University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives
Journal of Cooperatives

Title The NFO-A Farm Belt Rebel
Author(s) Donald Muhm
Series Volume 14
Issue Date 1999

The book begins with a preface describing the creation of U.S. farm organizations that preceded the National Farmers' Organization (NF0) in 1955. The earliest reference was "Shays Rebellion" centered in Massachusetts in 1786-87. The Grange, American Farm Bureau Federation, and National Farmers' Union, like NFO, remain active today. The author completes the breif review of history by mentioning the "Farm Unity Coalition" (1980s) and "Friends of Agriculture" (1990s). The latter is a response to the industrialization of Iowa's swine industry.

The following chapters are a commentary on leadership within the NFO, including, but not limited to, those who served as presidents of the organization. In addition, there are chapters devoted to significant events that defined NFO. These included holding actions (five chapters), hog kills, court battles (two chapters), and financial struggles.

In journalistic style, the author begins each chapter reminding the reader of salient events and circumstances pertaining to the subject. This, unfortunately, proves to be repetetive and boring for the reader. In the author's defense, much NFO activity was tightly compacted into the organization's early years, making a reporting of its history a challenging undertaking.

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