The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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The OSU Extension Service Centennial Oral History Collection

August 2007 - June 2009 – 10:00a.m.

Audio: Harold Kerr and Tom Zinn . February 24, 2008

Location: Zinn residence, Corvallis, Oregon.
Interviewer:  Elizabeth Uhlig

3:58:35 - Abstract | Biography | Download Transcript (PDF)


*Note: Interview recorded to audio only.

Elizabeth Uhlig: This is the Extension Service oral history project. Today we're interviewing Harold Kerr and Tom Zinn. We're in Tom's home in Corvallis. Today is February 23, 2008. My name is Elizabeth Uhlig.

Harold, let's start with you. Do you want to tell us where you grew up and where you were born?

Harold Kerr: Well, I was born in a little town that almost doesn't exist anymore called Arbuckle, California. I-5 goes right alongside of it and it's out in the middle of the rice paddies in northern California. We moved to Lakeview, Oregon in 1947 when I was 12 years old. I had started 4-H in California raising rabbits for one year, and then we moved to Lakeview and bought a 480 acre farm that was - about 300 acres of it was irrigated. I'm the oldest of five children.

And we started a 4-H club in Lakeview – we were all in the Henny Penny Poultry Club and we ordered 50 chicks, straight run, they came to the Post Office. There were about 12 of us in the club, so the Post Office was pretty noisy that morning with all those baby chicks. So we took them home and each of us raised 50 chicks. My older sister and brother were involved too and we had the prizes for the first egg that was laid by any one of the club members, and the first rooster that got to three pounds. And we participated in the Lake County Fair and Rodeo Parade where we found an old buggy and white-washed it white and the girls sat in the buggy and held the chickens in cages and the boys pulled the buggy in the parade.

After that we moved then into swine and mostly beef; raised short horn steers that we bought from our parents. And then when I got into high school I also had FFA projects. You couldn't have the same project in both youth groups, but I raised potatoes and pigs in FFA and beef in 4-H and switched around a little bit through the years.

EU: So, in addition to all this 4-H experience, did you also work on your own farm? Can you tell us a little bit about your family farm and ranch?

HK: This family farm was, I guess you could call it, diversified. We had about 60 short horns, and Mom had two thousand chickens. We gathered and cleaned and washed and boxed eggs, and she delivered them house to house in the town of Lakeview and almost put Safeway out of the egg business because she had so many eggs going to town.

EU: How far did you live outside of Lakeview?

HK: We were about seven miles out in an old farm home that had never been painted, never had a foundation. And through the years it settled and there's a story that goes with that later, because when my wife and I got married and moved back to the farm after the Army, we moved back into that old farmhouse and there's a story or two that goes with that later on.

EU: So, did you help your mother then?

HK: Oh yeah. Mom was pretty unique individual. She worked in the field right with us. She could lift bales and do it all day long just as well as my brother and I and probably better than our Dad who had arthritis and that kind of thing. She worked full time in the field, and then when we went to the house for lunch we stretched out on the floor and she fixed our meal and we did little chores outside and then went back to the field. It seemed like we always had farm work to do, even though the winters in Lakeview are pretty long and not any farm work going on, but with two thousand chickens and five or six sows and 60 beef cows to feed and our 4-H animals, it just seemed like there was always chores to do.

Oh, and then another part – Dad always had four milk cows and the kids got to use - the cream check was our money, but we had to milk those cows every morning at six. And that was the only rule that my brother and I had as we were growing up. When we came into high school, it didn't matter when we got home, but we'd better be on that milk stool at six in the morning because that was the first thing we had to do every day.

EU: It wasn't mechanized? You didn't have milking machines?

HK: No. It was strictly by hand and the day that I left the farm, my brother went in the Army, the milk cows went to town.


EU: And then, where did you go to school? Did you go into Lakeview to school?

HK: We caught a bus about two miles away and rode into town and had to be home for chores so I didn't really participate in sports. I did go out for basketball when I was a junior and I got cut the first night because I kept bouncing the ball off my shoes or off my knees so I wasn't involved in sports at all.

But I did get in a little trouble my senior year because the FFA chapter had 160 acre farm, so I was going to school and then going down and farming driving tractor planting spring crops on this 160 acres and my Father found out about that and said, "Well, if you're going to school just to go down there and work, you can work at home." So he kept me out of school for a good month and a half of my senior year and I wasn't sure I was even going to graduate.

But I made it and was fortunate enough to get the Bernard Daly which in those days was a $2000 scholarship to use in any Oregon School and I came to Oregon State with that $500 a year scholarship and that went a long way toward paying our expenses in those days. It paid tuition, paid for books, paid a good part of board and room so it was something that I just wouldn't have been able to do if it hadn't been for that Daly Fund Scholarship.

EU: So in high school, your FFA was your main activity?

HK: Yeah.

EU: How long were you in 4-H?

HK: Well, I was in 4-H for eight years I believe. Served as a 4-H camp counselor for four years for the boys up at Cottonwood Camp where Tommy's [Tom Zinn] family used to vacation as a family event. And then I was fortunate enough to be selected to represent Oregon at the National FFA convention in my senior year. And a recent co-worker of ours, not in Extension, but in the banking world, sent me a note the other day; he was researching something and found that I was an Oregon State Farmer which was a real nice honor to get because there weren't very many of those given out each year. I had forgotten all about that. He was an FFA teacher in The Dalles and so he has a lot of interest in FFA, and he sent me the information that I had won that award years and years ago.

