More About The Family Farmer's Advocate: South Dakota Farmer's Union, 1914-2000

For more than eighty-five years, the South Dakota Farmer's Union (SDFU) has been a strong and persistent voice for the family farmer and a tireless worker for an improved business climate for agriculture. Through its advocacy for farming, the SDFU has also sought to better the quality of life for all South Dakotans. Believing that social and economic good should be distributed generally throughout society, the Union, through its legislative program, led in the struggle during the Dirty Thirties for a national Farm Bankruptcy Act, for cost of production, for parity, and, through the Farmers' Holiday Movement, for greater awareness among Americans of the desperate economic plight of farmers. In the period following World War II, the SDFU was the leading proponent for developing the Missouri River Basin and for promoting public power and rural electrification and for rural telephone cooperatives. The Union led in the struggle to eliminate the detested personal property tax and secured passage of the Family Farm Act. Today, the SDFU continues to fend off attempts by corporate agriculture to establish a foothold in South Dakota, to repeal regressive sales and real estate tax laws, and to promote a legislative agenda that accommodates a broad range of state and federal government actions on behalf of rural producers. During my quarter of a century of government service as a United States Congressman, director of the United States Food-for-Peace Program, and as a United States Senator, I developed a close working relationship with the South Dakota Fa rm e r s Union. This organization did more than any other to keep me focused on the problems and concerns of South Dakota farm families. They gave their members a broader perspective on international affairs by regularly scheduling them for visits to the United Nations in New York.
--United States Senator and now Ambassador George McGovern, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
The rich history of the South Dakota Farmers Union comes alive in these pages. It's the history of a cause, a struggle and at times a celebration brought about by the fascinating people whose commitment to that cause is chronicled here. This is their story: the founders, the pioneers and a privileged few among us who sought to build on their work and leadership. This is not just a history book, though. It's an inspiration to all those who dare to dream about a brighter future for family farmers and all rural Americans.
-- Leland Swenson, President, National Farmers Union
Publication of this book marks the culmination of a twenty-five-year-old dream of mine -- to make the important history of the South Dakota Farmers Union and the cooperatives built by Farmers Union members available and accessible to all of the people of our state.
-- Chuck Groth, Communications Director, South Dakota Farmers Union
This history of the South Dakota Farmers Union gives us the flavor of challenges, economic struggles and political battles endured by generations of family farmers and ranchers. Great Dakotans have left us with great history.
-- Dennis Wiese, President, South Dakota Farmers Union


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