20th Century, Agriculture, Business, farming, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Jennie-O Turkeys

Unknown

Photo credit: mnopedia.org

1949
Turkey farmer Earl Olson buys a processing plant in Willmar, the beginning of Jennie-O Foods. Wheat feed and the growth of Jennie-O and related companies make this region a hub of turkey farming. By 1999, Jennie-O turns buys enough turkeys from independent farmers to produce 860 million pounds of 400 different turkey products. The company is known as the world’s largest turkey processor.*

For readers outside the midwest, or unfamiliar with this amazing bird, we first ask the question; why does turkey matter? Our state is fortunate to be home to the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association; a think-tank for the center-piece of our Thanksgiving meal! Please peruse some of these facts below to see why the MTGA is so enthusiastic about phasianidae!

“Minnesota is ranked #1 for both turkey production and processing in the U.S.
Each turkey generates $17.46 of direct economic activity to the state.
Minnesota’s turkey companies – Jennie-O Turkey Store, Turkey Valley Farms and Northern Pride Cooperative – employ over 7,600 people.
Turkeys are allowed to move freely throughout the barn. They are not kept in cages.
It takes 75-80 pounds of feed to raise a 30-pound turkey.
To reach full grown, tom turkeys are raised for about 18 weeks and hens are full grown at 15 weeks.
The average turkey has 3,500 feathers.
Only tom turkeys “gobble;” hens “click”.
Turkey meat packs more protein and less total fat than similar cuts of chicken and beef.
Turkey is low in cholesterol and trans-fat free.
A frozen turkey can last up to a year in the freezer.” **

Learning even these few facts, we see the utility of turkey farming. Perhaps seeing this potential 80 years ago partially explains the motives of Earl Olson. To add further, Earl was born May 8, 1915 to Swedish immigrants in Murdock, Minnesota, Swift County just before World War I. This would place Earl as a teen who experienced the scarcity of the Great Depression. Could this be a root motive to spark his fire for a cost-effective, healthful, and environmentally responsible source of meat?

Going to the company website, we find a useful outline of some of Olson’s history and visions for turkey processing.

“Earl B. Olson, Founder of Jennie-O Foods
Earl B. Olson is considered an icon in the turkey business. His tireless efforts and forward thinking helped propel Jennie-O Turkey Store and the turkey industry to what it is today.
1940: Earl starts raising turkeys while managing a small creamery.
1949: Earl purchased his first turkey processing plant, Farmer’s Produce Company, in Willmar, Minnesota.
1950: Dairy and other poultry products are phased out to focus solely on turkey.
1953: Earl converts Farmer’s Produce Company to a USDA-inspected turkey plant and names the brand JENNIE-O®—after his daughter, Jennifer.
1954: Farmer’s Produce Company purchases a second plant and seeks international distribution. A third plant is purchased in 1966.
1963: Earl’s son, Charles, joins the sales staff and becomes president in 1974.
1971: Farmer’s Produce Company changes name to Jennie-O Foods, Inc.
1973: The Willmar Avenue plant and corporate office are built to accommodate expanding processing capabilities.
1984: Jennie-O Foods, Inc. is among the first to develop the turkey hot dog, using a top-secret seasoning recipe and a custom-built, continuous oven stretching 100-feet long.
1986: Jennie-O Foods, Inc. is purchased by Hormel Foods Corporation.” ***

How does one give gratitude for our national symbol of Thanksgiving, Lord? Will You come, Holy Spirit, and lead us to ponder Mr. Olson’s contributions to Minnesota? Will You help us think about Your contributions to us through the members of the turkey family: Beltsville Small White, Bourbon Red, Jersey Buff, Narragansett, Royal Palm, Slate, Standard Bronze White Holland, Broad-Breasted Whites, and Heritage (Wild) Turkeys?

As You say, “the first deal be last, and the last first”, and so we start by remembering what gifts have been given to this continent through Meleaagris gallopavo a.k.a. Wild Turkeys. We thank You that they were an important food source for the Ojibwe and Dakota Nations for hundreds of years in Mni Sota (Minnesota). **** We remember that because turkeys were indigenous to North America, Spaniards, the French, and the English all fared better. ***** Thank You for giving us the “big brother” of the grouse to hunt for all these years! We remember that You made the marvelous wild turkey that could fly fast, run swiftly, and be positioned here for our survival!

