Merle Hanson, was married and began farming in the Beresford, South Dakota, community in 1934, after working five years as an area salesman for the J.R. Watkins Company.
He became involved in a large number of community causes. In 1936 he helped promote the idea of a Lincoln-Union electric power line for the area. Since, he has hit the roads of Lincoln County to obtain memberships for rural fire trucks, the Heart Fund, March of Dimes, War Bonds and the list goes on.
His farm started as a well diversified unit including rotational cropping of corn, small grain, legumes, and soybeans. There was a milking herd of 12 to 20 cows. In 1941 he bought a second unit and in 1959 took his sons in as partners. By this time they were farming 720 acres, feeding 500 to 1,000 cattle a year and raising 1,000 to 1,500 hogs.
Not just a good farmer, Hanson is a pleasant individual who has that unusual ability to listen to any idea, examine it, evaluate it, and if he decides it is good for the community will work his heart out to achieve it.
While heading his farm operation he found time to: lead the Brooklyn Livestock 4-H Club 16 years; serve on the Township Board 21 years; clerk on the Millbrook School District Board 15 years; help organize a Local Soil and Water Conservation District and serve as Community Committeeman for the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service since 1936.
He was named to the Lincoln County Extension Board in 1947 where he helped start a County Extension Program and has just completed a three-year term as area representative to the Statewide Extension Board.
He was on the Farmers Elevator Board from 1952 until 1967, serving as chairman for ten years; joined the International Order of Odd Fellows in 1929 and went through the chairs of that organization. In addition he has been active in his County Farmers Union organization and as a member of the Skrefsrud Lutheran Church.
The Hansons have two sons and a daughter. Jim continues to farm with his father and Gary has moved to a farm near Bushnell, South Dakota. Mary is now Mrs. Gary Pool of St Paul, Minnesota.