Institutional Change in Germany’s Farmers Associations: Impacts of the Dairy Conflict

Jan Alpmann, Vera Bitsch


The abolishment of the milk quota, increasing fluctuation in milk prices and further economic and emotional factors resulted in the so called dairy conflict. The paper focuses specifically on the conflict between the German Farmers’ Association and the Federal Dairy Farmers Association resulting in two milk delivery strikes as culmination points within the conflict. Objectives of the study were to analyze the main conflict indicators, the conflict pattern and the process of change in the agricultural association structure in Germany. The basic methodology is a qualitative research approach. Main data collection methods are in-depth interviews and qualitative document analysis. Results show a high cross-linking between the abolishment of the milk quota and identified emotional key drivers. Structural consequences of this conflict can be seen in the reduction of political influence of the German Farmers’ Association.


dairy conflict; farmer associations; grounded theory; institutional change; milk strike

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ISSN 1869-6945


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