Our History

North Dakota Farmers Union

North Dakota Farmers Union History


Charles Talbott

A proud heritage
North Dakota Farmers Union was established in 1927 around the principles of cooperation, legislation and education. The organization received its national charter on Nov. 4, 1927, at its first convention in Jamestown. With a record 13,000 farmers, NDFU had the largest membership at that time among the 31 states in which Farmers Union was active. Charles Talbott, a chief organizer and passionate believer in the power of Farmers Union to counteract economic injustice, was elected first president.

The farm movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries fostered cooperatives as a solution to the economic plight of farmers, educating them on cooperative principles and the basics of working together. Cooperatives in North Dakota began essentially as buying clubs in which farmers saved money by pooling their order to buy staples such as twine, coffee, salt and coal. From this group effort, the understanding and experience in cooperative purchasing and marketing developed into Farmers Union oil and elevator companies. READ MORE

North Dakota Farmers Union can trace its legislative roots back to the Farm Storage Act of 1929, which was the first piece of legislation sponsored by Farmers Union. The North Dakota bill, drawn up by Usher Burdick, allowed that farm grainaries could be eligible as public warehouses. The legislation was signed into law by Gov. George F. Schafer while NDFU president Charlie Talbott looked on.READ MORE

North Dakota Farmers Union has made the education of members a priority since the founding of the organization. With established programs for both young and old, the organization has used a variety of mediums to get news out to members throughout history. In 1931, NDFU began a weekly, Monday-night radio program on KFYR Radio of Bismarck that reached nearly every farm home in the state.READ MORE