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

Legislature Halts Farm Foreclosures

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Photo credit: http://www.mnopedia.org/group/farmers-holiday-association-minnesota

May 1, 1933
Members of the National Farmers’ Holiday Association march on Saint Paul. Arguing that drought and bad economic conditions are beyond their control, the farmers demand an end to mortgage foreclosures and the development of a refinancing program.
John Bosch of Willmar leads the state’s Farmers’ Holiday movement. He promotes the nonviolence of Mohandas Gandhi. On May 1, 1933, the legislature—at the urging of Governor Floyd B. Olson—passes an emergency law stopping farm foreclosure sales until farm prices rise.*

Thesis. Counter-thesis. Synthesis. Though we try Lord, we cannot live in a vacuum. We are individual cells that must function as a body. Will You give inspiration and insights into this Minnesota event today? Will You give revelation of the hearts of those involved and their inner motives?

Let’s start with getting a grip as to what motivated the Farmers Holiday Association. It’s national presence was started by Milo Reno, and soon permeated the Midwest. Its’ adherents believed that withholding crops and livestock from the market would drive prices up. A slogan from the time read, “Lets call a Farmer’s Holiday, a Holiday let’s hold. We’ll eat our wheat and ham and eggs, And let them eat their gold”.**

To provide further backdrop, please read the following except from Robert P. Murphy’s “Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal.”

“Murray Rothbard argues that if one looks at content, rather than labels, then a fair case can be made that the “New Deal” program of farm intervention began under Herbert Hoover, not Franklin Roosevelt. Hoover had supported the farm bloc throughout his political career, and during his first presidential campaign promised he would institute a price-support program. He proved true to his word in June 1929 ( three months after he was sworn in as President) with the creation of the Federal Farm Board (FBB). The FBB was initially allocated $500 million to give low-interest rate loans to farm cooperatives, and it also had the power (through corporations it had created) to buy surplus farm products off the market and hence prop up their prices. (Hoover won an additional $100 million for the FBB in the spring of 1930.)
As usual, throwing tax dollars at the problem only made it worse. In a market economy, if a particular group of producers, even the cherished farmer, can’t make a living, then it means that there are too many people in that line of work. Heartless as it sounds, the only sustainable solution to the problem of inadequate farm income was for the least efficient farmers to find other careers. Actual and promised government “support” allowed these marginal producers to limp along, so that there really was overproduction in the subsidized crops. (This is different from the belief that the Depression was due to a general overproduction in that sector but underproduction elsewhere.) Realizing that this practice of “buy high, sell low” was wasting tax dollars, and that the price supports were leading to ever-growing stockpiles in government silos, the FBB took the next “logical” step of ordering output restrictions (while maintaining price supports!)***

So now we know the big picture, but how does it apply to our State? Mr Bosch had a friend whose farm was to be auctioned off. To help this friend, local farmers would crowd so many around the auctioneer that no one else could hear the bids, and then they would bid “one cent” per each item so that their neighbor could buy his property back for a few cents and keep his way of life. Another foreclosure was stopped using similar tactics.

Bosch then pondered how to improve the plight of farmers. He came up with the following program:
“1) the farmers demanded a mortgage moratorium at once, 2) a price level for farm products equal to the cost of production, 3) abolish the Federal Reserve system, and 4) in the event of war all corporation profits involved in the manufacture of war materials were to be taxed 100%.” ****

Farmers were asked not to sell any farm products nor pay any mortgage debts until these demands were met. Also, they went further in blockading U.S. Highway 12 near Atwater, and asking drivers to return their shipments as a sign of support. These actions were recognized by the Roosevelt administration and led to remedial legislation. ****

So we pray to the Lord, Will You forgive our offenses to You through the broken relationships in the production, buying, selling, and distribution of food? Your Words tell us very clearly, “The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.” NASB ***** Yet, we have met offense with counter-offense, and an escalation of pain. Have mercy.

Will You forgive our politicians, both locally and nationally, of ways they benefitted from this problem? Both Hoover and FDR wanted to micromanage a problem that their policies had created. They wanted votes and support for their solutions, but did not do so within the bounds of the Constitution. Will You give honor to them where it is due, and rebuke to the vanity of our Federal government? Though the role of our Federal government is clearly defined, it has continually broken its boundaries with the American farmer. Have mercy, the government is not our Savior!

