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A Return of the Threshing Ring? Motivations, Benefits and Challenges of Machinery and Labor Sharing Arrangements


  • Artz, Georgeanne M.
  • Colson, Gregory J.
  • Ginder, Roger


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Artz, Georgeanne M. & Colson, Gregory J. & Ginder, Roger, 2009. "A Return of the Threshing Ring? Motivations, Benefits and Challenges of Machinery and Labor Sharing Arrangements," Staff General Research Papers Archive 13065, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:13065

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Harris, Andrea & Fulton, Murray E., 2000. "Farm Machinery Co-Operatives: An Idea Worth Sharing," Miscellaneous Publications 31762, University of Saskatchewan, Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.
    2. Foreman, Linda F., 2006. "Characteristics and Production Costs of U.S. Corn Farms, 2001," Economic Information Bulletin 7205, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    3. Sunding, David & Zilberman, David, 2001. "The agricultural innovation process: Research and technology adoption in a changing agricultural sector," Handbook of Agricultural Economics,in: B. L. Gardner & G. C. Rausser (ed.), Handbook of Agricultural Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 207-261 Elsevier.
    4. Artz, Georgeanne M. & Edwards, William & Olson, Frayne, 2009. "Farm Machinery & Labor Sharing Manual," Staff General Research Papers Archive 34482, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    5. Hall, Bronwyn H. & Khan, Beethika, 2003. "Adoption of New Technology," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3wg4p528, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    6. Fulton, Murray E. & Harris, Andrea, 2000. "The Cuma Farm Machinery Co-Operatives," Miscellaneous Publications 31774, University of Saskatchewan, Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.
    7. McBride, William D., 2003. "Production Costs Critical to Farming Decisions," Amber Waves, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Feil, Jan-Henning & Anastassiadis, Friederike & Mußhoff, Oliver & Kasten, Philipp, 2015. "Analysing farmers' preferences for collaborative arrangements: an experimental approach," 55th Annual Conference, Giessen, Germany, September 23-25, 2015 209195, German Association of Agricultural Economists (GEWISOLA).

    More about this item


    machinery sharing; skilled farm labor; productivity; farm-level cooperations;

    JEL classification:

    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General

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