Special Collections Department

403 Parks Library
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011

phone: 515 294-6672
email: archives@iastate.edu

Special Collections Department

Special Collections Department - Collections - Subject Guides - 1980s Farm Crisis

1980s Farm Crisis Collections Guide

 

AGRICULTURAL POLICY WORKING GROUP. Records, 1987-1988.

Extent: 0.21 linear foot.
Number: MS-503.

Description: Organization founded in 1987 to defeat mandatory supply controls and to promote farm policies that enhanced agricultural and rural economies. Corporate members of the working group included Cargill, Central Soya Company, Continental Grain Company, International Minerals and Chemical Corporation, Monsanto, Nabisco, and Pillsbury. Collection includes policy issue statements, press releases, and correspondence.
Status: Processed.

Finding Aid: Online.

 


 

AMERICAN AGRICULTURE MOVEMENT. Records, 1978-1990, undated.
Extent: 0.3 linear foot.
Number: MS-463.
Description: Organization formed in 1977 in response to Congressional legislation entailing four years of farm prices below the cost of production. In many states, farmers organized protests, strikes, pickets, boycotts, and marches on state capitols and on Washington, D.C. (1977-1979). Collection includes a historical calendar, newsletters, press releases, correspondence, and news clippings.
Status: Processed.

Finding Aid: Online.

 


 

FARM AID EPHEMERA COLLECTION, 1987-2007.
Extent: 0.21 linear feet (1 half-document box).
Number: MS-394.
Description: Farm Aid was established in 1985 to raise public awareness for the plight of the American family farmer and to assist families dependent on agriculture. The first Farm Aid concert was organized by Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and John Mellencamp in 1985. Farm Aid provides funds to farm organizations, churches, hotlines, and service agencies, which provide direct assistance to farm families. It also provides program grants to organizations working to develop long-term solutions to problems facing the family farmer. Most of the materials in the collection are from the 1990s and include requests for donations, a program for the Farm Aid VII concert held in New Orleans, Louisiana, news clippings, ephemera objects received for donations, and copies of Farm Aid's newsletter, Farm Aid Update.
Status: Processed.

Finding Aid: Online.

 


 

FARM CRISIS COMMITTEE. Records, 1979-2008, undated.
Extent: 5.04 linear feet (12 document boxes).
Number: MS-482.
Description: The Farm Crisis Committee was formed in November of 1984 by a group of seventeen farmers and businessmen from the Emerson, Nebraska area. The main focus of the group was to draw attention to the growing farm crisis facing the mid-western United States. The group attempted to influence government policy that related to farming. Another goal was to keep the public aware of the problems farmers were facing with falling crop prices and land values, as well as a lack of credit available to keep farming. The collection contains papers from the Farm Crisis Committee as well as many other organizations that assisted in the common goal of drafting a new farm bill. Included are Committee newsletters, meeting minutes, radio speeches, and correspondence to and from members of Congress and President Reagan. Papers from other groups include bankruptcy issues, Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) lawsuits, articles, general information about Farm Aid, correspondence, and survey results based off the 1985 Farm Bill.
Status: Processed.

Finding Aid: Online.

 


 

GINDER, ROGER G. (1946- ). Papers, 1970-2002, undated.
Extent: 3.36 linear feet.
Number: RS 13/9/71.
Description: Roger G. Ginder earned a B.S. (1968) and an M.S. (1969) in agricultural economics from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and a Ph.D. (1979) in agricultural economics from the University of Kentucky. Ginder began his professional career at the University of Delaware as an extension specialist in agricultural marketing (1969-1975), then researched the logistics system of a regional farm supply cooperative as a research associate at the University of Kentucky (1975-1978), and became a Professor and extension specialist in agribusiness management for the Department of Economics at Iowa State University (1978-2010). Ginder's research work mostly dealt with farmer's cooperatives (co-ops) in the upper Midwest. He gave presentations and held workshops to help local co-ops navigate the difficult economic times of the 1980s and 1990s. These workshops were geared towards various groups which included, but were not limited to, young farmers, accountants and bookkeepers, co-op attorneys, co-op Board of Directors, and grain elevator managers and directors. The workshops focused on co-op growth, farm credit and debt, and rapidly changing economic conditions. Ginder wrote many articles which were published in agriculture-related journals. He also wrote staff papers, research reports, bulletins, and articles for the extension departments of the University of Delaware and Iowa State University.
Status: Processed.

