By Tom Giessel, NFU Historian

Farmers Union’s history is rich with colorful characters, amazing achievements, and both humorous and serious stories of endurance and survival.

Virtually all Farmers Union organizational, business, legislative and social activities were prefaced and referenced with education.  It is no accident that “Education” takes a prominent place not only in our official name, but is the base of our long-time logo, the FU Triangle.  Our founders were well aware our legislative and cooperative efforts would fail without investment in proper education.
The 1930’s saw an explosion in organized education programs, which started on the state level and grew into a national effort. The range of activities grew as well, such activities as speech contest, plays, bands, glee clubs, baseball teams, drill teams, picnics, jack rabbit hunts, oyster feeds and a host of other activities.  Education has always served as the unifier of Farmers Union.

After four years of independent research, I finally found the time to travel to Norlin Library in Boulder, Colo. to visit the NFU archives.  It was a pilgrimage of sorts, a journey I have long awaited.  I was not disappointed.

I saw the birth, the pains and joys the journey of the organization from its earliest days.  There were the failures and triumphs and generosity.  There were the high points and low points, the builders and the “kickers,” the movers and the shakers, the leaders and the statesmen.  I saw NFU’s priorities of education, cooperation and legislation take shape.  There were men, women and children, and families. There were tears and laughter and many great speeches.

This year, NFU will celebrate its 75th All-States Leadership Camp.  An anniversary party and reunion will be held on Saturday, July 16. All are welcome. Bring your family!   Hear speakers like Ruth Kobell who attended the first All-States Camp in the 1930s and many years after as a staff member. Walk through the NFU education center A-frame nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  Click here to register.

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