Also, we recollect the bounty of the birds that went back to Europe and returned over time as our present-day domesticated breeds of turkey! We thank You that Mr. Olson saw the incredible utility of farm-raised turkeys! That he grew his business with a conscience that respected You, the land, the farmer, and the animal.******

Maybe this conscientiousness is why You chose him to oversee the increase of our State’s turkey production; we went from an insignificant source in 1949 to 42 million birds in 2019. ******* We thank You as a people for his stewardship of turkey’s! We ask Your blessing on every Minnesota turkey whether: Tom (male adult), Hen (female adult), Poult (baby), Jake (young male), or Jenny (young female)! We ask Your blessing on every turkey farmer past, present, and future! Will You give us grace and knowledge, like Earl B. Olson, to have such incredible focus on our life’s work, and cultivate a healthy culture across all forms of life raised in Minnesota?

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** https://minnesotaturkey.com/turkeys/fun-facts/#toggle-id-1
*** https://www.jennieo.com/content/our_history
**** https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/wild-turkeys-in-canada
***** https://blog.nwf.org/2012/11/lets-talk-turkey-history-of-wild-icon-in-america/
****** Obituary. Internet. December 13, 2006. StarTribune, Mpls.,MN. http://www.startribune.com/obituaries/detail/9061815/
******* https://www.ers.usda.gov/newsroom/trending-topics/turkey-sector-background-statistics/

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20th Century, farming, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized, World War II

Prisoners of War

Moorhead

September 4, 1943 to 1946
One hundred fifty German POWs sit out the war at Camp Number One near Moorhead, a branch camp of the base camp at Algona, Iowa. Farmers short of help pay the government 40 cents an hour for their labor.

Camps were located in or near Ada, Bena, Bird Island, Crookston, Deer River, Fairmont, Faribault, Grand Rapids, Hollandale, Howard Lake, Montgomery, Moorhead, New Ulm, Olivia, Ortonville, Owatonna, Remer, Saint Charles, Warren, and Wells.*

During the span of World War II, approximately 425,000 German, Italian, and Japanese soldiers were taken as prisoners of war and held in the United States. Once in the U.S., the prisoners were disbursed to about 700 camps in 46 states. The prison network had roughly 150 larger base camps, and 500 smaller branch camps.** The vast majority of these POWs were Germans who surrendered in the battlefields of Italy or North Africa. Camp Algona, in Iowa, held about 10,000 of these German prisoners who were contracted to do agricultural labor in the Midwest.***

“It was all about farm labor. Because so many young American men were overseas fighting in the war, there was a severe worker shortage. That was particularly true for agriculture, which was not considered a high-priority industry. The government offered to supply POWs on a contract basis. In accordance with the Geneva Convention, the labor could not directly help the war effort or be dangerous. Many agriculture areas took advantage, including the Red River Valley.
So, farmers Henry Peterson and Paul Horn contracted for 150 POWs to work their vegetable farms. Army inspectors at first wanted to house the prisoners in a barn near the Red River on 12th Avenue south in Moorhead, but neighbors objected and so an onion warehouse on 21st Street near 4th Avenue North was selected.”****

Algona Branch Camp Number One was created in the spring of 1944 to accommodate Minnesota farmers Henry Peterson and Paul Horn. This area, known as the Red River Valley, was renowned for its’ potato and beet production. Regional historian Kenneth Dawes said, “Local growers were in a near panic” as to how to get the crop in, and also stated that POWs “literally saved the potato and beet harvest” in the wartime years.**

Many efforts were made to protect the humanity of these detainees at Camp One. They had a plethora of recreational activities to choose from: sports, woodworking and carving, art supplies, and books. The musically inclined even gave concerts of German music to their captors. They were granted the right to attend worship services or not as they saw fit.***

Though some locals thought that POWs were being “molly-coddled”, the general consensus was that our fair treatment of Germans would be passed on to American POWs in Europe.** Yet one wonders; “What was the response of these prisoners of war to their years of captivity in America? Hartmut Lang, the Boston consulate general of the Federal Republic of Germany, gives us an astonishing testimony; ”To a German soldier then, being taken prisoner by U.S. troops amounted to winning a ticket to peace and fair treatment.”**

Now we turn to You, the Emancipator of the Human Race, and Giver of All Human Rights and ponder these stories. We humbly recall Your words that reflect Your benevolence to all; including those in prison.

“Blessed is he whose help is the G-d of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his G-d, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them- the Lord, who remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
The Lord reigns forever, your G-d, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord.” Psalm 146:5-10 NIV *****

We thank You today for these words of King David so long ago, and that they are forever true!

