • Political goal to increase the average farm income to the same level as industrial workers in six years • Years of escalation (1976-82) • Farm subsidies were changed in ways that were unfavourable to the group farms • No change when social democrats were ousted by conservatives in 1982
1986: The new international agenda • 1986: the Uruguay Round of GATT • Change of national agenda of farm politics into an international one • Early 1990s: a market oriented reform of agricultural policies were launched • Because of the milk quota system, these structural changes were not easily accomplished in the dairy sector • From the mid 1990s a new growth of joint dairy farming started • This is a major organisational innovation of Norwegian dairy farming, which in the long run may re-structure the whole sector
Two data sets • Survey among a representative sample of joint farmers in Norway • Survey among a representative sample of Norwegian farmers
Quick growth! • 1995: 146 • 1998: 320 • 2000: 529 • 2004: 1236 • 2005: 1481 • 2006: 1601 3545 out of 17119 Norwegian dairy farmers are now participating in group farms (more than 20 per cent)
Hypothesis on whom they are • Younger and more educated than average? • Smaller farms? • Expansionists? • ”Risk takers”? • Pro-technology?
Age and education in group farms and outside Age (Mean) Years of ed. Member of a group farm (N = 528) 46,0 11,6 Planning to join a group farm (N = 49) 49,8 12,0 Conventional farm (N = 1474) 50,7 11,8
Future plans next 5 years, production, in % Production inc. Production dec. Member of a group farm 58,3 5,9 Planning to join a group farm 42,0 10,0 Conventional farm 33,7 16,0
Future plans next 5 years- labour, % Increased labour More work outs. Member of a group farm 5,9 21,5 Planning to join a group farm 2,0 28,0 Conventional farm 13,2 20,8
Why does it happen? Individual level: • Cost reduction, need for investment • Safer working environment • More leisure-time, more social acceptable Societal level: • Re-structuration of the dairy sector into larger units • Economies of scale and the need for a modernisation of buildings and machinery.
Coping Strategies • Quit dairy farming (3-5% a year) • Enlargement of private farms through quota by-ups • Amalgamation (buy neighbour land) • Joint farming
Challenges and questions • New relations of cooperation must be developed • New division of labour? • Technological shift: robotization? • New relations to the outside world • Superfluous labour force not counted for