Action in politics and serious lobby efforts remains an unappreciated yet constant presence in the lives of farmers in Minnesota. A reminder of this omnipresent activity appeared in the pages of the Sherburne County Star News in June of 1927.
The newspaper reported nearly 5000 attended the Farm Bureau picnic held on June 7, at Eagle Lake. According to the paper, Farm Bureau President J. F. Reed addressed the large crowd and “illustrated the numerous ways” the Farm Bureau and local farmers helped each other. The overall message at the picnic revolved around the value of the Farm Bureau Federation and how the organized farmers produced “favorable legislation in the state legislature,”
Aside from the politics of the day, the local picnic committee created a number of events and contests to entertain the crowd. The committee consisted of J. J. Stumvoll, C. C. Dawson, guy LaPlant, Carl Bender and O. E. Tincher. The contests included: a hog calling contest, won by S. F. Seeley; a chicken calling contest won by Mr. George Rush; and a dinner calling contest won by Mrs. Joe Weis. The committee seemed determined to recognize and award as many people as possible at the picnic. Recognition at the day’s events included: girl with the prettiest red hair went to Inga Olson of Santiago, largest family in attendance went to the Ed T. Cox family. He brought 11 children to the festivities. The longest resident was Henry Orrock of Santiago and the tallest woman prize was given to Mrs. John Lindquist of Becker.
Through all of the contests and enjoyment, at the end of the day, the purpose of the picnic remained political activism in Minnesota. The late 1920s were difficult economic times for farmers in Minnesota. Picnics and gatherings similar to the Farm Bureau picnic were important tools for lobby efforts to the state legislature. The picnic reminded county residents the strength of unity within the community.