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Abstract

The paper argues that co-operativism in Danish agriculture represents both continuity and strong changes from the start of the movement as the economic branch of a comprehensive social and political movement to the large agro-industrial enterprises of today, and that co-operativism still is a necessary tool for both large scale production and for innovation within the agro-industrial sector. After a short description of the role of co-operative thinking and organising in the Danish context historically, the paper presents a statistical overview of the current position of co-operative societies in Danish agriculture on the background of the structural changes that have occurred in primary agriculture and agro-industry during the last generation and a half. The third section presents historical conditions and experiences of co-operativism that have paved the way for the characteristics of the current relation between agriculture and co-operativism. Finally, challenges to this relation are discussed in the context of market trends within the established sectors and new areas of agricultural activities – using the example of organic production.

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