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Rural services groups - profitable additional income for farmers

Many farmers possess skills and agricultural equipment that can be of great value for the local communities in which they live. The Royal Norwegian Society for Development saw the potential in farmers grouping together to supply various services, and today rural services groups have an annual turnover in excess of 200 million kroner.

Project background

A rural services group is a cooperative that organises farmers’ supplementary work. These businesses take on jobs for local authorities, companies, private individuals and others. Services can range from snow clearing, transport, building and maintenance work to caretaking, stand-in work and consultancy. The idea came originally from Sweden but was introduced into Norway in 1992 with considerable input from the Royal Norwegian Society for Development.

About the project

Ever since its beginnings in 1992, the Royal Norwegian Society for Development has contributed to the processes around the establishment of rural services groups. Slowly but surely the number has increased, until today there are over 70 groups around the country. The cooperative structure makes it possible for each farmer to be self-employed while the group nevertheless performs to the outside world as a single unit. Contributing to good organisation and agreements in each rural services group has been an important task for the Royal Norwegian Society for Development.

Our contribution and role

  • Encouraging the establishment of rural services groups
  • Active advisory services for newly-established rural services groups
  • Established umbrella organisation Bygdeservice Norge SA
  • Led the Secretariat for Bygdeservice Norge until 2009
  • Compiled handbook for establishing rural services groups
     

Results

The Royal Norwegian Society for Development established the umbrella organisation Bygdeservice Norge SA. Over 70 rural services groups have been organised under this umbrella. The turnover of the rural services groups has increased and the average annual income per farm is now 240 000 kroner. This is on top of the income derived from the farms themselves and thus forms an important additional income stream for farmers. In all, the rural services industry had a turnover of 229 million kroner in 2012.

Contact us

Kari Clausen, Director of national development

Mobile: +47 915 53 501 
Email: kari.clausen@norgesvel.no

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Rural services groups