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Minnesota Farm Advocate Oral History Project: Interview with Dan and Sandy Hunz
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Dan and Sandy Hunz have 2 children. Until 2 years ago they were dairy farmers. Now they farm (on a smaller scale) beef cattle, hogs and a few goats. Both have off-farm jobs. They bought their present farm (which is in the Twin Cities area) in 1974. It is about 12 miles from their previous farm when it was zoned industrial and sold to an investor. Dan was the fourth generation of his family to farm there. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: In 1980, they were forced by the FmHA into expanding their operation. Thereafter, farm prices dropped, they had health problems in their herd and financial problems brought on by the expansion. By 1986, they had cash-flow difficulties and sold out. Sandy had been the "token woman" member of the Commissioner's Agricultural Advisory Committee. She first met Lou Anne Kling in 1983 at a meeting to which she had been invited (by Anne Kanten) as a representative of Minnesota Women for Agriculture. She and Lou Anne did not communicate well at first, although they had similar opinions on farm issues. This was due, Sandy believes, partly to style (of dress and expression) and partly to the fact that Lou Anne was from an area where farmers had already been hurt and were angry, whereas Sandy was from an area where farmers had not yet (at least knowingly) been hurt. However, in 1984, Sandy called Lou Anne and asked how she could become a Farm Advocate. She joined and remained an Advocate until 1986 when (through Lou Anne, Anne deMeurisse and Lynn Hayes) she was offered a job at FLAG (Farmers' Legal Action Group) as a paralegal for Jim Massey. Dan has also become a Farm Advocate and supplements the family's off-farm income in other ways. He believes that farmers, as small business men, rather than their creditors, should have plans to resolve their own financial difficulties. Thus, as an Advocate, he makes sure that his clients enter mediation with plans which he believes are feasible and realistic - and lenders now recognize and respect this approach. This is a welcome change from the 1970s when many lenders (particularly FmHA) dictated terms - and were responsible for many disasters. Dan says that successful Advocates are farmers who have also had financial difficulties. This gives them credibility with their clients as well as an understanding of the problems they face. He feels that the near-term trend is toward smaller, more diverse and carefully-planned farms. He has no idea of the longer term future of farming.
1.5 hours sound cassette
30 pages transcript
Content Category: sound recordings
Content Category: text
Interviewee: Hunz, Dan
Interviewee: Hunz, Mrs. Sandy
Interviewer: Hunter, Dianna
Interviewer: Meter, Ken
Made in: Maple Plain, Hennepin County, Minnesota, United States
|Holding Type||Oral History - Interview|
OH 37 (Library Call Number)
AV1991.158.17 (Accession Number)
MNHS Library Catalog
Oral History - Project, MHS Collection, project: 'Minnesota Farm Advocate Oral History Project'