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Harald N Opdahl

Harald Opdahl
Harald N Opdahl

Eminent Farmer

County: Hamlin

Harald Norman Opdahl was born on a farm in Opdahl township, Hamlin County, November 29, 1882, just two miles from his present farm home.

Harald attended school in Opdahl district No. 1.

He married Anna Stormo, a neighbor farm girl, October 7, 1908, and about a month later homesteaded in Stanley County, South Dakota.  In the spring of 1910 they moved back to Hamlin County and bought their present 160-acre home three miles west and two north of Hayti, South Dakota.  Another eighty acres was acquired in 1934.

He milked twenty to thirty high-producing Holstein cows from 1920 until 1943.  As long as the cow testing association was active in the county, he worked closely with it.  The use of good sires was another practice he followed closely.

While he emphasized dairying, the Opdahl farm carried diversified projects.  He cropped his fields heavily, but gave a lot of thought to maintaining the soil’s fertility.

The family “Day Book” has been an important part of his farming operations.  There are now twenty volumes of this book.

At the age of twenty-one his neighbors placed him on the local school board, with the exception of five years, he held this position until 1943.  He has served on the county Extension board since the beginning of extension work in the county; he was chairman for twelve years.  He has been secretary of the Hamlin County Cooperative Oil Company since it was organized in 1930.  He has been a member of the board of the Hayti Farmer’s Elevator Company for forty years.

Since 1916, he has been secretary of the Opdahl Mutual Fire Insurance Company.

Opdahl was the first county chairman for the AAA.  He has served as township assessor for a number of years.  He has been a member of the Hamlin County Crop Improvement Association since it was organized and was active in the county cow testing association.

In 1948 his neighbors elected him County Commissioner for the fourth district for a four-year term.  A member of the New Hope Lutheran Church, Mr. Opdahl was treasurer for the congregation for thirty-one years.  He has taught a Sunday School class for more than twenty years.