F1: Cooperative movement
(The Danish way of handling challenges)
1813: Denmark as a state went bankrupt. The answer: OK, we are pure, we shall not also be dum! By law it became mandatory for all children to be educated.
1844: The first Folk High School opened. Youngsters from rural areas took half a year of, lived at the schools, studied Danish language, mathematics, national and world history etc. Many went home and became inspirators in their local societies.
1849: The King stepped some steps down. We got a relatively free constitution.
1864: Denmark lost a war and one third of its land to Germany. The answer was to cultivate huge more areas in Jutland: What we lost, must be taken back at home. (After World War One the northern part of the lost land “went Home” after a referendum.)
Farmer owned DLF Seeds holds about on third of the World market for grass and clower seed and are still based on the ideas from Anders Nielsen – 1859 – 1928
1870 and decades forward: Due to American railways and steam ships Northern Europe was overflown with cheap grain from the US prairies. Danish and Swedish farmers formed the World’s first ag coops -dairies from 1881/82, farm supply cooperatives from 1883 and slaughter houses from 1887. 20 years later Denmark had 1.300 dairy coops – and LURPAK, a similar number of farm supply coops and dozens of farmer owned slaughter houses – and DANISH PORK. UK became the first major market. Coops for clower and grass seed, production of cement, fur, potatoes and banks followed. Talking about dairy, pork, poultry, seed, potatoes and fur the famer owned companies today hold market shares all together of about 90 percent. The producers take the profit, not shareholders. The coop history’s main figure is Anders Nielsen. Come with us and hear about him and his wife Kirstine and more than 200.000 farms at their time.
Today: Less than 10.000 full time farmers produce high quality food for close to 20 million people. 75 percent is exported. The hundreds of local coops have merged into huge companies, many of them working internationally. They still meet challenges with innovation.