We confess to You today that we, as Americans and Minnesotans, were unable to avoid war with Nazi Germany in this era, and therefore, may have participated in the deaths of both enemies and innocents. Will You have mercy on this offense?

We confess to You today that we, as Your Church, may have failed to stand prayerfully with our brothers and sisters in Europe in spite of their subjugation and conscription to an evil Fascist dictatorship. Have we righteously hated, rejected, and opposed their government as American citizens, and somehow missed that many of the citizens of Germany were already spiritual captives of Giovanni Gentile; the father of the fascist ideology? ******

Conversely, we confess the judgments of Your Church in Europe towards the United States. Did they fail to see us also as members of Your Kingdom, or only as subjects of the political dominion of America?
Will You have mercy on Your Church and its common political and socio-economic idolatry?
Will You have mercy on Your Church and our shared misbeliefs towards each other during World War II, and taking the bait of self-righteousness held out by our common Deceiver?
Will You set us free from the pride that can assert itself within patriotism, and give make us an unpretentious United States and demütig Deutschland?

Lord, we thank You for this testimony of the character of Your human beings; whether a German POW or an American Minnesotan farmer! We are thankful for the example of Algona Camp Number One and the Peterson and Horn families. Somehow, they simultaneously held up the cause of justice as to the actions of their enemies while not judging their humanity. Yes, they were prisoners, but they were prisoners made in Your Image!

O, dear Father, we so desperately need this kind wise discernment; both here in the North Star state and abroad! Will You continue to bless us to be people who love their enemies and do good for them? Will You give us strong resolve to oppose evil and love what is good and life-giving?

Will You give Your Church the gift of recognizing our dual citizenship? Though we may experience varying degrees of captivity as citizens of our nation of origin, we are also the emancipated subjects of Your Heavenly State. We were all POWs of the Accuser of Humanity, yet You served our sentence for us so we could walk free! Hallelujah! Whether engaged in a outward political war or inward spiritual battle, give us Your eyes, sweet Jesus, to see You inside every POW until war is no more!

“When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7 ESV ******

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** https://www.grandforksherald.com/news/3953177-how-wwii-german-pows-fared-grand-forks
*** http://www.mnopedia.org/place/german-prisoners-war-camp-moorhead-1944-1946
**** https://www.inforum.com/opinion/columns/2725100-McFeely-German-POWs-right-here-in-Moorhead citing Piehl, Mark. “POWs work at Moorhead Truck Farm”. Clay County Historical Society, 1991, pp.15-17.
***** https://biblehub.com/psalms/146-1.htm
****** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Gentile
******* https://biblehub.com/proverbs/16-7.htm

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20th Century, Agriculture, dairy farming, farming, Food, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party, omnipresent history, Uncategorized, Unions

Farmers Protest on Capitol Steps

sa5.2 p20

http://www.mnopedia.org/minnesota-farmer-labor-party-1924-1944

1935

“Protesting farmers bring a starving cow and horse to the steps of the capitol to dramatize the desperate conditions in rural Minnesota. Droughts for the last six years have ruined crops and depleted the land. With little growing, farmers don’t have anything to sell. With so little money in people’s pockets because of the depression, prices are low for whatever farmers can sell. Banks foreclose on many farms; others are simply abandoned. Out of this ferment, a coalition of reformers and radicals formed the Farmer-Labor Party.” *

As a backstory to the political theatre of bringing starving animals to this protest in Saint Paul, we need to understand the dire need and impetus of the groups involved. Below, historian George H. Mayer gives a fine summary of the mindsets of Depression Era Minnesota farmers and workers.

“The farmer approached problems as a proprietor or petty capitalist. Relief to him meant a mitigation of conditions that interfered with successful farming. It involved such things as tax reduction, easier access to credit, and a floor under farm prices. His individualist psychology did not create scruples against government aid, but he welcomed it only as long as it improved agricultural conditions. When official paternalism took the form of public works or the dole, he openly opposed it because assistance on such terms forced him to abandon his chosen profession, to submerge his individuality in the labor crew, and to suffer the humiliation of the bread line. Besides, a public works program required increased revenue, and since the state relied heavily on the property tax, the cost of the program seemed likely to fall primarily on him.

