LRF is unique in being able to organise farmers and their co-operative enterprises in a single organisation. LRF’s members are divided into two sections: individual and co-operative members.
One section of LRF’s members is made up of approximately 140,000 individual farmers and forest owners, but even others who wish to assist in strengthening the status of the Swedish rural community are welcome to apply for membership. Individual members are organised on the basis of about 1,100 local and 17 regional associations.
One of the tasks of the regional associations is to support and supervise activities among the local associations. They are also expected to work towards raising the level of co-operation in each region. LRF’s associations throughout Sweden represent the closest contact with the individual members. Among other tasks, their aim is to promote the interests of farming and the rural community at the local level.
The highest decision-making body in the regional association is the annual regional assembly. Among other issues, this deals with motions put forward by the local clubs. Representatives at the regional assemblies are elected representatives and the chairpersons of the local clubs.
The other section of LRF covers agricultural cooperatives and farmer-owned companies. Generally, the farmer is both an individual member and a member through his/her co-operative. Combined, the co-operatives have some 300,000 members.
Through their co-operatives and companies, Swedish farmers are closely involved in the processing and marketing of agricultural products. Overall, farmer-owned industry currently comprises about 40 co-operatives and their subsidiaries. The largest of these are active in the cereals, meat, dairy and forest industries.
Backed by a tradition of 150 years, farmer-owned companies have a strong position in the Swedish marketplace and are market leaders in several sectors. Moreover, these companies are capturing increasingly larger shares in international markets.