WWII POWs Topic of Interest at County Annual Meeting

The Clay and Wilkin County Soybean and Corn Growers began their week with an annual meeting, which was held Nov. 30 in Moorhead, Minn. Keynote speaker Mark Peihl, Archivist at the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County, shared photos and artifacts with farmers that demonstrated how the German POWs cultivated and harvested crops for local farmers in the 1940s. The POWs stayed at camps around the region, which were off-shoots of Iowa’s Algona POW camp.

“Many of the POWs sent back letters to area farmers who they worked for thanking them for the great treatment they received,” Peihl said. “Two such farmers even went as far as to say that the few years working on those farms were the best years of their life.”

The first year, 1945, about 150 POWs came to the region due to area farmers Paul Horn and Hank Peterson putting in a request for farm workers.

Proceeding Peihl’s historical area agricultural presentation, the Clay and Wilkin County Soybean and Corn Growers Association hosted a meal and held a business meeting, honoring this year’s scholarship winners, 2015 ASA/DuPont Young Leaders Taylor & Rebecca Tesch of Sabin, Minn., and presented a Merit Award to Jerry Janssen, past board member of over 15 years.

This year’s scholarship winners included:

• Evan Bates of Hawley – attending North Dakota State University for Crop & Weed Science
• Rylee Anderson of Barnesville – attending Concordia College for Business Management
• Adam Friederichs of Breckenridge – attending North Dakota State School of Science for Crop Production and Services
• Eric Bakken of Wolverton – attending North Dakota State School of Science for Ag Production & Sales Technology

Wrapping up the business portion of the meeting, the growers voted three new members onto their county board: Jeremy Tischer of Barnesville, Minn.; Rebecca Tesch of Sabin; and Kyle Hoff of Breckenridge, Minn. Retiring board members are Preston Dagen, Matt Gilbertson and Brian Petermann.

The Clay & Wilkin County Soybean and Corn Growers Association is affiliated with the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), a non-profit organization controlled by a board of elected soybean producers from across the state who directs the investments of the state’s soybean checkoff dollars into programs designed to increase the profitability of Minnesota’s soybean farmers. The Clay & Wilkin County Soybean & Corn Growers Association and their checkoffs were pleased to provide the annual meeting speaker this year.