At the opposite end of the seesaw sat the city worker, who sought relief from the hunger, exposure, and disease that followed the wake of unemployment. Dependent on an impersonal industrial machine, he had sloughed off the frontier tradition of individualism for the more serviceable doctrine of cooperation through trade unionism. Unlike the depressed farmer, the unemployed worker often had no property or economic stake to protect. He was largely immune to taxation and had nothing to lose by backing proposals to dilute property rights or redistribute the wealth. Driven by the primitive instinct to survive, the worker demanded financial relief measures from the state.” **

Even with bifurcated interests, rural and urban Minnesotans held this coalition together for about twenty six years. They shared the commonality of urgent and real need, and a common narrative of human effort quashed by the manipulations of external economic or political forces. So what were the fruits of this protest iconized by the farmers’ famished cow and the teamster’s hungry horse?

“Minnesota’s Farmer-Labor Party was the most successful labor party in United States history. Starting in 1918, it was a political federation of labor unions, not just a “labor friendly” political party. The Minnesota Farmer-Labor Association, a grouping of associated unions and farmers, provided the organic connection between labor and the party. Before the party merged with the Democrats in 1944, they had elected three governors, four U.S. Senators, and eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives.” ***

This protest strikes home with me and my father’s experiences in Depression Era rural Minnesota. His father, F.M. Jaracz, lost his farm in Kelliher, MN which drove him to sell moonshine under the cover of his Watkins route. He was busted under the Volstead Act and did eight years of Federal prison. My dad, Le Roy, became a ward of the state and was taken in by F.M.’s moonshine partners; the C.N. Orvis family. 

The Orvis family also lost their farm, and were forced to live in a tiny, one-room rental in a local fishing resort called Runkle’s Cabins. They eventually lost that and lived on the dredging barge where Mr. Orvis was lucky enough to land a job. The family of eight did  not have more than two rooms until World War II.

Dad was raised eating oatmeal, biscuits spread w/ lard, and “boiled dinner”. (Think of a catch-all “stone-soup” with a base of potatoes, rutabaga, and any meat shavings available. He wore ill-fitting hand-me-downs from the five boys, and wore shoes with cardboard soles nick-named “Hoover leather”. All the kids worked odd-jobs because their income for the family was indispensable. 

So we turn and seek Your wisdom, El Gibbor (G-d of Strength); will You remember us when we gain and lose our vitality? Will You forgive our moments of strength when we arrogantly think we no longer need You? Will You forgive our moments of desperate want when we choose to blame You? We have sinned against You in this era of 1935, and still blame You for bad weather, ruined crops, lay-offs, and hiring freezes; have mercy.

We share the motive-conflicts of these ancestors: we simultaneously want You to shield our successes from You so we can own them, and disburse our failures to You or others so we can disown them. Why do we find it so hard to truly acknowledge our present reality? We are terrified to bring our sacred cows and ignoble steeds to the steps of Your capitol. By Your might, give us the grace to show our hands, especially when are dealt a raw deal.

Will You forgive this era its’ judgments made by farmers towards: the state government, the railroads and middle-men, and the wizards of Wall Street? Will You restore to them what was taken in the Depression? May the growers know Your unmerited favor and “ora et labora” to pass Your wisdom into all future farmers of Minnesota!

“The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.” Psalms 119:61 KJV ****

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** George H. Mayer, The Political Career of Floyd B. Olson, Reprint, (Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1987) 86-87.

*** Anfinson,Graeme. “A Short History of the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party”. 01/07/2014. https://www.counterpunch.org/2014/01/07/a-short-history-of-the-minnesota-farm-labor-party/

**** https://biblehub.com/psalms/119-61.htm

 

 

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20th Century, Agriculture, farming, Food, History, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Uncategorized

Canning Corn Innovation 1929

a57d7168-a41d-4bdc-805a-ba1f5352e8c3_d

1929

“Big Stone Canning Company introduces its Butter Kernel brand of whole canned corn. A local innovation perfects the process of cutting whole kernels off the cob, bringing canned corn to kitchen tables in addition to the creamed corn previously available.” * 

“Minnesota Canneries

Early settlers grew bumper wheat crops on south Minnesota’s fertile prairies, land that today supplies produce for a thriving 270-million-dollar-a-year canning industry.

Sweet corn canneries opened in Austin and Mankato in the early 1880s, followed soon after by similar factories in Faribault, Owatonna, and LeSueur.  Soon Minnesota’s canners were experimenting with new technologies and new products, and in 1903 the automated Big Stone Cannery Company founded by F.W. Douthitt changed the industry nationwide.  Douthitt’s plant in Ortonville had a conveyor system, mechanical corn husking machines, and a power driven cutter that produced the first whole kernel canned corn.  The Green Giant Company, introduced golden cream-style corn in 1924 and the first vacuum packed corn in 1929.

