Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Johnson, William C. (William Carl), 1937-||Dubin, Martin David, 1931-

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


National Farmers Organization (United States)


The Problem. Over the course of the last twelve years a major new agricultural interest group has appeared on the American scene. It is the National Farmers Organization (NFO). Its philosophy, objectives, methods, and tactics immediately set It apart from the other major farm organizations. The organization has accomplished several difficult tasks: it organized 25 states; it led its members into two major national commodity holding actions in an attempt to force collective bargaining contracts upon food processors and; it has initiated marketing agreements with numerous processors that have altered the marketing structure of American agriculture. There has been very little in depth study of the formal structure and internal politics of the NFO, its objective of collective bargaining, and the efforts already undertaken to implement that objective. This thesis is an attempt to fill that void and to determine whether or not group theory is a good device to use in explaining the group life of the NFO. The Methods. Three basic types of data were gathered for this thesis: historical, analytical and comparative. Information dealing with agricultural history and the development of the NFO was found in several major studies of American agriculture and periodicals disseminated by the NFO. Analytical information was gathered from personal interviews with NFO members and employees, a visit to the 1966 national convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and several county meetings in Iowa. Additional data was gathered from the basic documents of the NFO, which were procured either from NFO employees or the national office in Corning, Iowa. The basic comparative data was found in numerous volumes of the National Commission on Food Marketing and political science studies dealing with group theory. Summary of Findings. This thesis reached several major conclusions about the NFO. 1. Group theory is a useful device in explaining the group life of the NFO. The organization possesses all of the characteristics of an interest group. 2. The question of whether or not the NFO will endure has not been answered. It is an organization based upon a single goal, collective bargaining. This goal has not yet been achieved. 3. Evidence seems to suggest that the organization is moving slowly towards its objectives. 4. No definitive conclusions can be drawn yet about the organizations methods. 5. One of the major obstacles impeding the advance of the organization is the lack of meaningful communication about group problems between the leaders and followers. 6. The organization's administrative and legislative lobbying efforts at local, state, and national government have been largely ineffective. The NFO has been successful only when it has joined forces with other major farm groups in a lobbying coalition. 7. The organization is difficult to research and analyze because of the high degree of secrecy in which it operates.


Includes bibliographical references.


xi, 116 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type