A return of the threshing ring? Motivations, benefits and challenges of machinery and labor sharing arrangements

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2009-05-05
Authors
Colson, Gregory
Ginder, Roger
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Economics

The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 to teach economic theory as a truth of industrial life, and was very much concerned with applying economics to business and industry, particularly agriculture. Between 1910 and 1967 it showed the growing influence of other social studies, such as sociology, history, and political science. Today it encompasses the majors of Agricultural Business (preparing for agricultural finance and management), Business Economics, and Economics (for advanced studies in business or economics or for careers in financing, management, insurance, etc).

History
The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 under the Division of Industrial Science (later College of Liberal Arts and Sciences); it became co-directed by the Division of Agriculture in 1919. In 1910 it became the Department of Economics and Political Science. In 1913 it became the Department of Applied Economics and Social Science; in 1924 it became the Department of Economics, History, and Sociology; in 1931 it became the Department of Economics and Sociology. In 1967 it became the Department of Economics, and in 2007 it became co-directed by the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Business.

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1898–present

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  • Department of Economic Science (1898–1910)
  • Department of Economics and Political Science (1910-1913)
  • Department of Applied Economics and Social Science (1913–1924)
  • Department of Economics, History and Sociology (1924–1931)
  • Department of Economics and Sociology (1931–1967)

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Abstract

Cooperative approaches provide an alternative for small- and medium-sized producers to obtain the efficiencies of large farming operations and remain competitive in an increasingly concentrated agricultural industry. This article examines the motivation and effectiveness of equipment and labor sharing arrangements in the Midwestern US. Case study evidence shows that in addition to cost savings, access to skilled, seasonal labor is an important motivation for farm-level cooperation. Key factors identified for successful cooperative agreements include compatibility of operations and members' willingness to communicate and adapt. Sharing resources is found to improve farm profitability, efficiency and farmers' quality of life.

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