Corn is still the major canning crop in Minnesota.  The state’s more than thirty plants also freeze and can peas, beans, carrots, tomatoes, pork, beef, chicken products, and such unusual items as rutabagas.  Mankato was the site of the nation’s first carp cannery in 1946.” (text of highway marker WM2R64) **

The goal of canning fresh vegetables is long life. The problem with canning, if done or sealed improperly is disease and death. Success in preservation largely hinges on maintaining an airtight seal.

What was it like to be a farmer who knew he had a delicious crop of beautiful sweet corn, yet was at the mercy of the market and the railroad to sell before it spoiled? Surely they dreamed of a way to share this blessing that would take the pressure off to panic sell. How could they sell sweet corn all year instead of dumping all their crop in a few weeks?

F.W. Douthitt created a process that gave sweet whole kernel corn a long shelf life. He had an imagination that overcame the obstacles of the sweet corn industry’s woes. Further, he streamlined the process do a degree that it was affordable for all.

So we pray to the Lord, thank You for the gift of sweet corn to Minnesota! Thank You that You introduced this crop to Native Americans who introduced this crop to the world! We give You thanks for sharing the inspiration of hybridization with those who found varieties fit for human and animal consumption.

We give thanks for F.W. Douthitt and his gifts of processing corn to Minnesota and the world. We ask your blessing on him and his generations, both in his family and in the field of food processing. We thank You for the example of Your word that good business is in the service and betterment of our neighbor as well as ourselves. We thank You for the countless family farms that were saved because they had a new and local market to sell to!

Will You help us, like Douthitt, see our worthiness being part of the process? Open our eyes to the value any aspect of any job adds to the lives of our neighbors? Whether we grow something, chop something, can something, ship something, or design a better can, may we see and know Your pleasure in our labor? May we forever seek feed our neighbor that we too are fed!

Labor not for the food which perishes, but for that food which endures unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for on him has God the Father set his seal. John 6:27 KJV ****

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM2R64_Minnesota_Canneries

*** https://www.butterkernel.com/our-story/

**** http://biblehub.com/john/6-27.htm

 

 

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20th Century, Agriculture, farming, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, omnipresent history, State Government

Nonpartisan League

herbert-gaston-nonpartisan-league

1918

“The farmers’ Nonpartisan League, a reform group that advocates state control of the grain industry, runs candidates in the Republican primary. The NPL loses in the primary, but joins Minnesota’s branch of the Minnesota American Federation of Labor in forming the Farmer-Labor party.” * 

“In the 1910s, farmers began to decry poor market conditions and violations of their economic rights. Middlemen in the grain elevator, stockyard, cold storage, banking, and rail industries regularly gouged farmers. To fight corporate interests, the NPL was formed in North Dakota in 1915.

The NPL was founded by former Socialist Party member Arthur Townley, who was also a failed flax farmer. The NPL advocated state-run mills, grain elevators, stockyards, and warehouses. In order to protect farmers further, the NPL fought for state insurance programs, pensions, and employment bureaus. After success in North Dakota’s 1916 election, the NPL began to expand. Minnesota became the center of its activities.” **

red-flame-7.20-001-optimized

Lord, we say we love fairness, justice, and equal rights under the law, but our practice of these traits are very imperfect and human! Have mercy! Farmers of this era wanted to address the folly and failures of the Democrats and Republicans to represent their views and grievances. They wanted a way out of the “us versus them” paradigm in Saint Paul, and Washington! Lord, hear their prayers!

Will You forgive their root judgments based on politics? Will You forgive the Wall Street Republicans their willingness to commoditize a Democratic farming way of life, and to see all Progressives as revolutionary radicals instead of neighbors desperate for change? Will You forgive the Socialist and Progressives their judgments of the passivity of the Democrats, and characterizing all Republicans as greedy “Wall Streeters”? Will You forgive Democrats their judgments and fears of Socialist extremism, Progressive utopianism, and Republican heartlessness?

We have failed You as traders and transporters of commodities. Those who weighed the grain and set the prices for the train have dishonored You, and the farmers of Minnesota. Through Solomon, perhaps the greatest economic mind the earth has ever  known, You have said: “The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.” Proverbs 11:1 NIV Will You have mercy on all forms of dishonest trading and transport of agricultural commodities? Will You restore our broken trust, and teach us better ways to raise, assess value, and distribute food?

Our Socialism, Progressivism, Democratism, and Republicanism has tested You as the owner of all the yields of the Land of 10,000 Lakes. We have ignored Your voice because we listen through the filter of all our ‘isms’. We have discounted each other in opinion and fact. Have mercy! 