EU: You said you went to the FFA national conference? Where was that?

HK: In Kansas City, Kansas.

EU: So you took the train out?

HK: Everybody wore their FFA jackets and there were probably a couple thousand delegates there. It was a real nice event.

EU: Did you travel much outside of Oregon in those days or was ...

HK: That train ride to Kansas City was my first train ride. And we went back to see family in California, but other than that one train trip and travelling back to northern California, I had done no travelling at all.

EU: So, did you always know that you would be going to university? Did your parents encourage you?

HK: No, not at all. The chairman of the board that gave out these scholarships was a neighbor of ours and he called me about 30 days before it was time to enroll at Oregon State in the fall of '52 and said, "Do you know that you won a scholarship and we haven't heard from you that you are going to go to school." And I said, "Well, I didn't know I had won, I knew I was 12th or 13th in the class of 30 but almost everybody that wanted to go college had a chance to go, or if you didn't get your scholarship you didn't earn it the first time around. If you went to college, then you were eligible for your sophomore year. So, I think it still works pretty much that way, although it's a lot more money now.

Dr. Daly was an M.D. and cattle and sheep man in the early days in Lakeview and left a million dollars; I believe the year was 1904. And that money was invested and is administered by a board and is used for Lakeview and Paisley High School graduates to go to school someplace in Oregon. Very similar to the program that's out at Philomath. What's his name, Tom? The Clemens Scholarship. He owned a sawmill in Philomath and it operates very similar to his program.

EU: Did your parents, I mean this was coming out of World War II and did your parents expect ... did your other brothers go to college too?

HK: I'm the only one that graduated from a four-year college. The other four went parts of years or two years to OIT or to Southern Oregon College at Ashland.

EU: That's Oregon Institute of Technology?

HK: Yes, at Klamath Falls. I don't think our parents had any expectations that we do that. My Father had quit school in the fourth grade in Minot, North Dakota and rode a freight train out to California after driving a team of mules plowing a section of farmland out of sod, out of grass. He was born in 1909 and he was probably 12 when he did that. So in 1921 or so he drove his team of mules and when we got the section plowed he decided he didn't want to do that all his life, so he rode the train to California and ended up ... his first job was with who would be his father-in-law in a dairy in the Sacramento Valley.


EU: And what about your mother? She grew up on the farm?

HK: She grew up on the farm; had a high school education. Really a hard worker, which I learned later, is typical of most dairy families since our son is married into a Tillamook dairy family. And she just worked. She did the books and wrote the checks and they made the management decisions jointly. But they were kind of self-taught farmers.

EU: So why did you choose OSU? Was it OSU at the time?

HK: Nope, it was OSC – Oregon State College – and I guess I had come to Oregon State as a 4-H'er to 4-H summer school and that was my only exposure to any college and so I didn't even think about going any place else. It just seemed like the place to go.

A quick story about our first trip up – there were five of us. A classmate of ours who was an Indian and he had bought himself this new car and they said, "You're the guide Harold, you've been to Corvallis." And of course when you ride in a school bus you don't pay a lot of attention to about how you are getting there, So I knew we went to Bend and then to Sisters, but I didn't realize that we went to the right rather than the left and so I took us down the McKenzie Pass to Eugene and by then it was in the middle of the night and I said, "I don't know where we are." Because I'd never been to Eugene and so we finally found somebody and they said, "Take 99 North up to Corvallis."

Then we made a wrong left turn and ended up in Philomath about one o'clock in the morning and I looked in the phone book and found the main dorm – what's it called now – Weatherford Hall and found the phone number and called them and Cirene Barrett was the house mother and I told her we were in Philomath and that we were lost and we didn't know how to get to campus and she talked me over to the campus – without a cell phone – she had to do it with a phone booth.

So we got there and we're all wearing boots and big black cowboy hats. She said, "You guys are either from Lakeview or Burns; come in and go to bed on the floor and I'll take care of you in the morning." So we just bedded down on the living room rug. But she turned out to be a terrific lady. She was Jim Barrett's mother who was athletic director for years. Her and her husband at one time lived in Heppner, where I ended up later and he was the County Judge there so there was a lot of ties through the years.

EU: So had you come to Corvallis often for 4-H camps?

HK: I think twice.

EU: So when you came to Corvallis, I guess eventually you got into a dormitory?

HK: Moved into Cawthorne Hall which was part of Weatherford Hall. Stayed there for at least a year and a term. No, I didn't either – stayed there for a year and the next fall we came back and four of us from Lakeview and one from Medford got an older house down on Jefferson where there where now dormitories and we lived their fall term and I decided was broke and my future brother-in-law was broke so then a friend from Plush said he was broke and so the three of us quit school and went home. I sold my books to get enough gas to get back to Lakeview. When I got back to Lakeview I had $35 to my name and worked for my Dad for a year for no wages and came back to college with $40. So thank goodness for the Daly Fund or I would never have made it.

EU: So you were able to pick up that fund then?

HK: Yes, they let me renew it and carried it on and used it to graduate winter term of '57, so I did it in four years, 12 terms.

EU: What was your major?

HK: Animal Science in the College of Agriculture.

EU: Did you have any specialty because you had experience with all different animals and all kinds of things?

HK: No, I was just gettin' by; I wasn't one of their better students. Got a D in English and had to take the second term of livestock judging to get an A to keep my grade point up; because you had to have a 2.0 to keep the Daly Fund and so no, I wasn't thinking about specializing. My goal at that time was to go back to the farm and be a farmer in Lakeview.


