Business Organization and Coordination in Marketing Specialty Hogs: A Comparative Analysis of Two Firms from Iowa

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2005-11-01
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Hueth, Brent
Ibarburu, Maro
Kliebenstein, James
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Center for Agricultural and Rural Development

The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) conducts innovative public policy and economic research on agricultural, environmental, and food issues. CARD uniquely combines academic excellence with engagement and anticipatory thinking to inform and benefit society.

CARD researchers develop and apply economic theory, quantitative methods, and interdisciplinary approaches to create relevant knowledge. Communication efforts target state and federal policymakers; the research community; agricultural, food, and environmental groups; individual decision-makers; and international audiences.

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We study business organization and coordination of specialty-market hog production using a comparative analysis of two Iowa pork niche-marketing firms. We describe and analyze each firm's management of five key organizational challenges: planning and logistics, quality assurance, process verification and management of "credence attributes," business structure, and profit sharing. Although each firm is engaged in essentially the same activity, there are substantial differences across the two firms in the way production and marketing are coordinated. These differences are partly explained by the relative size and age of each firm, thus highlighting the importance of organizational evolution in agricultural markets, but are also partly the result of a formal organizational separation between marketing and production activities in one of the firms.

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