Finding Aid: Available in Special Collections.

 


 

GUNDERSON, HELEN D. (1945- ). Papers, 1900-1995.
Extent: 17.5 linear feet.
Number: RS 21/07/92.
Description: Independent photographer, video producer, and regional historian. Helen D. Gunderson, born in Black Hawk County, Iowa, and reared in Pocahontas County, Iowa, received a B.S. from Iowa State University in 1967. She received an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and a master of divinity degree from the San Francisco Theological Seminary. The collection consists of materials from Gunderson's "The Road I Grew Up On" project documenting change in rural Iowa. The project was based primarily on events in Roosevelt and Garfield Townships, Pocahontas County, though it includes material gathered across the state of Iowa. The collection includes approximately fifteen 8mm films, 40 audiotapes, 100 videotapes, 150 photographic negatives, 100 prints, 50 sheets of slides, five scrapbooks, and six land record books from Pocahontas County. The audiotapes consist of oral histories of the Gunderson family (1981) and individuals who lived in the Rolfe, Iowa, area (1990-1995). The videotapes include material transferred from film and direct recordings created by Helen Gunderson (1970-1995) and oral histories and footage of events in Pocahontas County and the state of Iowa from 1989-1995. They include Gunderson's work to produce a video for the Britt Draft Horse Show. The photographic material includes copy negatives and prints from photographs dating to 1900, but is largely original work of Gunderson from 1970-1995. The collection also includes some transcripts of audiotapes and other manuscripts created or collected by Gunderson.
Status: Processed.

Finding Aid: Online. (pdf file)

 


 

HANSEN, MERLE. Papers, 1932-1999, undated.
Extent: 30.73 linear feet.
Number: MS-595.
Description: Farmer and activist, Hansen farmed, owned a fertilizer business, and was active in Charolais cattle buying and breeding. By the early 1980's, Hansen's energies as a social activist focused on rural issues, particularly the economic struggles of farmers and the fate of the American family farm. Hansen was an active member of a number of farmers' organizations and farm protest groups including the Nebraska Chapter of the American Agricultural Movement, United States Farmers Association (USFA), North American Farm Alliance (NAFA), Farmers Union and the Nebraska National Farmers Organization. He was also active in the Reverend Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition movement and by the mid-1980's became Reverend Jackson's Agricultural Advisor. The collection documents the life of Merle Hansen and the activities of various farmers' organizations and pro-farm protest groups and contains correspondence, legal records, news clippings, creative works, publications, photographs, two reels of magnetic audiotape, and a small number of artifacts relating to farm protest groups and the Reverend Jesse Jackson for President Campaign. The collection also contains records of the North American Farmers Alliance including correspondence, memorandums, financial records, meeting materials, publications, subject files and artifacts.
Status: Processed.

Finding Aid: Online. (pdf file)

 


 

HARL, NEIL. (1933- ). Papers, 1933-[ongoing].
Extent: 103.92 linear feet.
Number: RS 13/9/57.
Description: Neil Eugene Harl served on the faculty of Iowa State University as an Associate Professor (1964-1967) and Professor (1967- ) where he is now on a five-year phased retirement. He served as a Lecturer (1982) at Drake University. Dr. Harl's main areas of interest includes organization of farm firm, taxation, economics, estate planning, legal and economic aspects of farm finance and extension services. Dr. Harl has many publications in legal and economic journals, bulletins, extension pamphlets and farm and finical publications. This collection contains Dr. Harl's correspondence, biographical information, papers, published works, presentations, articles and pertinent information concerning agricultural economics, taxes, estate planning, WOI radio, congressional hearings and farm policies. Included also are topics of interest pertaining to agricultural financing, the 1980s farm crisis, biotechnology, the sale of WOI-TV, and audio/video tapes of class lectures.
Status: Processed.

Finding Aid: Available in Special Collections.