EU: So it was here in Corvallis that you met Tom?

HK: That's right. We were in at least two classes together. I remember an Animal Sciences class taught by Jim Oldfield and then we were in a pre-vet class, which Tommy has a story he might want to share with you.

EU: Well, Tom do you want to tell us a little bit about your background?

Tom Zinn: Sure, Elizabeth. My folks migrated from Sanger, California to Klamath Falls. My Dad, I guess his background pretty much was in timber, lumber business. He had worked for a couple of saw mills down around Sanger and when Weyerhaeuser began to build their plant, I think it was in 1929, a friend of his that had worked with him, had moved up to Klamath Falls and asked him to come up to see if he would help build the planing mill there. And so he did, and brought the family. At the time, I wasn't born but had a sister and older brother and my family moved from Sanger, California to Klamath Falls on the Weyerhaeuser town site which is about seven or eight miles south and a little bit west of Klamath Falls right off of highway 66.

I was born, then, in 1933 in Klamath Falls and that's where I went to school. I went to school at KUHS to high school. During my grade school experience I was in 4-H. My first 4-H experience was cooking. We had a ranch but our ranch was about 34 miles away and I didn't live on the ranch during the winter. I was out there in the summer, so it was kind of hard to raise animals so I joined the cooking club because I wanted to have a 4-H experience, at least I thought.

I got a first prize one year in banana nut bread. And that was kind of interesting because when I had to make the banana nut bread, Mom of course was there to guide me through this and I remember mixing it up and putting it in the pan and getting ready to put it in the oven and then she asked me, "Okay, do you have all the ingredients in there, because something looks wrong." I said yeah, I thought I did. She said, "Well, what are these eggs sitting here?" I'd forgotten to put the eggs in so I took it out of the pan, put the eggs in, beat it up again and put it in the pan, cooked it and I won first prize. My mother said she didn't even want me to take it to exhibit it and I said no, that was mine and I was going to do it. And so it was the only nut bread I ever made and I made several loaves after that and you know banana nut bread always cracks down the middle, it kind of splits. It didn't and I don't know whether that's why I got first prize.

But anyway, I got a trip to 4-H Summer Camp for a couple of years in cooking class and then I took woodworking and by that time I was old enough, and like Harold, Klamath County had a...well we went to 4-H Summer School and I suppose that's probably how I got connected with OSU. I stayed in a couple of fraternities at 4-H Summer School. I went there, I think, two years...two different years.

But my Dad in 1939 had bought a ranch on the Green Springs Mountains between Klamath Falls and Ashland. It's about 34 miles from Klamath and 24 from Ashland at a small little place called Pinehurst. Very few people know of that; it was on Highway 66. And we used to refer to it as a stump ranch because there was quite a little bit of timber there. We logged that off; there was some pasture, we had some cattle and my Dad all his life wanted to be a rancher but he never could afford to, so he worked at the mill and I spent my summers and a couple of winters on the ranch. There was a school up there, Lincoln School, a one room school house like Harold went to. We had one teacher, taught all eight grades and that was a neat experience. Growing up on the ranch I think was the thing...that's all I wanted to do - a bit like come back and run the ranch because it was a wonderful place to grow up. So as a kid, I probably had the best of both worlds.


EU: So, sometimes you lived in town then? And sometimes out on the ranch?

TZ: Right. Most of the summers, until I got quite a bit older, I lived on the ranch and went to school except for two years at Fairhaven, which was a grade school, and then Klamath Union High School. I went all four years – attended KUHS for all four years and graduated from Klamath Falls.

EU: When you say "KUHS"

TZ: Klamath Union High School.

EU: So you, like Harold, you worked on the ranch. Could you talk about the ranch, what kind of animals and what did you do?

TZ: Well, we raised mostly Herefords. It was a cow-calf operation. My Dad bought another ranch - they were about 14 miles apart, for more pasture. We put in some domestic grasses, pasture and we had about a 225 cow operation. Similar to Harold, I had to milk the cows – we had seven milk cows. I didn't get the money but we always had hired help that lived on the ranch. And we milked the cows and the cream of course went to the dairy and that was his spending money. So it was a beef cattle ranch but we usually had to buy hay every year because the elevation there where the ranches were were around 5,000 feet – 4,500 to 5,000 feet – and about all we had was summer pasture, so with that many cows, we really couldn't raise a lot of hay and have enough grass for the cows. How we got by was Dad had leased a lot of Weyerhaeuser range because he worked for Weyerhaeuser and so we turned the cattle out on the range between the two ranches and that got us through the summer and usually we could put enough hay up on one of the ranches or the other to get us by in the winter. So, as a kid growing up with that kind of experience throughout during the war years and afterwards that was all I ever wanted to do.

My folks were very encouraging to all of us kids. My brother didn't attend college, my older brother, he was about 15 years older than I was and my sister was three years older than me. But they really put pressure on us to go to school. And I wasn't sure, a bit like Harold, that I was ready for school. All I wanted to do was just come back and be a cowboy or raise cattle on the ranch. But he put the pressure on us. And then during the summer when I was old enough to get a work permit, he had me working at Weyerhaeuser, so I banked my money. I didn't get a scholarship, but like Harold, I was able to put seven or eight hundred dollars over a three month period working at Weyerhaeuser away and that was nearly enough. I think the first year I went to school at OSU, which was in 1951 it was around $850, I think was what it cost.

EU: For tuition and room and board?

