Agricultural Cooperation

Agricultural Cooperation: Selected Readings

MARTIN A. ABRAHAMSEN
CLAUD L. SCROGGS
Copyright Date: 1963
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 592
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttt5r7
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Agricultural Cooperation
    Book Description:

    Much has been written and published on the general subject of agricultural cooperation, but the material has been scattered and hard to find until now. The volume makes available in convenient form a selection of the most significant articles and excerpts from books, magazines, pamphlets, and other publications. It provides a comprehensive view of the development of farmers’ cooperatives in the United States and an evaluation of their relation to the present economy. The 54 articles are by 49 different contributors from various branches of cooperative activity. Among them are professors of agricultural economies, government research experts n agricultural cooperation, officers and members of cooperative organizations, as well as government officials including former Secretary of Agriculture Clinton P. Anderson and Senators Paul H. Douglas and George D. Aiken. J. K. Stern, president of the American Institute of Cooperation, contributes a foreword. The articles deal significantly with such broad subjects as the economic and social forces that have shaped te development of cooperatives, the place of cooperative organizations in helping to meet the present-day needs of agriculture, and the role of these farmer-owned businesses in the nation’s economy.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6110-7
    Subjects: Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. ix-x)
    J. K. Stern

    The American Institute of Cooperation long has felt the need for a book of readings that would highlight the more important characteristics of farmer cooperatives as they have been described by writers through the years. To understand the nature of these business enterprises, it is necessary to know something about their history and the philosophy that has contributed to their distinctive features as we recognize them today. It seems important, too, that such a book should pinpoint the way in which farmer cooperatives fit into the present-day economy. Moreover, it should critically appraise their contributions to the economic and social...

  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. I. The Emergence of the Cooperative Institution

    • 1 Historical Highlights
      (pp. 3-56)
      CLAUD L. SCROGGS

      Cooperative endeavor of some type has been practiced among farmers since the pioneer days. The early settlers frequently exchanged labor with their neighbors, and whole communities pitched in to help a newcomer get established. Many of the difficult farm tasks, such as barnraising, logrolling, stump-pulling, and cornhusking, were accomplished through neighborly cooperation. However demanding the work at hand may have been, the participating neighbors often found in these projects a convenient occasion for social, educational, and religious activities. In the colonies of New England this informal type of social cooperation enveloped areas that became townships, and political matters entered into...

    • 2 Cooperative Objectives Defined
      (pp. 57-82)

      The objectives of cooperatives are many and varied. Most students in the United States look upon these associations primarily as economic agencies. Even then — depending upon their experience and training — they often are poles apart as to what they think should be the basic objectives of these associations.

      Some look on cooperatives largely as having a “balance wheel” or “yardstick” role in the economy. Others prefer to emphasize their antimonopoly nature. Some view them as purely capitalistic instruments. Others see in them a means for keeping “transgressing capitalists” on the “straight and narrow.” In most instances the objectives...

    • 3 Sociological and Spiritual Interpretations
      (pp. 83-100)

      While Americans have been prone to consider cooperatives primarily as an economic institution, some students go much further. To them, the sociological and spiritual implications deserve special emphasis. While recognizing the importance of economic objectives, they look upon such objectives largely as a means to an end — and that is a more equitably organized society. They consider the behavior patterns of individuals and look upon cooperatives as a vehicle for social and spiritual betterment. They think that the contributions of cooperatives to a better life may far outweigh the cold and impersonal economic gains that largely have come to...

    • 4 Philosophical Probings
      (pp. 101-119)

      As the aims and objectives of cooperative endeavor became formalized, it was only natural that a broader philosophical framework should unfold. In general, philosophical explanations of cooperative effort have developed along two lines. These have been described as: (1) “reformist” and (2) “evolutionary.” The ideas of Robert Owen and the Webbs usually are placed in the first group. In the second are substantially all present-day American writers who look upon cooperatives as an economic agency — even though of a distinct type. It is from among this group that writings are selected for this chapter.

      Professor Frank Robotka, well-known cooperative...

    • 5 Suggested Theoretical Explanations
      (pp. 120-159)

      Cooperatives in the United States, E. G. Nourse remarks elsewhere in this book (p. 161), are “long on practice and short on theory.” While it is true that many associations have held steadfast to the Rochdale principles as their “Magna Charta,” others have raised discerning questions. Thus, during a hundred years of experimentation and trial and error, dissenters have appeared on the scene. To some it appears that basic differences exist in theoretical explanations. To others many of the Rochdale principles are nothing that good operating practices would not have dictated for any kind of business establishment — cooperative or...

    • 6 Principles Become Established
      (pp. 160-204)

      Students of cooperation have not reached agreement as to the basic principles of these organizations. For slightly over a century, on a trial and error basis, they have attempted to develop a rational guide for operations. Their first efforts often consisted of a mixture of principles and practices. Many of the latter have application to all business activities — cooperative as well as other types of business.

      Perhaps the most outstanding article dealing with cooperative principles is the first reading in this section, by Edwin G. Nourse. Developed some thirty-five years ago under the title, “The Economic Philosophy of Cooperation,”...

  5. II. Cooperatives in the Modern Economy

    • 7 Policy Developments
      (pp. 207-224)
      MARTIN A. ABRAHAMSEN

      A number of interested groups in the United States have established policies favorable to farmer cooperatives. These policies have been the outgrowth of close association between cooperatives and leaders in education, government, and business. In some instances the ideas that have unfolded have developed into formalized written documents. In others they constitute informal understanding between these leaders and the groups concerned.

      Development of cooperative policy has taken place in federal and state levels of government and in organized farm groups. For over fifty years the federal government has conducted a continuous program of assistance on problems of farmer cooperatives. Through...

