Are Family Farms Inefficient?

David Trammel's picture

Would we be better off to encourage slightly larger multi family co-ops than single family farms?

Small Family Farms Aren’t the Answer - The romance of neoliberal peasant farming blinds us to our collective power

America Loves the Idea of Family Farms. That’s Unfortunate.

There is alot to say for having a shared commons and sharing access to large cost items.

Why couldn't membership in a Grange supply things like crop insurance, emergency labor drafts, rental equipment, etc.?

Sweet Tatorman's picture

Insert the word "small" the answer becomes Yes. The pie chart graphic in the first linked article pretty much tells the story. I find myself pretty much in agreement with the authors of both linked articles. BTW, some of the links within the second article concerning the Hutterites make for interesting reading. The farms operated by the Hutterite colonies can be viewed as large extended family farms but operated very much like the corporate farm model.

The classic problem with cooperative groups is who's in charge? Who does the work? Who's going to freeload and then demand their share at suppertime?

A group that can't agree on what gets done and when -- particularly the nasty jobs -- will fall apart in short order.
The Hutterites have a strong religious component and they don't encourage everyone to be ultra-individualistic. Those people who cannot get along with everyone else, leave. Yet I bet they still have problem members who do not get discussed with outsiders.