DURING THE DEPRESSION of the thirties, we of the Farm Bureau hung on for all we were worth. Our dues had dropped from ten dollars to five and then to two and much of the time we were collecting no dues at all. Things got very tense, although we never missed a payroll. I think we survived because we were engaged in purchasing and service. People had to have insurance for their cars and farmers had to buy feed and seed and fertilizer, even if the prices of what they sold were very low.
Despite my conviction that we were able to make their hard times easier, farmers resisted joining the Farm Bureau. This bothered me. If what we had was as good as we thought it was, why did we still have to go out and drive the roads to get the farmer to join? I finally decided that we had to find some educational system that would convince farmers they ought to join with their friends and neighbors for their own common good. But how to do it? Everywhere I went, at every institution where I spoke, I asked the same question of people: What kind of a system must you have to educate people for action in their own interest? My question just seemed to go over the heads of many. But asking it led me to do a lot of studying and probing and eventually it brought me to the place where, much to my surprise, people were addressing me as something of an authority on adult education. Years later, in fact, it brought me an appointment to President Harry Truman's Commission on Higher Education.
Actually, my interest started from a disappointment. I'd