TZ: Tuition and room and board. To get through school for three terms. And later on, of course, living here in Corvallis, my kids going to school, in the '80s, it was a different than $850. They got tired of hearing that story from me..."When I went to school it was only $850."

And so there was a great encouragement from my folks for all of us to go to school. My sister graduated from college and I got a degree in Animal Sciences like Harold. The classes that he referred to, I think that we were together – certainly, one was animal physiology I think and then he mentioned Jim Oldfield and that would have been a nutrition class that we were in. And then the other course – the bone course – by Jeff Bones – a course that we took together.

EU: Do you remember when you met or how you met?

TZ: Well, we were talking about that and we've talked about that quite a bit for a number of years and we are kind of thinking it was around '52 or '53 because I started in '51 and I think Harold started in '52 so I think it was in '52. And we might have had some judging classes together. We both had the same instructor, and Harold was a much better judge, livestock judge, than I was. He really liked the instructor and I couldn't stand him because I just barely got a C and Harold just got A's all the time. The instructor and I just couldn't agree, so maybe it's a good thing I didn't stick with the livestock business.


EU: Did you room together?

HK: No, we studied at Tommy's fraternity for this Bone class. He's not going to tell the story, so I guess I should.

TZ: Oh, I'll tell the story (laughter). Well, we took an anatomy class and it was rather rough on both of us. The instructor was a veterinarian by the name of Jeff Bones. And I wanted to take it because I was planning on going back on the ranch. I wanted to take as much Animal Science as I could and this was in Veterinary Medicine. Anyway, it was an anatomy class and we had to learn all of the parts of the bones, all the anatomy. And it came to the final and Harold and I didn't do very well on the mid-term, neither one of us did, and we knew that we were going to really tank this thing if we didn't do something, so one evening when it got fairly dark, I knew how to get into the lab and we got into the lab and borrowed the bones, let me put it that way, to study. And we took the bones to the fraternity house and we spent three days studying every facet of those bones. And I don't know about the other students; this might not be a good thing to get on the air, but they didn't have the availability of the bones to study as much as we did.

Took the bones back and we aced the test. Instructor Jeff called us in and said he watched us take the test and we did very well and we weren't looking at anybody else's paper. I know you two did something because you weren't that good of students and you two got the highest grades in the class. He said, "I don't know what it was you did, or how you studied, but I know you two did something." And I think we both got an A in the course but he never did figure out what we did. And it was all up board, I mean, we weren't cheating except the other kids didn't have much of a chance.

EU: So he never caught on or you never told him....

HK: No, I don't think he ever figured it out.

TZ: That we knew of. And I think he's passed away now, so you can probably print this (laughter).

EU: So, you both graduated in...

HK: I graduated in winter term of 1957 and Tommy...

TZ: It took me another term. I started out in General Ag and then I switched to Animal Sciences so I was short of credits. I can't remember now but I was short nine or ten hours and so I came back and picked those up fall term and by that time I had almost begun to like college and so finished out the year. It took me five years to get through. So I graduated in '56.

Right after I graduated, I had applied for what we referred to then as an IFYE scholarship – International Farm Youth Exchange.

EU: Who gave that scholarship?

TZ: The 4-H Foundation; it was sponsored by the 4-H Foundation. The first International Farm Youth Exchange student in Oregon was Glenn Klein who was an OSU professor in Extension. I think I was the third or fourth. I'm not exactly sure. There were one or two or three people ahead of me.

EU: Was this a national or just statewide?

TZ: It was each state would have one or two or three, possibly four scholarships available. It kind of depended upon the state and the money that was available. At the time I was selected there were four of us. And the concept was that we went to a foreign country and stayed with a farm family and worked with them for about six months to better understand how people in another country lived. And I think it was kind of like the Peace Corp now, to a degree, although we weren't in third world countries as much as we were in European countries, Scandinavian countries. There were four of us, two from Ohio, one from Illinois, and myself, to go to Iran.

EU: What year was this?

TZ: This would have been in 1956 right after graduation. I graduated in June and we left I think the end of June, right along in July, I think it was. There were two of us that went to Iran and the other two went to Iraq.


The situation there, being able to live with a farm families, we weren't able to do that because most of the real farm families where you would get an idea of what life was really like and how they worked and what they did, they just couldn't afford for someone else. So while we were there, we did a lot of travelling. We spent time with farm families but we weren't able to live with them. Living conditions in a lot of the villages was really bad, compared to our standards. It's not that we weren't able to live in those conditions, but at that time many of them just couldn't afford to have you. We stayed in several schools where we slept and the farm families would feed us and we got to know the families pretty well and we worked in the field, but it wasn't really the true IFYE experience like a lot of the recipients had that went to the Scandinavian countries and went to Europe. Still, it was a fantastic experience for me, and probably was the one that wetted my whistle later when I went overseas to Turkey.

EU: What kind of farms were you on, or did you work on in Iran?

TZ: A lot of them were where they raised a myriad of crops: watermelon, flax, wheat. It depended on the areas. I was out with the tribes in one area, the Qashqai Tribes – kind of a tribe where they started out by sending some military people out with us because the tribes had a reputation that people that were out there that weren't tribal members never came back. I had a fantastic experience living with that tribe for five days. The women did an excellent job in weaving rugs, developing their own dyes. I had a rug that they gave me at the time. I didn't realize they were weaving it for me, but it was really a fantastic experience. That tribe raised mostly sheep and goats for milk and meat.

EU: Were you able to travel elsewhere at that time?