We listen and ponder this parable of Jesus:

“A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. He sent another servant, but that one they beat and treated shamefully and sent him away empty-handed. He sent a third, and they wounded him and threw him out.

Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘this is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” Luke 20:9-16 NIV

 

In its original context, this story was a rebuke of the misuse of authority of the chief priests, elders, and teachers of the law known as the Sanhedrin. The farmers of the vineyard symbolize the people of Israel. The servants represent the prophets of G-d whom the people rejected, the heir represented the Messiah, and the landowner is G-d the Father.

Yet, I see another interpretation of this text relevant to the NPL, the “isms”, and the economic forces of Wall Street. Perhaps each of these forces stumble over their self-importance: the farmer-laborer, the politicians, the bankers, and the traders? Is it possible that each sees themselves as the owner, therefore, possessing the final say over their property? Each has refused the reasonable messages of the servants and heirs sent to them?

Eternal Father, will You forgive us for attempting to own Your possessions? Will You forgive us the rejection of our opponent’s message and messengers? Will You forgive the misbelief in the revolutionary spirit of our heart that drives us to overthrow and possess? Will You forgive the independence of the NPL, the co-dependence of the Democratic and Republican parties and Wall Street?

We give You the false heart motives of this era, and ask that take them up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ. We ask that Your blood cleanses and frees us from every attachment of the Enemy that hinders the agriculture of Minnesota. We ask that You establish proper boundaries for all these groups both present and future. Will You be the Judge of Minnesota, so we can practice the blessing of being truly Non-Partisan?

 

 

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18th Century, 19th Century, 20th Century, Agriculture, farming, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Mexican, migrant workers, Minnesota, omnipresent history, World War I

Sugar Beets and Migrant Labor 1917-1919

220px-276_Beta_vulgaris_L

Beta Vulgaris

1917 to 1919

“Labor shortages in the U.S. during World War I and political unrest in Mexico draw many Mexican workers north to the sugar-beet fields of the Red River and Minnesota River valleys. Many return year after year; others move to the Twin Cities to find permanent jobs.” *

As a backstory, the sugar beet came to prominence in 18th century Silesia through experiments subsidized by Frederick William III (the King of Prussia) to extract sugar. These findings were furthered by scientists Andreas Marggraf and his star pupil Franz Karl Achard. Their work led to the selection of ‘Weiße Schlesische Zuckerrübe’, meaning white Silesian sugar beet, and boasted about a 6% sugar content. **

The Red River Valley of northwestern Minnesota and  eastern North Dakota had perfect conditions for the growing of this specis of beta vulgaris. Mexican migrant workers entered the scene just as local sugar beet growers and the American Crystal Sugar Company had need for their hand-harvested crop. The Great War had commandeered local labor, leaving room for displaced Mexicans.

Jim Norris, a local expert on these relations, stated the following in his book “North for the Harvest”:

“Though popular convention holds that corporations and landowners invariably exploited migrant workers, (the author) reveals that these relationships were more complex. The company often clashed with growers, sometimes while advocating for workers. And many growers developed personal ties with their migrant workers, while workers themselves often found ways to leverage better pay and working conditions from the company.” ***

And so, Lord of the Harvest, we find ourselves in a triune relationship; the company, the farmers, and the  field workers. We invite Your illumination of these events, and Your insights. Come and lead our meditation!

We thank You for beta vulgaris and the sweet taste it brings to our lives. We thank You for the research done for centuries that yielded such fine results, and provided an alternative to sugar brought into existence by the slavery of the sugar cane fields! We thank You that You provided opportunity for Mexicans amidst the tragedy of the Great War!

Next, we thank You for Your example of a three-sided relationship creating balance. Your roles incorporate our experience of simultaneously living out three roles, yet being one person. We are mothers, daughters, and wives simultaneously! We are fathers, sons, and husbands at the same instant! 

Therefore, we can find security that companies, farmers, and fieldworkers can play three roles that serve one united purpose in sugar beets or the production of any commodity. Will You be the guardian of these relationships in Minnesota? Will You forgive our offenses to You in our imbalances in these relationships? 

Will You forgive us as field workers for negating the needs of our farmers to produce results without fail? Will You forgive our farmers their dehumanization of laborers? Will You forgive those that own the company of their drive to power and market position? Will You forgive us as farmers and field workers our fearful judgments of Wall Street? We do not know the pain of finding a buyer or fair price for huge quantities of a perishable product. Have mercy on us! 

