On May 11, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 7037 to create the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), a New Deal public relief program. The program provided $1 million for federal loans to bring electric service to rural areas. It revolutionized life in rural Minnesota and across the country.
The U.S. Congress paved the way for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) when it passed the Emergency Conservation Work (ECW) Act in March 1933, at the height of the Great Depression. This New Deal program offered meaningful work to young men with few employment prospects. It resulted in a lasting legacy of forestry, soil, and water conservation, as well as enhancements to Minnesota's state and national parks.
The American Civil War was a pivotal period for Oliver Kelley, his family, and his farm. Kelley had an appetite for innovation just as armies of the era had an enormous appetite for vast quantities of food. When the war came to an end, Kelley was called upon by President Johnson to assess the dire condition of farms in the South.
Kelley Farm staff Bob Quist and Ann Bercher explain how this work informed Kelley's thinking and sparked his idea for a national network of farmers.