More Than A Farm Organization
The Farmers Union in Minnesota

Dun Muhm

ISBN: 978-1-883477-23-3
Order Number: LOP233
Price: $21.95

As the storm clouds of farm crisis loom on the horizon fueled by a precipitous drop in farm income, it seems the forecast couldn't be worse. Yet today's farmers need only look to their roots for models of strength reflected in the 80-year history of the Farmers Union in Minnesota and recounted in this book.

It chronicles the birth, growth, challenges, and victories of the Farmers Union in Minnesota and the people who built it. It's the story of farmers from across the state who recognized the power of cooperation, education, and legislation to strengthen and protect the family farm.

From its roots in Southwestern Minnesota's Jackson County in 1918 to the present, More Than A Farm Organization shows how the men and women of the Farmers Union, in the words of Jackson County local charter member Charley F. Wendel, "...bent their shoulders to the tasks." The book tracks the young organization's rise "...amid clouds of uncertainty" in the 20's "...to challenge the marketing structure;" the role it played in the "Farm Holiday" movement of the Great Depression and rural electrification; the life of Farmers Union Grain Terminal Association giant M. W. Thatcher, about whom Hubert H. Humphrey eulogized, "He didn't visit Presidents; they visited him...;" the formation of the giant supply co-op, CENEX; the years of phenomenal growth during the administration of the "Great Gully Cooperator," Minnesota Farmer's Union President Edwin Christianson; "The Communist Smear" campaign; the advent of corporate farming, the 1980's farm crisis, and other challenges faced by Minnesota and National Farmers Union President Cy Carpenter; the turbulent term of U.S. Agriculture Secretary Bob Bergland, the first to come from the ranks of farmers since Roosevelt; the Farmers Union in Minnesota today; and much more.

More Than A Farm Organization is a veritable compendium of "who's who" among Farmers Union members from Minnesota who rose through the ranks to become some of the great leaders of our state and nation-people like U.S. Agriculture Secretary and Congressman Bob Bergland, Congresswoman Coya Knutson, Minnesota Lt. Governor and Congressman Alec Olson, Minnesota Governors Elmer Benson and Floyd Olson, National Farmers Union Presidents Cy Carpenter and Leland Swenson, Minnesota Secretary of State Art Hanson, Minnesota House Majority Leader and Minnesota Farmers Union President Willis Eken, Minnesota Senator and Minnesota Farmers Union President Dave Frederickson, World Farm Congress delegate and Special National Farmers Union Award-winner F. B. Daniel, and others too numerous to mention.

The book describes the three main thrusts of the Farmers Union in Minnesota, as embodied by its triangular logo: Cooperation, Legislation, and Education. From the advent of farmer owned local cooperatives in the early 20's, to the development of cooperative giants like the Farmers Union Central Exchange (CENEX) and Harvest States Cooperatives; from Federal enactment of the Agricultural Adjustment and Farm Credit Acts of 1933, to passage of the Minnesota Family Farm Security Act in 1976; and from publication of the Farmer's Union Herald and Minnesota Agriculture, to passage of the Federal Student Loan and GI Farm Management Training Programs, the men and women of the Farmers Union in Minnesota have "kept the faith" and led the way to a better life for family farmers, not only in Minnesota, but around the country, as well. More Than A Farm Organization is a testament to their dedication and leadership.

400 pages, 1998, 6" x 9", hardcover


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