Strip farming in Norway

Strip farming in Norway

Strip farming is a concept covering a land distribution in agriculture. In collective farmyards where every single farmer owned or rented a part of the farm, the properties become complicated. The home fields were divided into small strips and each family maintained rights to both the suitable and the lesser suitable fields. Outlying fields were not divided but kept in common use.

In the years after the black death in the 1300 Norway developed, in contrast to most of the European countries, a particular farm structure, with free and partly independent farmers. Norway differed also in other aspects. The central Europeans lived in villages, while in Norway the settlings gathered in different, collective farmyards.Since the population had a relatively strong growth through the 1700 there was an increase in dividing farms between brothers and by division of inheritance.

Eastern Norway

In the eastern Norway the development was distinguished by the strong expansion of the cotters system until its culmination about 1850.

A cotters farm was often established because of that the one of the brothers who had «odel» (usually the eldest brothers exclusive right to inherit the whole farm) gave a cotters farm to the other brothers and thus make it possible for them to rise their own families.

In this agrarian society the farm was the source of wealth, prosperity and a good life. Those not having a farm might risk their life as «legdeslem» (legd = a kind of rural, social security). Poor people circulated from farm to farm in a district where the people by law had an obligation to provide food and accommodation, usually in the barn (lem = member) or to spend the rest of their lives as servants. This system was a very strong social fissure process.

Western and southern Norway

In the western and in the southern Norway they did otherwise. The farm was divided into various farmparts. In many cases several small fields of various quality widely spread. And the same applied to the meadows. To secure every one of the part owners, a part of the best as well as the poorest land, was divided the land into strips. These strips were distributed in accordance with how much land each owned of the land that were to be parted. To get maximum justice in the distribution one could could circulate the strips between the owners, called «årsskifte» (annual shift). Thus the system got imanent dynamics. Where one started with strip farming, one had to continue with cultivation of new land. The custom on the western and southern Norway was that the home fields to different purpose consisted of a complicated variety of strips spread between other strips among other strips belonging to the other farms in the collective farmyard. The outlying fields was more or less used in co-ownership. In the fall and in the spring they were used as common grazing. As could be expected in such a complicated collective system, disagreements rose about the management of the farms and the distribution.

The Redistribution Reform

The growth in population forced an increasing dividing of land, and the individual houses belonging to each individual farm in the collective farmyard, was more or less placed by incident.

The topographic circumstances in the western or southern Norway contributed further in complicating the management of the individual homestead. So far back as the «Gulatingslova» (Law from the Gularting) about 900 A.D.) there have been laws about land distribution, reflecting the problems involved in strip farming and land distribution.

A redistribution reform was commenced with Norway's first redistribution law in 1821, the land consolidation act. Its purpose was to gather all the strips into more coherent and larger pieces of land, to individual homesteads and to move the farmhouses to the respective homesteads. The purpose was to prepare for more rational an effective farming. The redistribution reform is more or less completed for infields, but not for outlying fields. The "jordskifteloven" (the land consolidation act) went through a major revision in 1979 [ [http://www.lovdata.no/all/nl-19791221-077.html LOV-1979-12-21-77 Jordskifteloven - jskl. Lov om jordskifte o.a. (jordskifteloven) ] ] .

See also

*Havretunet
*Otternes

References

External links

* [http://www.jordskifte.no/div/english Redistribution law (English)]
* [http://www.lovdata.no/all/nl-19791221-077.html Redistribution law (Norwegian)]


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