Due to the increasing demand for high-quality food in China, less profitable grain production is also adequate to meet the economic conditions of newly formed farmers cooperatives. This study aims to clarify the management situation and characteristics of grain farmers cooperatives through case studies. Four farmers cooperatives of different founder types and producing high-quality wheat in Henan Province were chosen for this study. Traditional farmlands that engage in small-scale and fragmented grain production are unsuitable for high-quality wheat production. Due to the high market price, a large number of small-scale farmers joined high-quality wheat farmers cooperatives. The cooperatives instructed the small-scale farmers to consolidate their land and unify the entire process of cultivation and sales to meet high-quality wheat production requirements. However, several small-scale farmers made minimal financial contributions to the cooperatives. Moreover, management was dominated by founders who lease land to small-scale farmers at high rental rates. From the perspective of farmland use, farmers cooperatives are characterized by both a farm cooperative with many farmer members and a large-scale farming entity controlled by founders.
This research aims to clarify the function of “non-collaborative” community-based group farming at a paddy field area in Tohoku through a case study. A strong sense of trust and a firm relationship were established among the group’s members, and the group functioned as a “place” to secure future labor force for family farms and regional agriculture. Although “non-collaborative” community-based group farming is at its nascent stage, it has historical significance in terms of being able to provide sustainability to family farms and regional agriculture.
In Tokachi region in Hokkaido, farmland management scale is expanding due to the increasing frequency of farmland abandonment, and agriculture based on farmland consolidation is advancing. The management scale per farming household has now reached 30 ha. Given the above circumstances, the purpose of this study was to clarify the features of farmland fluidization at the village level in Tokachi region. The study subjects were two villages in Otofuke Town: M village, where medium-scale management predominates（approx. 30 ha/household）， and K village, where large-scale management predominates （approx. 50 ha/household）． Because there is an increasing frequency of farmland abandonment, the adjustment of farmland fluidization by village function is performed, and priority is placed on neighboring farmers and small-scale farmers. On one hand, in M village, the enlargement of management scale is given priority because the average management area of constituent farmers is small. Therefore, farmers can acquire rights to subdivided farmland. On the other hand, in K village, because the average management area of constituent farmers is large, relatively small-scale farmers are given priority in farmland acquisition while taking farmland consolidation into consideration. This way, farmland adjustment by village is performed according to the conditions of each village with the aim of promoting coexistence among constituent farmers. In such regions, farmland adjustment is taking place, and large-scale agriculture based on farmland consolidation is expected in the future.
In economics, “economies of scale” is one of the basic ideas, which means that larger production leads to cost reduction. This logic lends itself well to rice farming, whose cultivation process is highly mechanized. However, in apple farming, which involves a number of manual processes, it is said that profitability is not increased by enhancing productivity. Therefore, it is also believed that middle-sized apple orchards are more productive and profitable than large ones. After the last half of 1980s, some labor-saving technological changes were introduced in apple farming. The aim of this study was to confirm whether middle-sized apple orchards still have the highest productivity and profitability in spite of those changes, based on research conducted in Souma Village, where the average orchard size managed by one family farm is the largest in Japan. The following results were obtained. First, we divided the target orchards into five types: “under 1 ha,” “1~2 ha,” “2~3 ha,” “3~5 ha,” and “over 5 ha.” Of these, the 3~5 ha orchards have the highest productivity and profitability. Regarding management characteristics, it was clarified that in the 3~5 ha orchards, the reliance on hired workers is greater, whereas the reliance on labor-intensive work is less. Furthermore, only the 3~5 ha orchard farmers can make a living by producing apples only. As we can regard 3~5 ha as middle-sized, we conclude that middle-sized orchards are superior to the orchards of other sizes, and the farmers of those orchards will be the core apple farmers in the future.