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Minnesota Farm Advocate Oral History Project: Interview with David Elliason
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: David and Janice Elliason began farming in 1979. From then until 1988 the price of feeder pigs (their principal product) ranged from $18 to $64, and often varied widely from week to week. He became an Advocate in late 1986. He has a diploma from St. Cloud Business College. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Elliason says that as an Advocate, you should first just listen to your clients - find out what they want and think. Farmers often feel that since they got into debt, they must pay it off. However, it is necessary that they come to realize that that, many times, is impossible. The county supervisor is a primary link in an FmHA loan,and he therefore meets with him one on one to find out what can be done to solve the problem (keep the farmer farming). As an Advocate, he can also call on various professional services (some of which are free). It is often good to get the farmer talking with a lawyer early. A failed mediation is often everyone's loss; the creditor gets the farm - a problem for him - and the farmer can't farm. Elliason indicates that most lenders are good people. He also tells about the East-Central Area Agricultural Information Center being formed to put farmers in contact with various resources. He is at the Center for a few hours each week to acquait farmers with Farm Advocates. During the last 3 or 4 years, the agricultural scene has been changing: There are many fewer farmers, farms are getting bigger and bigger (resulting in efficiency of scale, but also in loss of pride). Mediators and lenders have become more flexible. As an Advocate, he has become more confident and aggressive, he has found that you can fight city hall. He thinks of leaving farming for another life style in which there might be a more reasonable and steady economic return.
1.5 hours sound cassette
36 pages transcript
Content Category: sound recordings
Content Category: text
Interviewee: Elliason, David
Interviewer: Hunter, Dianna
Interviewer: Meter, Ken
Made in [vicinity]: Isle, Mille Lacs County, Minnesota, United States
|Holding Type||Oral History - Interview|
OH 37 (Library Call Number)
AV1991.158.8 (Accession Number)
MNHS Library Catalog
Oral History - Project, MHS Collection, project: 'Minnesota Farm Advocate Oral History Project'