TZ: A bit like Harold, when I was growing up the furthest I could ever did get in Oregon was to Salem. We went to the Capitol and we just happened to meet the Governor. I think I was sixteen years old and that was the furthest I had been in Oregon, other than, again like Harold and his family, my folks had relatives in Sanger and Oakland, California so occasionally on Christmas or sometimes in the late fall we would travel down there. But the first time I ever went anywhere was maybe orientation for the IFYE (International Farm Youth Exchange) delegate was back to Washington D.C. and then on over to Iran. And that's the first time I had ever really been out of the state of Oregon other than just down to California.

EU: Do you remember when you first got off the plane in Tehran; what were your first impressions of the country?

TZ: Well, we had an orientation. We went to France. That was really hard duty and Ramadan was occurring at the time in Iran. So, we had to wait three weeks to get to Iran and we had an orientation in Beirut, Lebanon. So we rented a car and drove – a team member that I was with had been in the occupation in Germany. He was a little older and he spoke fairly fluent German, and so we rented a Volkswagen and travelled around Germany quite a little bit. And he had some friends there. It was a fantastic experience.

And then we flew to Beirut and then two weeks later he flew to Tehran to the airport there and were met by members of the Ford Foundation and travelled quite a little bit for the first couple/three weeks. And then we were dispersed out into areas where we didn't stay very long at one farm, but what we were able to get was a great experience in many different kinds of crops that they were growing and the way they grew them. We either got accustomed to or never got accustomed to the food. I thought the food was wonderful, but occasionally you would have problems if you drank water, this kind of thing. So they recommended that you drank doug which is like buttermilk and beer. Either one of those for a college kid – would probably take the beer first.


EU: So then, when you were finished with your nine months in Iran, you came back to the U.S.?

TZ: Well, not exactly. I ended up giving blood to a Presbyterian Missionary Hospital in Iran and I contacted hepatitis. So, I was delayed. I had a real unfortunate stay in Paris, France at the hospital there.

EU: Unfortunate, huh?

TZ: Yeah, for about six or seven weeks. In fact, it was just before Christmas that I finally made it back home. You know, there's not much you can do if you have hepatitis, or you could do then, or they did for you. High protein diet and rest. And so I suppose it was good duty, I really wanted to get back.

But when we got back we were obligated to speak somewhere in Oregon to various service clubs and talk about our experiences. I had never been on the east side other than Klamath Falls but on the east side, like Pendleton and Baker and Wallowa, and so I had the opportunity to go over to that area and spend three months speaking to granges and Kiwanis Clubs, all kinds of service organizations. It was a great experience for me. It helped, I think, tremendously, when later on I became an Extension Agent, in getting up in front of people and service groups and talking to them.

I remember one time in Pendleton, Oregon we had the old slides and you put the slide in the projector and you pushed it in and then you took the other one out and pulled it out and put it over here in the tray. Well, we were just getting ready for an assembly at Pendleton High School and the kids all came in. It was about 1:15 or so; right after lunch and they were kind of noisy and everything and we got them all quieted down and I had the projector all set up and everything was ready and I had been through those slides so many times; we didn't have a remote, we just had a flash light and the operator and you would just blink the flashlight at the operator and I was standing up on the stage and the projector was quite a ways away and I'd just blink the light and she would change the slides or whatever.

Well, some kid came in and tipped the whole box of slides over so they just put them back in the tray upside down, sideways and every which way. About that time, the principal was introducing me. So, I thought, "Well, you've got to go on, you can't do this." So I explained to the kids what had happened and I thought, "Oh my gosh, this couldn't get any worse." And so the first slide to come up was upside down and I looked at the kids and I thought, "Well, you know there are 30 or 40 more slides and I have no idea what they are going to be. You guys can all stand on your head now and you can maybe see this better." I didn't think it was so funny, but they really cracked up and from there on ... I got through it and some of the slides were sideways, some were upside down...but it was quite an experience for me. A very good experience. Just going overseas was an experience for a kid that had hardly ever been out of Klamath Falls and that's a suburb of Lakeview according to Harold. But then, I've been able to get up in front of a group of people time after time, you get used to it. It was a good experience for me.

EU: Okay, let's take a break. This is the end of Part 1.


Elizabeth Uhlig: This is Part 2 of the interview with Harold Kerr and Tom Zinn.

Harold, let's see, you graduated from the University in 1957.

Harold Kerr:That's right, Elizabeth, after winter term. Then I went back for the graduation ceremony with my old college roommate and got to wear the gown and walk through the procession which was a pretty big thrill for somebody from Lakeview that never thought they would go to college.

EU: And what did you do next, then?

HK: Well, I was working for my father and my parents on the farm and they had hinted that I probably ought to be looking for work, so I started making a few inquiries and everyone I talked to said, "What's your draft status?" And I said, "Well, as far as I know I'm still number four on the list. I never got a school deferment and every time they were about to draft me somebody volunteered for the draft say I stayed in the top four or five for four years of college and as far as I know I'm still there."

EU: This was during the Korean War?

HK: It would have been; they were being drafted at least, there wasn't actually any combat going on when I went in November of '57. One guy said, "Well, why don't you just go in and volunteer to go take your physical." Because that was the other part of it. My family doctor had said, "You won't have to go in the army; there's no reason for you to take ROTC; you'll fail the physical because of asthma." And so I had that in the back of my mind and I told this potential employer that and he said, "Well, why don't you go to Portland and take your physical and then if you fail it, then we might be interested in hiring you." So I put my boots in the shoe shop and never did get them back, come to think about it, and wore a pair of moccasins and Levis and a Levi jacket to Portland to take the physical.