 


 

JOLLY, ROBERT W. (1944- ). Papers, 1973-2010, undated.
Extent: 3.78 linear feet.
Number: RS 13/9/70.
Description: Robert W. Jolly attended the University of Minnesota where he earned a B.S. (1968) in soil science and an M.S. (1974) and Ph.D. (1976) in agricultural economics. Jolly's work focused on agricultural economics including conservation, farm crisis issues of the 1980s and 1990s, and financial aspects of farming. He also worked on agriculture projects in Russia, Ukraine, and Slovakia. Jolly worked at Iowa State for much of his career, and his positions included Assistant and Associate Professor and Extension Economist (1979-1985); Assistant Dean and Director (1985-1989) of the College of Agriculture's Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station; Interim Director (1987-1988) for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Director (1981-2010) of the Iowa State University Agricultural Credit School; and Professor (1985-2010) for the Department of Economics. The collection contains articles written for various publications, including scientific journals and ISU Extension; grant applications and proposals for ag-related research projects; papers and reports based upon those projects; and surveys with results that examine many different aspects of agricultural economics.
Status: Processed.

Finding Aid: Available in Special Collections.

 


 

NATIONAL CRISIS ACTION RALLY. Records, 1985.
Extent: 0.21 linear foot (1 half-document box).
Number: MS-436.
Description: The National Crisis Action Rally, organized by the National Farmers Organization, took place on February 25, 1985. Held at Iowa State University, the rally dealt with the farm crisis of the 1980s. A session after the rally concerned the Farm Policy Reform Act of 1985. Records include clippings, speeches, programs from the rally and the session that followed it, and a Beta videotape of the rally.
Status: Processed.

Finding Aid: Online.

 


 

NATIONAL FAMILY FARM COALITION. Records, 1974-1985, undated.
Extent: 1.89 linear feet (4 document boxes, 1 half-document box).
Number: MS-548.
Description: The National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) was formed in 1978 to support federal legislation known as the Family Farm Development Act. The act's main purpose was to promote the stability and growth of the family farm as the basis of the U.S. food production system. The NFFC worked closely with the National Family Farm Education Project (NFFEP), also formed in 1978. The NFFEP was concerned with involving and educating the public on farming issues. The NFFC and NFFEP decided to merge (1981) in an effort to save money and strengthen their ability to meet their goals. The economic downturn of the early 1980s forced the organization to close its Washington, D.C. office in December, 1981, due to funding issues, although volunteers and small grants kept basic functions going. The collection (1974-1985, n.d.) contains NFFC records relating to its own Board of Directors, correspondence, development, and by-laws. There are also testimonies and statements that were presented to Congress regarding agricultural hearings along with bills and related papers that were being considered by the House of Representatives. General correspondence and information regarding similar agricultural organizations, studies, and government procedures are also in the collection.
Status: Processed.

Finding Aid: Online.

 


 

NORTH AMERICAN FARM ALLIANCE. Records, 1982-1988, undated.
Extent: 5.62 linear feet (4 records center cartons and 1 document box).
Number: MS-501.
Description: Founded in 1983, the North American Farm Alliance is a coalition of over 50 farm, labor, and community organizations from the United States and Canada. It goals included promoting the family farm system of agriculture and a progressive farm program. The group publishes the journal North American Farmer. Collection consists of publications, journals, and newsletters of the various groups affiliated with the North American Farm Alliance. It also includes research files relating to politics, labor issues, and education.
Status: Processed.

Finding Aid: Online.

 


 

PRAIRIEFIRE RURAL ACTION. Records, 1979-1989.
Extent: 4.32 linear feet.
Number: MS-313.
Description: Organization founded in 1985 and based in Des Moines, Iowa. PrairieFire Rural Action seeks to aid Midwestern farmers and their families, and provides advocacy on behalf of farmers. The group organizes educational programs in rural communities to keep children informed about policy issues affecting agriculture, organizes coalitions of rural groups and individuals, and conducts training and educational programs for rural clergy and farm leaders. Collection consists of publications and newsletters from church and agricultural organizations, including Rural America; correspondence with farm leaders and organizations; and documents related to the politics of agriculture in the Midwest. Included are materials from the media and from Iowa political and agricultural groups preparing for the 1988 Presidential Forum on Agriculture and Rural Life.
Status: Processed.

