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Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/87

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CO-OPERATIVE DAIRIES

natural to the rural population, especially in small communities where the inhabitants all know one another. The members of each dairy association contracted to remain in it for a specified length of time; and its large membership was a good guarantee of its solvency. As a rule the loans are quickly repaid, so that the risk assumed by individual members is never very large. Generally the time soon comes when the members can get interest-carrying co-operative securities in the existing capital in proportion to the milk delivered. The constitutions of the corporations are simple, each member generally having but one vote, whatever the size of his holding and his contribution of milk.

The co-operative dairies have been of great value to Danish agriculture in that they have made farming an industrial enterprise involving the use of machinery. The superiority of estate butter to peasant butter consequently no longer exists, and the butter of all co-operative dairies, whether it comes from large, medium-sized or small holdings, has equal rating in the foreign market. The exportation of live-stock and meat has reacted upon the dairies in a manner greatly to their advantage, partly because all cows unsuited for milk production are at once profitably disposed of, and partly because the by-products of the dairies are in demand for hog-raising. In certain respects the co-operative dairies give the owners of small holdings the advantage of working on a large scale, while, on the other hand, much work that is better suited for small holdings is handled by individuals.

The development of this movement has not been entirely without social drawbacks. Farmers of earlier generations were naturally more or less liberal with their milk, whereas now they are tempted to count every ounce. But the consequent decline in gifts or payments in kind to their hands is more than balanced by the indubitable rise in wages.

The co-operation of the Danish farmers in dairy work led, of course, to other similar developments. Local associations were formed which, in 1899, were consolidated under the name of the Co-operative Danish Dairy Associations. The