Well, by then I'm 22 years old and I really don't think I told my parents exactly what I was doing, but anyhow, I went up there to volunteer to take my physical and there were 30 of us there upstairs in this building, and the sergeant ran us through all these hoops and after five or six hours, he came over to me with a stack of papers and he said, "Here these are yours." And I said, "What are these?" And he said, "Well, you are in charge of this group, you've got to take them to Fort Ord." And I said, "No, Sarg I don't think so; I'm supposed to fail the physical and supposed to go home to Lakeview." And he said, "No, we needed 30 and you all passed." And he said, "You're in charge because you had the best test scores." I said, "Well, these guys, I don't know where they all are, but I know where some of them are and they're pretty drunk and they are not going to be very controllable." He said, "Well, we'll help you get them on the bus and take you out to the airport and then you're in charge." I thought ohhhh....

So anyhow, we flew to Fort Ord; got in there at 4:00 in the morning and went through all the Army hoops of picking up cigarette butts under the barracks and went through getting your shots and all of the sudden after I had been there about three days, I realized I should call my folks and tell them I wouldn't be home for two years. So I did and that's how I got in the Army.

At one point in time I got a note from a Colonel to come over and interview him so I went over to this office building and walked in and saluted and he said, "Son, we don't salute in this office." I said, "Okay Sir, that's fine with me." He said, "We need some people to be in the vet corps to be food inspectors. We don't have any Army vets anymore but we still have a vet department and they are in charge of food inspection. We would like to know if you would consider doing that." And I said, "that sounds a lot better than the rumor mills says the rest of these guys are going to Fort Bliss, Texas for a second eight weeks of training and then going to Germany to be a showcase Army outfit doing nothing but parades and what not." I said, "Food inspection sounds like a good deal to me." So when we checked out, they all took off for Fort Bliss, Texas and I caught a plane to New York City and started nearly two years of Veterinary Corp food inspection in New York City.


EU: Did they give you any training for that or were you prepared with your background?

HK: Well, I was pretty well trained from the college background, but they did offer a school for six weeks in Chicago and I signed up for that and still hold the honor, as far as I know of having the best grades ever received at that Vet school. The only question I missed; I'll never forget, they wanted to know what you called the milk that cows gave right after the calved. And I wrote clostridium, I think that's right, but anyhow, I put that down and they said, "That was the wrong answer; you should have said it's not milk." Okay, so that's the only question I missed in the six weeks and ended up tutoring a bunch of kids that were in there that had no farm background at all and didn't know what a steer was. The main thing we learned about was quality and grading of beef and cheese and packaging it so it could survive overseas shipment being exposed to salt water and rain and what not. So, that was a great school.

While I was there I purchased an engagement ring and went back to New York. I thought I was being really secretive and really sneaky as I met with my girlfriend to propose to her that night and from the time she met me at the train depot until I finally got around to proposing, she knew exactly what I was up to because she could see the square box in my pants pocket. So anyhow, I didn't surprise her a bit and haven't surprised her since. She's a New York City, raised in Brooklyn, Polish girl, the mother of our two kids and after the Army we can do this and go back to the Army if you want.

But we got married in April of '59 and my goal was always to go back to the farm in Lakeview. So we drove out in November of '59 in a snowstorm. I got stranded in Alturas, California and finally got into Lakeview with a foot of snow on the ground, pulling a trailer that my brother had driven back to New York City so the three of us rode back together. And moved into this old farm house that my folks had moved out of into a much nicer home and there was a pack rat nest in the middle of the couch and the place hadn't been swept or heated or anything for a couple of years and it was in pretty bad shape.

But the story I wanted to tell, was that one morning after we kind of got pretty well fixed up in there, Carol got up first because you had to build a fire in the stove so we had hot water; she went out to the kitchen to start the fire and screamed. And I thought what in the world; so I rushed out to see what the problem was and here was this huge sow probably weighed 500 pounds looking down into the kitchen window, because as I reported earlier there was no foundation under the house and it had sunk. We had hauled rock into the driveway so we wouldn't get stuck, so the driveway was quite a bit higher than the kitchen window and this big old sow was looking right down at Carol. And she was supposed to farrow that day and I had a pen all fixed up for her, but she didn't like it and she tore it all apart; she was looking for a better home for her babies. So that was one of Carol's many experiences as a farm wife in Lakeview.

Tom Zinn: She didn't know what it was, did she?

HK: She'd never seen anything that big!

TZ: The closest she had ever gotten to a pig was in the deli back in New York. She didn't know pigs came with four legs.

EU: So where did you live in New York City?

HK: When I first got there I lived in a place called Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen's Club on Lexington Avenue in New York City itself. And we were stationed down, I think it's actually the site where the World Trade Center was built. This was in the '50s and we were in a dairy cheese market there and inspected cheese and butter that was sold to the Army or was government owned and was transferred to the Army and we had to do the quality and taste tests and all. And then after we got married we moved out into a little place called Middle Village which was on the edge of Queens and Long Island. I couldn't figure out what the name implied until we moved out there and found out it was a little two block wide area with apartments surrounded by cemeteries. And so you caught a bus and walked into this area and when you were leaving you walked out and caught a bus and rode it to a subway and it took just about an hour and 45 minutes to get to downtown Manhattan from out there, but we were in the suburbs of New York City.

EU: How did you meet your wife?

