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Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/86

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN DENMARK

estates and known commercially as 'estate butter'. Some special improvements for dairy work, such as cream separators, etc., had been introduced on the large farms, especially after 1870. Attempts in various places were made at establishing private collecting dairies which received the milk from the neighbourhood and tried to obtain a uniform product. But the projectors of these establishments found many difficulties in their way. They had no control over the persons who contracted to supply the milk and often found them lacking in cleanliness. Moreover, it was difficult for them to dispose of the skim-milk and butter-milk; and then, too, there were added difficulties of transportation. Many of the private dairies consequently had to close down, and then it was that the co-operative movement was started, the first co-operative dairy having been opened in 1882 in a village in Jutland. In the co-operative system all persons who furnished milk ran the same risk and were jointly and severally liable, and profits were divided in proportion to the amount of milk delivered by each of the co-operators. The system was surprisingly successful, and it was not long before it was in operation all over the country. In 1909 there were 1,157 co-operative dairies, as compared with 238 collecting dairies and 90 estate dairies. Of all the cows in Denmark only one-sixth were outside of the co-operative dairies.

The co-operative association pays the current price for all the milk delivered to it, and the individual members take over the skim-milk and buttermilk at a fixed price which is often very low. Accounts are balanced at short intervals, a certain sum being held over as a contribution toward the defrayal of operating expenses. At the close of the financial year the considerable surplus is divided among the members in proportion to the amount of milk each has delivered, regard being taken to the percentage of butter fat.

The difficulty of procuring the necessary funds for buildings, machinery and initial operating expenses was overcome with comparative ease by that principle of solidarity which seems