MA 12




58.63 linear feet (61 boxes) audiocassettes, open reel tapes, wire recordings, films, photographs


South Dakota Farmers Union is a non-profit advocacy organization of small farmers, ranchers, and rural communities across the state. The Farmers Union was formed in 1917 and promotes education, cooperation, and legislation and local state, and national levels. The records are comprised of correspondence, meeting minutes, publications, scrapbooks, photographs, oral history interviews, audio-visual materials, and the records of local unions.

Historical Note

Newspaperman Isaac Newton Gresham founded the Farmers Educational and Cooperative Union at Point, Texas in 1902. The Union was organized to protect and promote the interests of family farmers. The Union became a national organization in 1905.

The Farmers Union came to South Dakota about 1914. Former members of the Nebraska Farmers Union who moved to South Dakota to farm introduced the organization. Farmer’s Union officials did much of the early work in organizing from Nebraska.

The Farmers Union of South Dakota was organized into a state unit at Mitchell on March 16, 1917. This was the first state convention to be held in South Dakota. There were fourteen counties represented at the convention by 268 delegates. By this time, there were 134 locals in South Dakota.

The educational program of the South Dakota Farmers Union has been a vital part of the state organization. The Union pioneered many activities in education that other state units adopted. One of the important functions of the early Union was the collective purchasing of supplies such as flour, coal, twine, etc.

Content Notes

The South Dakota Resources Coalition consists of administrative material and subject files. The administrative material consists of meeting minutes, committee files, correspondence, financial and membership records and publications. The subject files consist of research SDRC has performed throughout the years, mainly to assist them in their lobbying efforts. The subjects deal mainly with environmental issues as they relate to South Dakota.

SDSU Archives and Special Collections

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South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.


Copyright restrictions apply in different ways to different materials. Many of the documents and other historical materials in the Archives are in the public domain and may be reproduced and used in any way. There are other materials in the Archive carrying a copyright interest and must be used according to the provisions of Title 17 of the U.S. Code. The Archive issues a warning concerning copyright restrictions to every researcher who requests copies of documents. Although the copyright law is under constant redefinition in the courts, it is ultimately the responsibility of the researcher to properly use copyrighted material.