HK: She was a hostess at the Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen's Club. And I was not acting; I was doing the real Harold thing. I was very shy and standing on the staircase looking out over the dancers wondering how I would fit into this and a friend of Carol's came and got me and said, "You need to dance." And so we are dancing and she dances me over next to Carol and Carol was dancing over with a paratrooper, a Green Beret, and she said to me, "You need to dance with her." And I said, "Okay." And I turned and said, "Excuse me." And we kind of bumped this paratrooper out of the way and started dancing with her and it turned out Carol that had signaled her friend that this guy was coming on too strong and she wanted out of it and so I was the hero and took her home that night and we dated steady after that until we got married 14 months later.


EU: And so, what was it like for you? For you in New York City and then for her coming...

HK: Well, I loved New York City. We had passes to all the Broadway shows and saw every new show that came to Radio City Music Hall because we knew where these passes were available for the soldiers coming back from overseas and if you got there first, you got the pick of them. I guess I would say I liked it because I knew I didn't have to stay there. I was going home. When Carol got to Lakeview she did a lot of crying. I got a job driving truck for my Father and so I was gone three nights a week hauling wheat to Portland and San Francisco and she just was kind of lonely. Didn't have a driver's license, couldn't drive, didn't know how to drive. And so she just waited there at this old farmhouse until I got home. She said she had a number of meetings with herself and decided that she had gotten herself into this and she was going to stick it out and she's still there.

EU: So you were working on the farm with your Father but you were driving, too?

HK: That was part of the farm work hauling wheat to Portland and bringing back whatever we could find. Scrap lumber, new lumber, anyway to make a return load and that's what I did from November until the next fall. Almost through the year.

And I guess I'll go ahead and tell this story. [telephone rings] We were harvesting the last field of wheat and Dad had ridden in with me on the truck and we didn't have a lift, we had a shovel to get the wheat out of the truck and so I'm shoveling the wheat and thinking to myself, "I've never gotten a compliment from my Father all my life and so it might be kind of nice to hear what he has to say." And that's my thought as I'm finally getting the last of the wheat out of the back and he's just sitting up on the cab watching me. He clears his throat, and so anticipating what I thought he was going to say, he clears his throat and says, "You know you're going to have to get another job, I can't afford to pay you $250 a month through this next winter." Because he hadn't paid us through that first winter. We lived off the money we had saved in the Army. Which was pretty hard to do, but we had saved a little money and so that was how we got through that first winter. And so, looking back on it, you know he was a lot smarter than I ever gave him credit for because he knew there wasn't a great future there on that farm for two families and that I had an opportunity to do something else.

So I went to town and saw my county agent, Elgin Cornett, and said, "Elgin, I need a job."

EU: This was the Extension...?

HK: The county agent there in Lakeview. And it just happened that Carol's mother and her new husband were out visiting us from New York City to see our baby daughter who was a month old. And so Elgin called Corvallis and talked to Charlie Smith who I had taken Charlie Smith's class in Extension Methods which is the same class that Glenn Klein taught later. And so Charlie knew me and said, "Well, you be here and eight o'clock tomorrow morning,(or it might have been the day after that, cause this was in the afternoon, ahh I think it was the next morning) and he said we'll get you an interview with Frank Ballard. And so I said, "Okay," and turned to my step-father-in-law, we need to leave about 2:30 in the morning if we're going to get to Corvallis by 8:00 in the morning and he said, "okay."

Do you want to take a break there and get to Tommy's Army stuff?

EU: Why don't you finish this story with your interview?

HK: Okay, well, we arrived in Corvallis and there was a Chevron station down on Jefferson and Fourth Street and I went in there and put on this horrible suit that I had bought in New York City and never knowing how ugly it was. It was the only suit and tie I had and so I wore that up to campus and met Charlie Smith and Charlie said, "Well, you go in and meet Mr. Ballard and if he thinks you'll work out, we probably have a spot for you."

So I went into now what is still the Director of Extension's Office, although the receptionist had a little room up front and Mr. Ballard had this great big room in the back of that area. Probably a third again as big as the room is now and totally dark in there. The shades were all pulled and I couldn't see a thing when I came through the door. I finally found a couch; sat on the couch and Mr. Ballard was sitting behind this big desk with sun glasses on. And I thought that was kind of strange. I'm sitting there thinking I've never been interviewed for a job, but I think they are supposed to answer the questions, so it seemed like an eternity that I sat there and he finally said, "Lakeview, hum," and I thought to myself, "That's not a question." And I said, "Yes, sir." And another long pause and he says, "Damn good goose huntin' down there." And I said to myself, "That's still not a question." "Yes, sir," I said. And there was this long pause that seemed liked minutes; it was probably seconds but it seemed like minutes and he said, "Why don't you go over to Prineville tomorrow and meet Gus Woods and if Gus Woods thinks he can get along with you, we'll put you in Prineville as the 4-H agent."

And the only thought I had was this is not the fellow to ask where Prineville is. So I left the room and Charlie was standing out in the hall and he said, "How did it go?" And I said, "Well, Mr. Ballard said I should go to Prineville tomorrow and meet Gus Woods." And Charlie said, I'm sure they had this all set up, but Charlie said, "be there before eight o'clock because Gus goes to the office before eight, gets his messages, and if he needs to go up country", which is what they called the eastern part of Crook County, "he'll leave before eight o'clock and you'll miss him." So we took off, I didn't even ask Charlie where Prineville was, we took off, I guess we must have gone back over the Willamette Pass, anyhow, we ended up in Bend and stayed in this little cottage on the edge of Bend. I think it cost ten dollars for the night's lodging. Got up the next morning early at 5:30, not knowing how far away Prineville was and drove to Prineville probably sitting out in front of the courthouse at 6:30 and about seven saw the lights come on in the Extension Office. Or what I thought was the Extension Office.

