Country Listing

Mongolia Table of Contents


Collectivized Farming and Herding

Mongolian agriculturalists, most of whom were actually herders of animals, worked either for state-owned farms or for herding cooperatives. State farm workers were on the state payroll, just as were those who worked in state factories or for the national railroad. Influenced by the Soviet Union, stateowned farms represented a more creative adaptation of Soviet models to the Mongolian environment than did factories or government offices. In practice, membership was compulsory, and the collectives owned the means of production in the form of both the livestock herds and the rights to use pastures and winter campsites. Member families carried on a modified form of traditional herding by dispersed small herding camps of several households. Households were permitted to own a limited number of private livestock--analogous to the private plot allocated to collective farmers--about 20 percent of the total herd. Households received much of their income in kind, and they earned a share of the collective's profit from the sale of animals and animal products to state purchasing agencies. Their total income, in kind and in cash, varied, from year to year and from collective to collective, along with the condition of the herds and the weather.

The average herding cooperative had about 300 households. The cooperative employed some people as administrators, truck drivers, and the like, but most work consisted of the traditional tasks of herding and milking animals, and of producing butter, cheese, and wool products. As in the past, herding was done by herding camps of two to six households. The herding cooperatives in most cases had the same boundaries as the somon (see Glossary), the third-level administrative units into which Mongolia's eighteen aymags were divided, and the administration of the somon and the herding cooperative appeared to be in the same hands.

Data as of June 1989