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Minnesota Farm Advocate Oral History Project: Interview with Carol Hansen
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Bob and Carol Hansen have lived on their farm for about 18 years. They farm 200 acres. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Three foreclosures have been initiated against the Hansens. They avoided the first two, both brought by the Federal Land Bank. They did not oppose the third; rather, they sold part of the farm to satisfy their debt and are now renting and farming the land. This interview relates to the Hansens' dealings over the years with FmHA(Farmers' Home Administration) and the Federal Land Bank, especially the former. In about 1976 they obtained a FmHA loan, primarily to finance a better dairy barn. They found an excellent barn, which they could have purchased and moved to their farm for $7,000. FmHA would not allow this, since it would not create enough (construction) jobs. Instead, FmHA insisted that they build a new barn (for $100,000). The Hansens refused and negotiations shifted to a hog raising facility. FmHA urged them to build a large automated barn, but finally agreed to one which would handle fewer animals without automation - although causing much delay and financial loss to the Hansens in the process. Many tactics the FmHA practiced on the Hansens and others are described, involving, for example, delaying payments to farmers when time was important, interfering in the timing of the purchase and sale of stock, seed and crops, ruining farmers' credit ratings with local banks, tying up farmers' income, etc. The Hansens became active in farm issues when FmHA wanted them to obtain fuel, fertilizer and seed from local businesses and then assign the income from the resulting crop to FmHA, making it impossible for the local businesses to be paid. They contacted Melba Grandlin, Jim Massey and Lynn Hayes and ultimately became involved in lawsuits (Gamradt v. Block, Coleman v. Block, Hansen v. Lyng) directed against destructive practices of FmHA. An FmHA supervisor told the Hansens that they would be made to pay for this activity, and they describe much of the resulting harassment. This resulted initially in difficulty for them in their own community, but this was reversed when stories by St.Paul and Minneapolis newspapers explained their side of the story. Their difficulties with FmHA continue, but other farmers have begun to help them.
1.5 hours sound cassette
37 pages transcript
Content Category: sound recordings
Content Category: text
Interviewee: Hansen, Bob
Interviewee: Hansen, Mrs. Carol
Interviewer: Hunter, Dianna
Interviewer: Meter, Ken
Made in [vicinity]: Belgrade, Stearns County, Minnesota, United States
|Holding Type||Oral History - Interview|
OH 37 (Library Call Number)
AV1991.158.12 (Accession Number)
MHS Library Catalog
Oral History - Project, MHS Collection, project: 'Minnesota Farm Advocate Oral History Project'