    • 8 Legislative Bench Marks
      (pp. 225-268)

      Legislative developments in agricultural cooperation as a general rule have lagged behind actual operating practices in the United States. Notwithstanding this situation, it is nearly a hundred years since the first act providing for the organization of cooperative associations was enacted in the state of New York. This was followed by other state acts that specifically took cognizance of various kinds of agricultural cooperatives. By 1895 a state law in California recognized nonstock associations. The widely publicized Wisconsin law of 1911 authorized the establishment of stock cooperatives in that state. In the fifteen years that followed, all states except Delaware...

    • 9 Cooperative Relations: Conflicts and Harmonies
      (pp. 269-332)

      The relations between cooperative organizations and between cooperatives and other groups pose many interesting problems. These relationships primarily concern agricultural (producer) and urban (consumer) cooperatives. Taken a step further, they also include the actual conflicts that occur in operating practices — conflicts that may center on the degree of integration desired by producer and consumer associations or on the extent to which cooperatives in either of these classifications compete with each other for membership and business. Relations with groups other than cooperatives — general farm organizations and various business and industrial units — complete the over-all picture of cooperative relationships...

    • 10 Cooperatives and Other Businesses
      (pp. 333-355)

      People generally are not well informed of the many similarities and, differences existent between cooperatives and the other more familiar forms of business organization. Moreover, the charges that from time to time have been made against cooperatives suggest that misunderstandings are often grounded upon the numerous misconceptions and prejudices that prevail among farm and city people alike. Nor has the role of these cooperative organizations in a “free-enterprise” economy been properly appreciated.

      That the establishment of cooperatives as an integral part of the nation’s economy has not been without conflict is indicated by Joseph G. Knapp in his article, “Some...

    • 11 Framework for Integration
      (pp. 356-380)

      Important developments governing the size and scope of cooperative organizations can be interpreted largely in terms of the economic environment in which these establishments operate. In an era characterized by the trend toward large-scale enterprise and concentration and control by business agencies, it is only natural that farmers should turn to their cooperatives as a countervailing force to help them in dealing with these large combinations. This attempt to meet competition has focused attention on the degree of horizontal and vertical integration that has been reached by cooperative associations.

      An attempt to explain the economic basis for integration by cooperatives...

    • 12 Integration Applied
      (pp. 381-418)

      The development of large-scale regional associations — either on a centralized basis or as federations of local marketing and purchasing cooperatives — illustrates how integration among cooperatives works in actual practice. The establishment of federations of regional purchasing associations for joint effort in manufacturing and processing — petroleum refining, feed mixing, and fertilizer manufacturing — is another step in the integration of business operations. Along similiar lines, marketing cooperatives have established numerous large-scale processing and sales associations. Cooperative leaders, as a result, are faced with practical decisions relating to the extent to which they should follow their products through various...

  6. III. Evaluation and Appraisal

    • 13 Place of the Cooperative Institution
      (pp. 421-445)

      To help understand the role of cooperatives in our society, it is desirable to examine many of the views that characterize modern cooperative thought and practice. Some people tend to look on cooperatives as strictly a type of business agency; others view them as a desirable “middle way” in the economic arena of our free-enterprise system. Considerable conjecture exists on such matters as how large a place and the kind of place that farmer cooperatives ought to occupy in our society. These questions also call attention to the desirability of examining the cooperative claim of setting the pace for other...

    • 14 Business Performance
      (pp. 446-483)

      An Institution as widely diversified as agricultural cooperation includes its full share of failures and successes. The reasons for these failures and successes should be understood by both cooperative leaders and the general public. The performance of farmers’ cooperatives needs the benefit of sympathetic yet critical appraisal. Only through such appraisal can the changes necessary to bring about improvement in operations and service be introduced.

      In their article, “Failures of Farmers’ Cooperatives,” Raymond W. Miller, former president of the American Institute of Cooperation and more recently visiting lecturer on business administration, Harvard University, and Ladru Jensen, professor of law at...

    • 15 The Role of Research
      (pp. 484-512)

      Research is becoming an increasingly important tool for cooperative management in policymaking. In their early years local cooperatives developed in response to basic needs and the devotion and inspiration of rural leadership. With the march of economic events, however, those associations that continue in the lead as pace-setters are coming to accept research as an integral part of their operations.

      This chapter is restricted to a selection of writings pertaining to business (economic, marketing, and related disciplines) research. Such research is a function of federal and state agencies, large regional co-operatives, and in some instances, private research firms.

      Cooperatives are...

    • 16 Social and Economic Betterment
      (pp. 513-542)

      Some students of cooperation look upon the cooperative as a “business plus” type of operation. While recognizing that these associations must first of all make a success as business establishments, they believe that the impacts of the cooperative reach far beyond the immediate and tangible benefits implied by additional money in the patron’s pocketbook. Depending on personal biases, background, and training, people interested in cooperation often are poles apart as to what they believe a cooperative should contribute to its members and the community. In most instances their views tend to express the prevailing, sometimes conflicting, economic and social philosophies...

  7. NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 543-548)
  8. Appendixes

    • APPENDIX A. AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF COOPERATION
      (pp. 551-552)
    • APPENDIX B. THE COOPERATIVE LEAGUE
      (pp. 553-554)
    • APPENDIX C. THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF FARMER COOPERATIVES
      (pp. 555-557)
    • APPENDIX D. NATIONAL COOPERATIVE ORGANIZATIONS
      (pp. 558-560)
    • APPENDIX E. GENERAL FARM ORGANIZATIONS
      (pp. 561-562)
  9. Index
    (pp. 563-576)