It started out small but became a very active group that met regularly in the area. The Farm Women Club was founded with the goal of getting together to appreciate and celebrate farm women and their achievements.
The club was organized in 1972 after founder Delores Peterson had read an article in the Farm Wife magazine that encouraged farm women to celebrate "being farm women."
It was at this point that Peterson said she contacted three homemakers groups around Underwood asking them to organize a program.
“Olive Neitfeld was in charge of feeding a total of 100 people who came to the decorated Underwood gym. Door prizes were collected from area businesses. A fun time was had by all,” stated Peterson.
Peterson said that shortly after that first event, some farm women approached her and offered to help for future events.
Several other committee members were added over the years, but for a while the organization continued to be rather small but did have very productive gatherings and activities.
Over time they gathered in churches, once at the Holiday Inn (now Country Inn and Suites in Fergus Falls) in a blizzard and over 300 people were in attendance at the National Guard Armory. Peterson said Creative Catering of Fergus Falls provided wonderful meals over the years as well.
With all the successes of the Farm Women Club, unfortunately the committee decided it was time to end in 2002.
A final event took place that featured wonderful door prizes that were provided by area farm equipment businesses as well as area stores.
Peterson mentioned over the years the event played host to some amazing speakers such as Garrison Keillor of the former Prairie Home Companion show on National Public Radio, some awesome musical groups and Ann Kaiser, editor of the Farm Wife magazine who was actually a guest speaker Nov. 11, 1977. Additionally, Kaiser was also an overnight guest at the Peterson farm home in Underwood.
"There were many other farm wives that served on the committee over the years from various communities in Otter Tail County. It was a very fun group helping others celebrate their role as farm women. Many in their 80’s and 90’s attended because there had never been such a celebration 'for them' before," said Peterson.
Following the last event organized by the farm women, farm wife scrapbooks and the club banner were eventually donated to the Otter Tail County Historical Society.
However, sometimes former members of the committee have continued meeting, organizing as Red Hats for a while. According to their website at redhatsociety.com, they are an international social organization that was founded in 1998 in the United States for women aged 50 and beyond, but now open to women of all ages.
Peterson said they now just gather monthly to eat, share stories and continue their friendship.
Discuss the news on NABUR, a place to have local conversations The Neighborhood Alliance for Better Understanding and Respect ✔ A site just for our local community ✔ Focused on facts, not misinformation ✔ Free for everyone