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Bergman selected for N. Ag Hall of Fame

If you go What: North Dakota Agriculture Hall of Fame induction ceremony Who: Alan Bergman and James Tilton When: 1:45 p.m. Saturday, March 11 Where: main arena, North Dakota Winter Show Event Center, 700 7th St. SE, Valley City. rrr Alan Bergman...

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Alan Bergman

If you go

What: North Dakota Agriculture Hall of Fame induction ceremony

Who: Alan Bergman and James Tilton

When: 1:45 p.m. Saturday, March 11

Where: main arena, North Dakota Winter Show Event Center, 700 7th St. SE, Valley City.

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Alan Bergman remembers all too well the turbulent times that farming and agriculture went through during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Bergman, of Jud, was president of North Dakota Farmers Union from 1986 to 1996, a time marked by drought and financial crisis for most North Dakota farmers. He is being honored for his contributions to agriculture in the state by being inducted into the North Dakota Agriculture Hall of Fame on Saturday, March 11, at the North Dakota Winter Show in Valley City.

Richard Schlosser, a farmer in Edgeley, said he got to know Bergman serving on a policy committee at NDFU. Schlosser said he and Bergman also worked together on various grower and producer cooperatives.

"He (Bergman) is very deserving (of being inducted into the North Dakota Agriculture Hall of Fame), especially for his work with the co-ops," he said. "His ability to promote the cooperatives was second to none."

Schlosser said when he was new to NDFU's policy committee he relied on Bergman's knowledge of federal farm policy to guide him in his work.

Bergman said NDFU advocated and worked to help farmers get through the late 1980s and early 1990s.

"At the time the credit crisis was significant for North Dakota," Bergman said. "The big banks closed up shop and left and the Farmers Home Administration came under all kinds of pressure to find solutions."

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Bergman said working with other national farmer groups, the NDFU was able to get changes made at the state level to deal with the credit crisis. He said the NDFU and other national farmer groups were able establish a credit counseling service where farmers and their lenders could work out arrangements for paying back loans.

"For a number of people the solutions worked out meant there would be money left on the table," he said.

During the drought, Bergman said NDFU worked with North Dakota's congressional delegation and then-Gov. George Sinner to bring the chair of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee to the state to see the drought-stricken fields firsthand.

"At the time (federal government) crop insurance wasn't as good of a product as it is today," he said.

Bergman said all the national farmer associations were able to get legislation passed through Congress that would help farmers in need of relief from the drought. Disaster aid was made available to farmers and ranchers looking at losses from the drought.

Bergman said he is proud of the work that happened when he was NDFU president. He said he is also proud of NDFU's involvement in a lawsuit brought by the North Dakota Farm Bureau against the state of North Dakota to have the state's anti-corporate farming laws declared unconstitutional. He said the laws were initiated by the people back in the 1920s and were affirmed in another vote by North Dakotans in 2016.

"I was involved in getting the referendum on the ballot (in June 2016)," he said. "The voters responded very positively to it (the referendum). I'm baffled by the Farm Bureau suing the state saying this is unconstitutional."

Bergman retired from farming 10 years ago and spends his winters in Arizona. In addition to his time with NDFU, he was also one of the founding partners in the Dakota Pride Cooperative. He said Dakota Pride, which is a marketing co-op for speciality grains, oilseeds and soybeans, was started as a way to offer farmers an option to grow specialty crops.

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Bergman also served on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's task force on research facilities in 1997. He said the task force's work was to devise a 10-year strategic plan to assure the existence of adequate research facilities for agriculture and U.S. producers. Bergman said the task force members found that the research facilities run in tandem with state universities were usually the better run facilities.

Bergman has also established scholarships for NDFU youth programs.

Related Topics: AGRICULTURE
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