Finding Aid: Online.

 


 

RURAL COALITION. Records, 1943-1990, undated.
Extent: 35.1 linear ft. (27 records center cartons).
Number: MS-368.
Description: The Rural Coalition, a national alliance of regionally and culturally diverse organizations concerned with rural issues, was formed by about two dozen non-profit organizations in 1978 to provide a national, unified voice for rural people and their communities. One of the major goals of the Rural Coalition has been to influence public policy to create fair legislation and returns for rural communities and minority and small farmers. The collection documents the concerns and activities of the Rural Coalition through its organizational records and subject files which include correspondence, task force records and reports, committee materials (agendas, plans, reports), studies, annual meeting materials and minutes, board meeting materials and minutes, testimonies and statements before congressional committees, grant applications, newsletters and publications. This organization dealt with the farm crisis in a variety of ways, and what the Rural Coalition did during the 1980s can be found throughout their organizational records. The collection also includes subject files related to the farm crisis.
Status: Processed.

Finding Aid: Online. (pdf file)

 


 

ROSSITER, VINCENT E., SR. (1914-1990). Papers, 1927-1990.
Extent: 38 linear feet.
Number: MS-258.
Description: Banker and agricultural leader. After working at a variety of positions, Rossiter n joined the Bank of Hartington, in Hartington, Nebraska, as a bookkeeper. He worked there in various capacities for the rest of his life, succeeding his father as president in 1951. Rossiter was involved with many civic activities. His leadership roles included director of the Center for Rural Affairs, director of the Small Farm Energy Project, chair of the Independent Bankers Association Agricultural Committee, president of the National Organization of Raw Materials (N.O.R.M.), and consultant to the National Farmers Organization. Rossiter was also active in the Democratic Party on both state and national levels. Most of the papers in the collection deal with Rossiter's agricultural activities, primarily his involvement with the National Organization for Raw Materials. Other topics include his work for the National Farmers Organization, the Independent Bankers Association, and the Nebraska Democratic Party. The collection includes correspondence, meeting arrangements and minutes, publications, and speeches. Correspondents include Homer Ayres, J. James Exon, Bob Kerrey, Harry E. Rash, Oren Lee Staley, Butch Swaim, and Edward Zorinsky, with substantial correspondence from Arnold E. Paulson, Charles Walters, and Carl H. Wilken.
Status: Processed.

Finding Aid: Online. (pdf file)

 


 

RURAL AMERICA. Records, 1975-1981.
Extent: 1.3 linear feet.
Number: MS-419.
Description: Organization founded in 1975 whose main goal is to assure rural people equity in the formulation and implementation of public policies and programs. In 1977 it merged with the Rural Housing Alliance, a nonprofit organization established in 1967 to help rural Americans obtain decent housing and community facilities. Records include statements to U.S. Congressional subcommittees, research reports, conference materials, newsletters, and other publications.
Status: Processed.

Finding Aid: Online.

 


 

SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY FARM PROTESTS COLLECTION, 1954-1990, undated.
Extent: 2.1 linear feet.
Number: MS-294.
Description: Members and supporters of the Socialist Workers Party have worked with the farm movement and have covered farm protests for the Party's newspaper The Militant since the 1970s. The items in this collection were collected by various members who were active with the farm movement. The collection contains newspaper clippings and magazine articles dealing with events surrounding farming, both internationally and in the United States. The main focus of the collection is the farm crisis of the 1980s, but other social issues relating to agriculture are included as well.
Status: Processed.

Finding Aid: Online.

 


 

STONE, KENNETH E. Papers, 1978-1999, undated
Extent: 0.84 linear feet.
Number: RS 13/9/73.
Description: Kenneth E. Stone is a Professor Emeritus of Economics and Extension Economist at Iowa State University. He is best known for his studies on the economic impact that discount mass merchandisers, specifically Walmart, have on host cities and surrounding communities. This collection includes biographical information and papers by Stone related to business management practices and retail sales studies. Included are several of his papers examining the economic effects Walmart has on host communities. Many of his articles in this collection from the 1970s and 1980s directly discuss economic issues related to the 1980s farm crisis.
Status: Processed.

Finding Aid: Online.