Farm machinery cooperatives

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Munken, Pirsenteret


Véronique Lucas
Véronique Lucas

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− Véronique LUCAS, UMR Innovation (INRA-SAD), Montpellier (France),
− Terry MARSDEN, Sustainable Place Research Institute, Cardiff University (UK)

This working group aims to facilitate the emergence of scholarly collaborations on the following topic: the place-based modes of cooperation and sharing organized by farmers and contributing to the agroecological innovation. This will engage with the first and third themes of the conference by focusing on the innovative potential of these new forms of collaboration for the agroecological transition, as well as by debating the needed conditions for their development, especially trough adequate public policies. Indeed, we plan to dedicate the last session of this working group to the structuring of a joint publication to highlight the needed policy tools able to favour these place-based modes of cooperation and sharing among farmers for the agroecological innovation.

Farmers currently create or renew place-based modes of cooperation or sharing to face challenges such as deregulated markets, climate change, degradation of the ecological
basis, increasing requirements for market segmentation, environmental regulations, etc. These aim to reduce their costs, diversify their activities, organize new outlets, facilitate
intergenerational farm transfer and make better use of their resource, such as the ecological functionalities of the agroecosystem. Among these innovative local forms of cooperation and sharing contributing to the agroecological transition, we can find the following examples: farm machinery cooperatives, community manure digester, multiple forms of labour sharing and venture to share hired workers, collaborative catchment management, collective investment in facilities for processing and marketing, environmental cooperatives, cross-farm arrangements for crop-livestock integration, networks of experience sharing and experimentation, collective organization to produce renewable energy, etc.

This working group wishes to consider the current reconfigurations and innovations among the place-based modes of cooperation and sharing organized by farmers, in order to debate their transformative potentials and needed conditions to help strengthen their development for contributing to the agroecological transition.

Indeed, an increasing literature is focusing on new forms of collaboration between farmers and non-agricultural actors such as these ones developed to organize new food circuits, or on new modes of knowledge sharing between distant farmers, for instance through digitization. However, few works are dedicated to site-specific forms of cooperation among farmers, as well as to material resources sharing facilitating the agroecological improvement of the farming systems.

We expect papers dealing on this topic and addressing the following questions: Which individual and contextual conditions allow the emergence of such forms of innovative cooperation and sharing among farmers? Which issues need further exploration by research to help strengthen their development? Which kind of policy tools and community support could favour them?
How to facilitate the involvement of a wider diversity of farmers in such collaborative initiatives?

We propose to organize several sessions to present and discuss papers, with a final session to debate about a proposed plan of a joint publication highlighting the needed changes and policy tools able to favour these place-based modes of cooperation and sharing among farmers for the agroecological innovation.