Networking the Farm The Social Structure of Cooperation and Competition in Iowa Agriculture
Published in 1999, this book presents the results of an ethnographic study of the emergence of co-operative production networks among hog farm workers in Iowa. In it the author assesses both the internal organizational requirements for the successful network formation and the potential for networks to give farmers a competitive edge in the swine industry. Departing from the traditional emphasis on individual decision making in agricultural economies and economic anthropology, this book emphasizes instead the institutional setting in which such networks are formed. The author argues that networks succeed when they are closely tied to and reflective of local social structure. Those networks that attempt to employ a master plan designed by experts often fail. Although many succesful networks exist, networking has yet to achieve the economic clout enjoyed by large scale corporate swine producers. The author describes the availability of credit for new swine production ventures in Iowa and shows the extent to which large scale producers have developed network-like connections with banks, packers, and contract producers.
1. Introduction 2. Economies and Farmers: An Overview 3. Case Studies of Two Networks 4. Case Studies of Other Networks 5. A Model of Cooperation: Networks and Social Structure 6. The Changing Nature of Swine Production in Iowa 7. A Model of Competition: The Structure of Credit in Iowa’s Swine Industry 8. Extending the Models.