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The Implement Men


On this date in 1946, over 300 dealers of farm equipment braved the cold weather and slippery roads of a North Dakota December as they descended upon Fargo for a three-day convention. The second annual farm dealership conference was sponsored by the North Dakota Implement Dealers Association. The first conference, the year before, had attracted an attendance of 700. With more dealers showing their wares, the Association predicted an even larger gathering. With a membership of more than 600, Secretary George Dixon reported that the Association was the largest trade association in the state.

One of the highlights of the conference was an address by Representative Fred L. Crawford of Saginaw, Michigan. Crawford’s trip to the conference had been financed by the Republican National Committee. He told attendees that the farm implement dealer was a missionary, informing farmers not only about new equipment, but about economic and political trends as well. He said the dealers met farmers in their shops, at community meetings, at the Farm Bureau, and on the farms. He said it was important for dealers to remind farmers that shortages were due to restraint of trade. Crawford blamed this on the labor movement, which he called the “labor Frankenstein.” He also blamed Congress for passing legislation he said was beneficial to unions at the detriment of others. He urged dealers to act as missionaries to help generate public opinion to inspire change.

Crawford went on to remind his audience that the United States had invested half a billion dollars in two world wars, in addition to the loss of life. The wars, he said, had been a drain on the country’s natural resources, and it was now time to invest in the national economy once again. Crawford said that the world economy hung in the balance.

The conference was not entirely political. Past presidents of the Implement Dealers Association were presented with keys representing their service to the organization. Dealers participated in panel discussions about current innovations and future trends. And attendees gathered for meals at popular spots like the Gardner hotel.

The newspaper reported that the conference was well-attended and appeared to surpass the previous year’s meeting.

Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher


Fargo Forum. “Implement Men Open 3-Day Session.” 2 December, 1946.

Fargo Forum. Implement Men Hear Crawford.” 3 December, 1946.