May we find sweetness in being a three-legged stool! May we see the imbalance should we remove one leg of our relationships by excluding Your Holy Opinion! May we be one in purpose regardless of position: migrant, farmer, or president!

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_beet

***Dig deeper on the impact of migrant workers in Minnesota and the Midwest in this excellent book. “Mexican Workers, Growers, and the Sugar Beet Industry” by Jim Norris

http://muse.jhu.edu/book/5421

 

 

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20th Century, Agriculture, Boys, farming, Fathers, Girls, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Men, Minnesota, Mothers, omnipresent history

Minnesota 4-H Forms 1914

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1914

“The Boys and Girls Clubs of Minnesota have a new name: 4-H. Under the leadership of T.A. “Dad” Erickson, 4-H is dedicated to making rural life fun for young people while teaching them skills to be good farmers, homemakers, and citizens.” *

It’s amazing how kids will follow someone with a good plan, or even a simple plan of an adult with a good heart.Dad Erickson was such a visionary. As a Swedish immigrant, he had to work hard to help his family, and missed out on educational opportunities. He was embarrassed of his accent. But he had a vision where kids like him would learn by doing. He had an idea for a “corn club” where boys would learn and study this staple crop so important to Minnesota’s future. They had to tow the line, assist in studies all day, and would even camp out in the cornfields.**

These “corn clubs” birthed a youth movement. Now approximately 103 years old, the 4H clubs boast 6.5 million members aged 5 to 21 in about 90,000 clubs nationwide. They attract boys and girls, urban and rural, who commit their “head, heart, hands, and health” to the betterment of others.***

So, Good Father, we commend the leadership of T.A. Erickson, and all who have followed in his footsteps to You. Thank You for many styles of learning, and that this man helped provide a club for those who like to “learn by doing”. Will You continue to bless the activities of the 4H Club forever? 

We thank You for the kids of 4H! We are grateful for their contribution to the refinement and growth of agriculture in this state, as well as their vision to tackle urban problems. Will You bless their “heads, hearts, hands, and health”? 

May we reflect on these words for today, and with your help, put them into action for future generations of Minnesotans. “How can a youth afford to lose his opportunities? Let us all grasp our many golden opportunities and use our talent, that we may not at the closing moment of our life look back with regret, but that we may enter an eternity having employed our life to the best of our ability and receive the greeting, ‘well done, thou good and faithful servant.’ T. A. Erickson’s  speech at his high school commencement**

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

**http://www.srperspective.com/2013/07/dad-of-minnesota-4-h/

***https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4-H

 

 

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19th Century, Agriculture, dairy farming, farming, Food, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, livestock, Minnesota, omnipresent history

Butter Capital of the World 1899

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1899

“Steele County proclaims itself the “butter capital” of the world, a title it advertises into the 1920s. With 24 cooperative creameries among its 17,000 residents, it’s the leading dairy county in the state.” 

Thank You for this southern Minnesota county, Lord! Thank You that they had a sense of purpose in making butter. Throughout history, You have exhorted believers to identify with their work. ‘Avodah’ is the transliteration of the Hebrew word for worship and work. The root word means to work or to serve. ** The word “worship” in English could accurately be described as “worth-ship”, and the people of Steele County seemed to understand this sacrament.

Father, will You bless Steele County, its land, people, animals, and all who make butter in this state? Will You honor their heritage of taking joy and pride in doing this task, and working to refine their craft? Thank You for creating such perfect pastures, weather, and seasons for raising healthy bovines!

Forgive us who do not comprehend the labor involved, or excellence of our dairy industry. We simply spread butter on our toast, put cream in our coffee, and do not acknowledge the myriad of right choices that were made to ensure a quality end product. Thank You for the dairy farms! Thank You this day for the dairy farmer who is there for every milking, rarely takes a vacation, and is extremely committed ’round the clock to his (or hers) cows’ health and the milking schedule! Will You give honor to these men and women, boys and girls, who choose this of life of dedication? Will You continue to give them Your creativity and imagination for all aspects of dairy farming, and butter production in Minnesota? 

** http://ag.org/top/church_workers/wrshp_gen_avodah.cfm

***Learn more about the dairy farmers of Minnesota? http://www.mnmilk.org

 

 

 

 

 

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19th Century, farming, Food, Food Science, Industry, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, omnipresent history

Hormel Company Opens 1891

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1891

“George A. Hormel, an ambitious entrepreneur and the son of German immigrants, established today’s Hormel Foods Corporation in 1891 as Geo. A. Hormel & Co., in Austin, Minnesota.

