Minnesota Farm Advocate Oral History Project: Interview with Walter and Carol Geray

Transcript (PDF)


Titles Minnesota Farm Advocate Oral History Project: Interview with Walter and Carol Geray
Description BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Walter and Carol Geray have been farming at the same location in Mahnomen County since 1956. Their adult children, Mike (who also farms in the area) and Laura also took part in the interview. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: In 1983, Walter and Carol Geray sought a FmHA (Farmers' Home Administration) loan to consolidate several obligations, including a Federal Land Bank (FLB) loan. Their FmHA loan was delayed and FLB attempted to foreclose on their farm. Although this foreclosure was halted by the court until the FmHA loan came through, it cost the Gerays about $10,000 unnecessarily. Walter attended the initial 1984 Farm Advocates meeting in St. Paul and became an Advocate for a while. It was a very informative meeting; many farmers were in crisis situations.Walter and Carol think that FmHA was simply trying to get rid of as many farmers as possible, by sometimes illegal means. Walter and Mike refer to the export by such companies as Multifoods and Land O' Lakes of large numbers of Minnesota dairy cattle (30,000 in 1988) to such countries as Turkey, Mexico and Korea and the construction by Land O' Lakes of creameries in Turkey and Asia. They suggest that the markets for such enterprises are not in those countries and that dairy products from those herds can be expected to be imported into this country in the future. Farmers' financial difficulties come basically from such factors as low commodity prices, weather and dropping real estate values. Farmers who inherit their farms or have money and don't have to pay interest are in preferred positions. Neighbors, farm communities and local police react very negatively and cruelly to farmers in financial difficulty, and Laura, particularly, provides examples of this. Family breakups and nervous breakdowns are common among families in trouble; the people age rapidly. Others in the community who are cruel to those in trouble often soon suffer the same fate themselves.
Quantity 1.5 hours sound cassette
53 pages transcript
Format Content Category: sound recordings
Content Category: text
Creation Interviewee: Geray, Walter
Interviewee: Geray, Mrs. Carol
Interviewer: Hunter, Dianna
Made in [vicinity]: Mahnomen, Mahnomen County, Minnesota, United States
Dates Creation: 06/07/1989
Holding Type Oral History - Interview
Identifiers OH 37 (Library Call Number)
AV1991.158.11 (Accession Number)
More Info MNHS Library Catalog
Related Collections Oral History - Project, MHS Collection, project: 'Minnesota Farm Advocate Oral History Project'


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User Comments

  • Erin Jepson on November 16, 2019 10:13:46 AM
    The voices are overpowered by humming and static. I’m sad to say I couldn’t keep listening to the interview.
  • Photo and Art Database Admin on November 18, 2019 12:45:49 PM
    Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, yes the original recording has distortion, the humming does decrease after the first five minutes of the interview.

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