Staying the course; Mission for Farm Bureau matches today’s

Published 7:48 am Monday, July 31, 2017

The mission of the Mower County Farm Bureau Federation aligns itself pretty well with its founding purpose 100 years ago, said the federation’s president on Saturday.

Martin Fay, speaking during anniversary festivities at the Mower County Historical Society, said “a lot of the stuff they were worried about 100 years ago are pretty much what we’re working on today.”

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“It’s interesting; I was reading some of the history and saw that back in the 1920s, many were worried about how many people were leaving the farm — and that was at a time when 65-70 percent of our population was on the farm. Today, that’s less than 2 percent, but it was a concern even then.”

He noted that forebears were also working on establishing county extension offices, in order to share best practices and ideas with the farming community at large, a mission that remains the same today.

Darrell Ingvaldson, manager of financial services for the county noted that while guiding principles have remained, the nature of farming has changed dramatically. In this area, he noted the shift from dairy farming. There was a day, he said, “when every small town had a creamery.”

Rev. Dennis and Rose Tamke look through a scrapbook of newspaper clippings.

Fay agreed, adding that crops were far different in the early years. Wheat, alfalfa, oats and rye were all common crops.

Fay added that the Bureau also “works hard to provide leadership opportunities for our young people — that has been constant throughout the decades, too,” he said.

The collaborative nature of Mower County Farm Bureau has kept it a strong community presence. Today, there are 400 active voting members in the Mower County Farm Bureau Federationß, amid a total membership of 600, he said.

Saturday’s events were geared toward celebration, with plenty of kids’ events, a scavenger hunt, displays, lots of good food and conversation.