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Minnesota Farm Advocate Oral History Project: Interview with Dean Hetland
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: The Hetland farm has been in the family for 2 generations; his father bought it in about 1928. Dean and his wife Bev are now alone on the farm. Their children, aged 26, 23 and 21, live in St. Cloud and Minneapolis. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Dean first became involved with the Farm Advocate Program due to financial problems with some additional land that he had purchased. He contacted and worked with Myrl Fairbrother, a Farm Advocate, and he later became an Advocate himself. He states that, if the small family farm is to be saved, farmers will have to begin receiving proper prices for their products - and he is not confident that this will happen. It appears that the future is with larger operations - corporations and combined family farms. Farm organizations other than Farm Advocates have not been getting the job done for farmers; they are like a bunch of chickens, all running in different directions. The Farm Advocate Program, on the other hand, helps individual farmers in trouble, and those providing the help are themselves farmers who have often been through similar troubles. As an Advocate, he tries first to put his client at ease to help him describe his difficulty. Then, once he understands the specific problem, he lays out the options for the farmer. Dean thinks he has a reputation of being honest with lenders - and this is important in working with them. In his area, Farm Credit Service is the largest lender, followed by the local banks. And since they have had 3 or 4 banks fail, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has also become important. These organizations are not ordinarily hard to deal with, although that can vary with the local office. The Farm Advocate Program provides him good backup and networking with other Advocates is helpful. He prefers to work out of a center, rather than his own home: it reduces the strain on the Advocate and his family while it also provides office services (typing, phone answering, computer services). In the future, he would like to see the Advocate Program include support for small businessmen in rural communities as well as farmers.
1.5 hours sound cassette
18 pages transcript
Content Category: sound recordings
Content Category: text
Interviewee: Hetland, Dean
Interviewer: Hunter, Dianna
Interviewer: Meter, Ken
Made in [vicinity]: Eagle Bend, Todd County, Minnesota, United States
|Holding Type||Oral History - Interview|
OH 37 (Library Call Number)
AV1991.158.16 (Accession Number)
MNHS Library Catalog
Oral History - Project, MHS Collection, project: 'Minnesota Farm Advocate Oral History Project'