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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
([1937])

VI. Cooperation in Denmark,   pp. 48-59 PDF (3.5 MB)


Page 51


movements in any other country. According to statistics for 1921, 11.17 per
cent of the population in Denmark held membership in the cooperative stores
as against 9.86 per cent in Finland and 9.48 in England and Scotland, the
birth place of the cooperative stores.
    In 1982 there were 1,815 cooperative consumers' societies with 320,000
members. Of this number 1,722 societies, with 294,000 members, or 92 per
cent of the total membership, was in the rural communities. These 1,816 co-
operative consumers' store societies embrace approximately 42 per cent of
Denmark's households.
    Cooperation Among Dairy Farmers-The present system of cooperative
marketing among farmers in Denmark started in 1882. Before the adoption of
cooperative marketing, Danish butter was sent to Great Britain, the principal
market, in lots in which were hundreds of batches of ungraded butter. The
Danish farmer found that to place a product successfully on a large market
the product should appear in large quantities and be of uniform grade and
quality.
    The marketing problem confronting the average Danish farmer in the
seventies and early eighties is well illustrated by the experience of a small
farmer on the Jutland Peninsula with a herd of six cows. He sent his butter
to a large Butter Exposition in London and won the first prize. But this
recog-
nition on the world butter market did not give him a higher price for his
small weekly butter production. Like many other individual farmers who sent
only small amounts, he did not receive the top price, regardless of the fact
that he was selling a premium quality butter. His butter was bought by the
local storekeeper and later sent to Great Britain by the exporter in large
lots
In which there were hundreds of batches of ungraded butter, with the result
that the farmer who produced a premium quality butter was not paid a
premnium price but a fiat price based on the average market price for these
lots of ungraded batches of good and poor butter.
    While it Is true that many farmers then produced a high grade butter,
it
is equally true that it was not practical for them to attempt to market individ-
ually their small lots on the British markets. The English trade not only
wanted shipments of butter in large quantities, but they offered higher prices
for shipments that were graded.
    This was a marketing situation that no one but the producer could properly
correct Its solution involved changes in production, assembling and manu-
facturing practices.
    The problem of supplying a lot of quality butter of a standard grade
had
to be solved by beginning at the point of production. This the Danish farm-
ers did by the establishment of the cooperative creameries through the agri-
cultural districts, where the entire milk production of the community is
as-
sembled and manufactured into a standardized quality product so It can be
properly merchandised.
    The first cooperative creamery in Denmark was founded in 1882. It was
established on a sound economic basis and effected some distinct improve-
ments, such as the assembling and manufacturing of a quality product stand-
ardised as to grade and pack at the point of production. This made it posai-
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