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University of Wisconsin. College of Agriculture. Dept. of Agricultural Economics / Cooperation principles and practices: the application of cooperation to the assembling, processing and marketing of farm products, to the purchase of farm supplies and consumers' goods and to credit and insurance

VII. Agricultural cooperation in Switzerland,   pp. 60-66 PDF (1.9 MB)

Page 60

      S WITZERLAND can be considered the cradle of coopera-
      *)   tion. Here in the Alps farmers found it expedient to
            cooperate in most every line of farm business en-
      deavor. Today there are more than 12,000 local organiza-
      tions in this small country with an average of about 55
      members to each association. Many of the local associations
      are federated into cantonal groups and the latter in turn
      into national federations. Dairying is the keystone. of the
      cooperative movement. In the export sale of cheese the
      cooperatives have worked successfully with private corpora-
      tions in obtaining better distribution and in stabilizing
      markets. Competent leadership has been one of the out-
      standing reasons for the pronounced success of cooperation
      in this country.
      THE SWISS farmer is a cooperator. Few nations except Denmark have
 produced his equal in that respect. There are, on the average, slightly
 than nine memberships in agricultural business cooperatives and farmers'
 organizations for every farim in Switzerland. This large number is in part
 explained by the fact that many local associations and cooperatives are
 ated into cantonal or state groups, and the cantonal groups may in turn
 united into national federations. This process multiplies the membership.
 The other part of the explanation is that many growers belong to a num-
 ber of different organizations. There are few things which the Swiss farmer
 does not do cooperatively.
    Extent of Cooperation in Switzerland-A survey made in 1980 showed
12,160 local organizations with a membership of 671,684, an average of 55
members to the local. In addition to these locals there were 484 cantonal
national associations. Some of these are federations of locals and others
are separate organization with which members are aRllated directly. The
cantonal and national groups have 1,582,324 members. In all, there are 12,644
associations with a combined membership of 2,254,008. This membership,
divided by the number of farms--286,9O0-is the basis for calculating the
average number of memberships per farm-over nine.
    The activities of these associations range all the way from local welfare
groups having no financial interest to the highly capitalistic business of
manufacturing, marketing, and exporting. The membership of the 12,044
associations was divided in 1930 among the following groups of organizations.

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