Will You forgive the offenses of these farmers, and the wider offenses of society towards them? No one faults a man who fights for his life. Will You forgive these farmers the pain their righteous indignation caused others who had not caused them harm? O G-d, we do it over and over again, we are most vulnerable to the Enemy of All when we are the victim. We do not forgive because we do not realize our depth of offense against the Only Just One. We transfer our victimization onto our neighbor, who transfers it to the next victim, and the next! Will You forgive these sins of the “good guys” in agriculture?

Will You forgive our bankers and financiers their contributions to this painful event? It is an interesting note that Bosch lists the Federal Reserve as an enemy worth abolishing. Though created to stop the manipulations of our currency, and the excesses of stock market driven panics, it has failed to do either.

It drives the value of the dollar to only a few cents of its former gold and silver backed value, drives the hidden tax of inflation, and silently confiscates the wealth of generations of American families and farmers! Which of our great grandparents would think that we show economic responsibility by our level of debt? Yet, we can scarcely buy or sell any large ticket item without the assessment of our credit? We have mostly accepted this false premise as citizens of Minnesota and the United States. Will You help us to reject it? Will You make us creditors rather than debtors? Will You call the FRS to account for the legalized slavery of Your people, Your assets, and Your natural resources?

We invite Your Farmers Holiday on all who grow, ship, or buy food! Help us tear up the other guy’s mortgage, and remain humbly grateful for the bounties of Minnesota! Amen.

* 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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farmers%27_Holiday_Association
*** Robert P. Murphy, A Politically Incorrect Guide to the Depression and the New Deal. (Washington D.C.: Regenery, 2009) pp 55-57
**** http://www.willmarlakesarea.com/attractions/historical-sites/farm-holiday/
***** https://biblehub.com/psalms/24-1.htm

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20th Century, Americana, History, Minnesota, sports, Uncategorized

All-American Gopher

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1929
Gopher football legend Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is named All-American at tackle and fullback, the only player ever chosen at two positions.

Later a star with the Chicago Bears, Nagurski signs a contract for $5,000 and pockets another $50 for endorsing Wheaties cereal. After retiring in the 1940s, he will buy and run a gas station in International Falls.*

“(MINNESOTA)…6’2”, 226…BRONISLAW NAGURSKI . . .BECAME PRO FOOTBALL’S SYMBOL OF POWER, RUGGEDNESS. . . A BULLDOZING RUNNER ON OFFENSE, A BONE-CRUSHING LINEBACKER ON DEFENSE. . . GAINED 4031 YARDS IN 9 SEASONS . . .ALL-NFL, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1936, 1937. . .HIS TWO TD PASSES CLINCHED BEARS’ 1933 TITLE WIN. . .HELPED 1943 BEARS TO NFL CROWN AFTER FIVE-YEAR RETIREMENT. . .BORN NOVEMBER 3, 1908, IN RAINY RIVER, ONTARIO. . .DIED JANUARY 7, 1990, AT AGE OF 81.” **

“Sports Illustrated named Nagurski one of the four greatest athletes in Minnesota state history (the other three were Dave Winfield, Kevin McHale, and Joe Mauer).” ***

What is it about tough guys that impress us so much, Father? More exactly, how do tough guys, like Bronko, reflect the image of their Creator? In the present era of kinder, gentler, and more sensitive maleness this could foster a normalcy bias crisis; how can a macho man give pleasure to a just G-d?

I think of the unnamed wife of Manoah that was addressed by the angel of the Lord;
“You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” **** Judges 13:5

Granted, Nagurski wasn’t fighting for the survival of his people like Samson, but he was given the gift of his physicality and strength. That alone is not enough to create a champion. Bronko clearly battled his opponents on the gridiron with the unstoppable heart of a champion; a spirit that would not give up!

So, this day we give You thanks for life of Bronko Nagurski! We thank You for the strength of his body, and of his mind. We see the unfailing love of G-d better through this image!

We thank You for the amount of work he did as a teen: delivering groceries, plowing, working the sawmill, and laboring at the timber camps. We thank You for this part of his life too, and that he chose to help out his folks and do a man’s work because he could. We see Your rewards for being faithful in small things that leads to bigger things.

We thank You that he chose to become a Minnesota Gopher. He added an unforgettable gravity to a team already formidable. His work ethic pushed his teammates to give 110% effort resulting in championships. We give You thanks for the way he contributed to bettering the University of Minnesota: in acclaim, in momentary greatness, and in ticket sales.

What I learn today sitting with You thinking on this; You love when we discover who we are, accept it, and live out our potential. Bronko was a tough kid from a no-nonsense place up north. He was accustomed to high alert, dangerous, and very physically demanding jobs.