George Hormel opened the Hormel meat-packing company at the right time. As corn replaced wheat in some southern Minnesota fields, it created an abundance of hog feed and, as a result, a boom in hog farming and meat packing. 

By 1920, Hormel beat out the south Saint Paul stockyards to lead the state’s meat-packing industry. In the year 2000, only two other states raised and marketed more pork.” * 

Lord, thank You for George Hormel, and his business to make food available and more affordable to more people. Bless his heritage, those who worked with him, competed with him, and the places that they worked. Will You bless the animals, past, present, and future of Minnesota? Will You bless the farms and farmers who raise any animal that is used for food? Will You bless the packers, and all who work in the meat-packing industry?

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

 

 

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19th Century, Agriculture, farming, History, Indian, Intercession, Minnesota, Native Americans, omnipresent history, State Government, Treaties

The Dawes Act 1887

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February 8, 1887

“Congress enacts legislation that allots 160-acre tracts of land to heads of households of American Indian families. The rest of the reservation land is thrown open to non-Indian  homesteaders. Eventually, Native-held lands are reduced by more than two thirds.” *

The act “was the culmination of American attempts to destroy tribes and their governments and to open Indian lands to settlement by non-Indians and to development by railroads.” Land owned by Indians decreased from 138 million acres in 1887 to 48 million acres in 1934.

Senator Henry M Teller of Colorado was one of the most outspoken opponents of allotment. In 1881, he said that allotment was a policy “to despoil the Indians of their lands and to make them vagabonds on the face of the earth.” Teller also said, “the real aim [of allotment] was “to get at the Indian lands and open them up to settlement. The provisions for the apparent benefit of the Indians are but the pretext to get at his lands and occupy them….If this were done in the name of Greed, it would be bad enough; but to do it in the name of Humanity…is infinitely worse.” **

Messiah, there is such a gap between intent and actions. One the one hand, the Dawes Act points to a desire to respect the property of Native Americans. On the other hand, it ‘gives’ them title to land if they accept the conditions. Is this freedom, or fiefdom?

First, as a human being and fellow Minnesotan, I want to acknowledge our sin of envy. We are not content with what we have. Lord forgive us the envy contained in the Dawes Act of Native lands! Will You heal the whole inheritance of envy, and heal the lands that were annexed unjustly?

Second, I want to acknowledge the mixed motives of our hearts! I acknowledge the honest desire of many at this time that Native peoples assimilate and become one people with the United States, and with Minnesota. Many were motivated by a desire to share ‘common ground’ figuratively and literally with Indians. As in “I’m a simple Norwegian farmer who is trying to start a new life in America. What does my indian neighbor have against me? I used to hunt and fish with him. I’m not a land man for the railways, or a representative of the Department of the Interior, but their actions make me the bad guy to my Indian neighbors.”

Many Natives did not want to not feel the pains of being a foreign enclave in their homelands. While they resisted many aspects of Western Culture, they also admired and even craved some of its fruits: new technologies and techniques, trade for useful products, positive interactions with new neighbors, etc. They seemed to both admire and fear the new culture in their land. Some Natives willfully accepted new ways, and others did not.

Lord, have mercy on these hearts! Some on both sides of this divide, whether Immigrant or Indian, wanted to take a chance and embrace. Some were repelled by clashing with another culture. Lord forgive how we have feared our brother’s ways, and rejected what You have to teach us through him! Lord, forgive us our hesitancy to trust! Will you restore us to chesed? ***

Next, I want to acknowledge that both cultures succumbed to the “power men” within them. There were plenty of Minnesotans willing to capitalize on the imbalance of power the Dawes Act gave them! Too many tried to moralize the outright theft of property! They claimed desires to civilize native peoples to gain public approval for their land grab. Nothing changes. they are still among us. However, I mourn before you this day, and acknowledge this offense against my Native brothers! Have mercy! Will You reverse this curse? Will You restore these injustices?

Lastly, I want to acknowledge the counter judgments that some Native peoples made in response to these ‘land grabbers’. They chose to meet offense with counter offense. It is clear to see these fruits yielding a harvest of separation even today in our state. 

Will You have mercy on our natural desires for vengeance stemming from the Dawes Act? Will you give us a new common inheritance as Minnesotans? Will you take the bitter roots from our hands so that we can receive from You? When we must disagree, will You teach us to do it with understanding and respect? Amen.

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawes_Act

***  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chesed

 

 

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