Many of the farms in Denmark are owned and operated by larger co-operative organisations. A group of farmers band together to share the costs of purchasing machinery and stock, as well as the profits, in proportion to the amount of money they have each put into the group. Co-operative dairy farms and bacon faetories were established in Denmark during the nineteenth century, marking the beginning of this profession. Farmine has become significantly more profitable as a result of the system than it would have been if the farmers - the majority of whom have smallholdings of between 10 and 60 hectares (25 and 150 acres) - had continued to work independently. Cooperative cow-houses, co-operative feed-stuff companies, and common pools of machinery are all available today.
Denmark is also influenced by the North Atlantie Drift, which results in milder winters than one would expect in a country as far north as this would otherwise be the case. Despite the fact that there are approximately one hundred nights of frost per year, rye and wheat planted in the fall usually survive the winter and are ready for harvest in August and September the following year. The majority of corn, on the other hand, is planted in the spring and harvested in the late summer. One of the factors that contributes to the unpredictability of the weather in Denmark is the fact that it is here that the warm westerly winds from the Atlantic frequently meet the polar winds that blow from the east, resulting in rapid changes in temperature and precipitation. Furthermore, the rainfall is not conducive to crop production. Small amounts of rain fall in May and June, when the corn needs to be watered, whereas heavy rains in the autumn make harvesting difficult to achieve success. Danish crops are primarily used as animal feed, with only a few exceptions. The most important animals kept by the farmers are cattle and pigs, and the products of these animals are a significant source of export revenue for Denmark.
While the vast majority of Denmark's land is still under cultivation, the amount of labour required on the farms has decreased as a result of the introduction of machinery and the consolidation of many farms into cooperatives. The industrial and commercial sectors now employ approximately 40% of the population, though this often means that they are involved in processing farmer's produce - such as butchering meat, fruit, and vegetables; refining sugar beet; or using the barley crop to produce Tuborg or Carlsberg lager. Besides timber and timber products, Denmark has other valuable raw materials available, despite the fact that forests cover only a small proportion of the land surface compared to the other Scandinavian countries.
These include boulder clays, which were formed by the retreating glacier cap at the end of the ice age and are used to make bricks and tiles; white chalk, which is used in the manufacture of cement; and granite, which is found on the island of Bornholm and is used for stone houses and road surfacing. For the rest of the time, Danish industry is heavily reliant on foreign supplies. This is true both for the raw materials with which the factories work (such as iron or chemical raw materials), as well as for the machinery and fuel that the factories use to run.
The export of agricultural products would have prevented Denmark from being able to afford the expensive purchases of foreign raw materials; however, today, many of these raw materials are re-exported in the form of manufactured goods, allowing Denmark to earn the foreign currency she requires. Den- mark joined the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973, along with the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. In a referendum, the people of Denmark affirmed their country's membership in the EU. Denmark is also a member of the Nordic Council, which includes the countries of Iceland, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. The Nordic Council has agreed on free trade between the countries and has abolished the need for work permits.