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Working conditions in large French dairy farm: differences and similarities between working groups

Abstract : Dairy farms in France are growing and increasingly surpassing herds of 100 dairy cows. This trend of concentration is accompanied by an increase in labour productivity and a diversification in the composition of the workforce on these farms (individual farmers, worker-members, partners, employees). These major changes raise questions about the working conditions of livestock farmers on these dairy large farms, which are subject to various sources of tension due to a heavy workload and external risks and hazards, which can lead to a degraded working environment with high levels of stress and mental workload. However, the farmers are expecting decent working conditions and looking for a "life like any other". We consider the working conditions on these large dairy farms and formulate the hypothesis that there are specificities according to the different types of working groups. Surveys were carried out among 49 dairy farmers managing large dairy structures in France on their working conditions and their level of satisfaction with it. The working conditions were defined by work intensity (working time, hours, free time), work organisation (distribution of tasks and responsibilities, ease of replacement, communication within groups), physical and mental workload. The results show that working conditions differ according to the three types of working groups that we have defined, but that similarities also exist. The daily working hours and work rhythms are considered to be high or very high on most of the farms. The volume of work per worker is higher for farmers with few workforce available with also less free time. Large workforce farms with wage earners have higher work rhythms and mental workload than the two other types of working groups. Conversely, it is considered moderate to low by three-quarters of the type of large workforce collectives of associates. The results show that, overall, the dairy farmers are satisfied with their working conditions. This overall positive feeling may seem contradictory at first sight with some of the results showing high working hours and work rhythms. It must be qualified by the fact that it tends to be different between the types of working groups and that the working conditions within each type are very contrasted.
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Contributor : Nathalie Hostiou <>
Submitted on : Thursday, April 15, 2021 - 1:10:14 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, April 18, 2021 - 3:14:34 AM


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  • HAL Id : hal-03199115, version 1


Emmanuel Beguin, Nathalie Hostiou, Jocelyn Fagon, Anne-Lise Jacquot, Sophie Chauvat, et al.. Working conditions in large French dairy farm: differences and similarities between working groups. 2nd International Symposium on Work in Agriculture. Thinking the future of work in agriculture, Mar 2021, Clermont-Ferrand (virtual), France. ⟨hal-03199115⟩



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