Perhaps, this same work ethic is what made him a champion on the field? We give You thanks for Your work ethic on display through the life and career of Bronislau Nagurski. May we receive from You the same embrace of our gifts, a resolute spirit, and some holy toughness to power over, under, or through the challenges in front of us? Help us move the ball down field!

“He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength;
He goes out to meet the weapons.
He laughs at fear and is not dismayed;
And he does not turn back from the sword.” Job 39:21-22

* 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!
** http://www.profootballhof.com/players/bronko-nagurski/
*** http://prowrestling.wikia.com/wiki/Bronko_Nagurski
**** Judges 13:5 http://biblehub.com/judges/13-5.htm

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20th Century, Americana, Architecture, Business, Energy, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Foshay Tower

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1929
Wilbur B. Foshay builds a 32-floor headquarters for his utilities empire in downtown Minneapolis. The Foshay Tower is the tallest building in Minnesota for half a century.
The stock market crash, scarcely a month after the tower’s dedication, puts an end to Foshay’s fortune and the giddy speculation of the 1920s. The next year, the tower is put on the auction block. There are no buyers.*

Foshay was a vigorous young man who started as a gas pipefitter and electrician. By 1916, he worked his way up to owning a public utilities holding company. (A holding company is created to buy and possess the shares of other companies, which it then controls.) *** “By 1928, he was a prosperous man, at least on paper. His company owned utilities in thirty states, the then-territory of Alaska, Canada, and Central America.” **

“Foshay built the Foshay Tower in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which opened in August 1929. In 1932 he was convicted of conducting a “pyramid scheme” with shares of his own stock. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison. President Franklin Roosevelt commuted 10 years from Foshay’s sentence, but Foshay only actually served three years in Leavenworth because of “good behavior.” President Harry Truman granted Foshay a full and unconditional pardon in 1947.” ****

What do You wish to say through Foshay’s tower story, Eternal Father? Let us listen and reflect with You, and more completely know Your heart. What is it that You affirm about this man and his age, and what is it that You wish to correct?

To begin, I see a man who started simply working hard in the field he loved; providing utilities. It seems to fit his character as an entrepreneur and a man of enthusiasm. Was it this same vitality that created the conditions for his downfall?

Like Foshay, we are drawn to play to our strengths, but sometimes are blinded by our own glory. We lose our ability to harness our zeal, and do not operate with the self- control required to better use our giftings. Will You forgive Foshay the excesses of his spiritedness against Your will? Will You forgive us where we resist You today, not yielding an inch to be called out of the comforts of our best attributes if it means humbling ourselves before You or others?

Conversely, will You forgive the judgements of Foshay’s detractors? Will You forgive any jealousies of his competitors in public utilities? Will You forgive those who modeled or endorsed the corrupt practices of his “pyramid scheme”?

All of us, high to low, have fallen prey to greed at some level. Men like Foshay inflate the value of their stock, bankers and politicians hide debt by devaluing currency, and the poor commit fraud against all kinds of social services overdrawing on the charity of society. We have negated fair rules and have sought a deck stacked for us and against our neighbor; have mercy!

All of us, low to high, have taken the bait of envy. We have made ourselves look better than we really are, and have underscored the flaws of our equals to get ahead. Will You forgive us this debt to give honor back to our peers? Will You forgive our lack of gratitude for our competitors, or the awareness that You have uniquely positioned them (by Your wisdom) in our lives?

Regardless of internal motives, we acknowledge the work of Mr. Foshay, and the iconic tower still bearing his name. We are grateful that You understand us: whether we build empires with bad hearts, or have a poor work ethic with good hearts. We honor Your acceptance as the highest tower over our city. You are the Master Builder. Amen!

And then he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I’ll store all my grain and goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat drink and be merry.” ‘
But G-d said to him, ‘You fool! this very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
“This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward G-d.” ***** Luke 12:16-21 NIV

* 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!
** An excellent summary of Foshay’s life by Britt Aamodt. http://www.mnopedia.org/person/foshay-wilbur-1881-1957
*** https://www.bing.com/search?q=definition+of+holding+company&form=APMCS1&PC=APMC
**** Excerpt from the Salida, Colorado museum where Foshay palyed a key role in the Chamber of Commerce after pardon. https://salidamuseum.org/history/wibur-foshay/
***** http://biblehub.com/context/luke/12-16.htm

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

Canning Corn Innovation

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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 to 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 to 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 G-d the Father set his seal. John 6:27 KJV ****

 

* 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!
** 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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