Red River Valley Sugarbeet Industry Oral History Project: Interview with Emmet Gunderson
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Emmet Gunderson was born in Moorhead, Minnesota in 1920; he was raised on a farm in Clay County, Minnesota, attended a rural one-room grade school, and graduated from Moorhead High School in 1938. He was enrolled in engineering at North Dakota State College [Fargo] until his induction into the armed services in 1942, and after his discharge earned a degree in business at the University of Minnesota. In 1949 he went to work for American Crystal Sugar Company as an agriculturalist, or fieldman; his work for American Crystal Sugar Company was as a liaison with both the beet growers and the migrant labor in the area, and included overseeing recruitment, transportation and housing accommodations for the workers. He retained his position when the company was purchased by the growers and became a cooperative in 1973. He retired in 1990 after forty-one years with the company, and was living in Moorhead at the time of the interview. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Gunderson discusses the recruiting of sugarbeet growers in the 1950s, the profitability of grain crops over sugar beets, the advantage of crop rotation for weed control, weeding by hand and subsequent uses of herbicides and pesticides. He talks about hiring migrant labor from Texas and Mexican nationals, financing their transportation to the Red River Valley, and personal and financial relationships between grower and migrant worker. He details the introduction of mechanical harvest equipment, technical and mechanical innovations provided by the growers, sugarbeet piling, and solving the problems of transporting harvested beets to the factory. He speaks of the advantages of the sale of the American Crystal Sugar Company to the growers, and benefits provided employees through the union.
53 pages transcript
Content Category: text
Interviewee: Gunderson, Emmet
Interviewer: Shoptaugh, Terry L.
Made in: Moorhead, Clay County, Minnesota, United States
|Holding Type||Oral History - Interview|
OH 40 (Library Call Number)
AV2000.37.8 (Accession Number)
MNHS Library Catalog
Oral History - Project, MHS Collection, project: 'Red River Valley Sugarbeet Industry Oral History Project'