Danish Agriculture - a rural perspective. – University of Copenhagen

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Danish Agriculture - a rural perspective. 

Denmark is in many ways still an agricultural nationstate, with around 60% of the territory used by farmers and 20% of the export based on agricultural products.

But Danish farmers are in a precarious situation, the accumulated debt has reached a level where the maintenance of the existing production-capacity and further investment in new technology has become the exception. In order to achieve a feasible and competitive production, the sector is slowly but surely being centralized around a relative small number of mega-farms. These large farms however have yet to prove that a more viable economy can be achieved by centralizing the food-production. In fact some studies show that medium-sized farms have a much better economy.
Meanwhile the structural conditions are being remodelled by the political and financial interests, creating a legal framework that not only favors the largest farms but virtually strangles the smaller and mediumsized farmers. This policy is in conflict with the articulated interest of the EU and the agricultural subsidies, expressed in the concept: Multifunctional agriculture. There are other local interests in the rural districts that should be considered when supporting a specific development: The social, cultural, demographical and ecological impact the different farm-methods and foodproduction-configurations contain.
This Ph.d.-project aims to study the current situation in Danish agriculture in view of the prevalent, but conflicting interpretations of the conditions, obstacles and potentials in the sector. Investigating these conditions a central question is posed: What will it take to create conditions in which economically as well as socially and environmentally sustainable modes of productions can be established? Using an updated version of Althusser's Mode-of-production theory, this project will investigate the rural realities surrounding the different sizes, methods and business-models from the perspective of the farmers themselves. The farmers, their financial woes, social environment, cultural marginalization and ability to reproduce their life-form and mode-of-production in the face of globalization and a new 'sustainability-agenda', will be at the heart of this project.