So I excused myself from my father in law and went over and knocked on the window and he let me in and it was almost like being interviewed by Frank Ballard. He said, "You were a 4-H'er, were ya?" And I said, "Yes, sir." He said, "You know, being a 4-Her is not being the same as being a 4-H agent." And I said, "Yeah, I think I can understand that. I had two or three 4-H agents in my career in Lakeview, and they were all different but really nice guys. I think I can understand there is a difference." He said, "Well, when can you be to work?" I said, "Well, I've got to take my mother-in-law and her husband back to Reno because they don't fly and they have to catch a plane in Reno. That would be Thursday and I said we would need to pack up what little we've got and I said, "I could be here Friday morning." And he said, "No, Monday will be soon enough."

And so that was my introduction to Extension work and interviews by my future staff chairman and the Director of Extension. Which were both – Gus Woods became my adopted father; he became a real friend and real supporter and I met with Mr. Ballard maybe one other time and he was famous. He had been Director of Extension for 44 years and he had even been President of the University and every other Extension Service in the country said he was the best director in the U.S. I don't think all of Oregon knew that or appreciated it, but nationwide he was very well thought of.

EU: Do you know why he had that reputation? What did he do to gain that reputation?

HK: Oh, I think he had good people around him and he had an uncanny ability to judge people with a first impression. And was an extremely effective lobbyist with the legislators in Salem because in those days Extension had to lobby for their own money and he did that well and was well thought of up there. And it was just everybody said he was "Mr. Ballard" and there was nobody that was quite his equal. That was the way – he wasn't a great speaker, he had more sense of humor than I first realized after I got a little better acquainted with him, but he just had that ability and I think he had himself surrounded with excellent people.


EU: So, I guess you learned where Prineville was.

HK: I found Prineville. I was thinking about this last night and wondered how I got to Bend? Because that isn't the shortest way from Corvallis to Prineville and the only road I knew over the mountain was Willamette Pass, so I probably went back to Eugene and went up over the Willamette Pass and went up to Bend. That's probably how I got there.

EU: So, what were your feelings, I mean you had to leave your family ranch.

HK: Oh, I dreamt about somehow or other owning that place someday. Even talked to an uncle who had a little money in California about borrowing money from him and he said "No, you don't want to do that." He didn't say he wouldn't loan it to me, but he did say you don't want to do that. It stayed in the family for a while. My younger brother went in the service when I got home and then when he got back to Lakeview he went to work for the county and my sister's husband, brother-in-law, had moved back to Lakeview, he had worked for Boeing up in Seattle and he had moved back to Lakeview and started a feed store and a gas station and sold gas and sold feed and livestock supplies out of what used to be the grease room. He and my father became partners in the trucking business and they had up to seven trucks on the road hauling freight from Lakeview out and things back into Lakeview and then when that kind of broke up with no hard feelings or anything, it just kind of dissolved itself, Dad sold the farm and they moved to Arizona for six months of the year and then spent the summers in Lakeview. Mom passed away shortly after they did that from cancer and then our Father lived in Lakeview for a while and then spent his later years in Klamath Falls with my two sisters; they lived in Klamath Falls.

EU: So, what did Carol think about moving to Prineville?

HK: She thought Prineville was a great step forward from the ranch in Lakeview. She got involved with people there and the kids of course, our son was born there and I guess we were there nine years so they started school in Prineville and then at one point in time, my supervisor said, "You know, Harold, we've gotten to the point where you need a Master's degree to stay with the Extension Service and ever get treated right and promoted." So I said, "Well, okay, I'd consider that." So I had the GI Bill which I hadn't used so we packed up the two little kids and Carol and I borrowed a trailer from Gus Woods and hauled our meager furniture to Fort Collins, Colorado and took a course there called, well, it was in the School of Education but it was for Extension people. Extension something or other. Ended up with a Master's in Education.

EU: Was that Colorado State?

HK: At Colorado State at Fort Collins and a very enjoyable experience. I wrote a thesis on a topic that was very appropriate at the time; Extension Administration was looking seriously at dissolving county lines and having area agents across the state. So I did a survey of the county agents and got a 96 percent response. I developed a questionnaire, tested it on an audience in Colorado and then sent it out to the agents. Got a 96 percent response from the agents about their attitude. The title of my thesis was, "Attitude Toward Change."

What I was measuring was their attitude toward changing their job as Extension workers. Nothing significant, except that younger agents saw it as a career improvement that they could specialize in their subject matter and work across county lines. The older agents were pretty well opposed to it because they saw a lot of strength in the ties and commitments and connections that Extension had with the county government, where they provided a substantial amount of financial support. They paid for the office, paid for travel, paid for telephone, secretaries and all those kinds of things. They had historically built up a terrific relationship with their county governments wherever they were; particularly places like Gus Woods who had been there for 25 years. And so most of those older agents saw little advantage in it and I'm not sure, although a number of people in Oregon have read the thesis and I don't know that it influenced anybody, but it was a very interesting study to do and the people in Colorado couldn't believe that I got that kind of response from the Oregon agents, but they really filled out the form completely. I remember one old county agent who I won't name, he said this is one of the dumbest ideas Extension has ever had. He just wrote that across the top of the questionnaire and that's all he said. I didn't count that one as a legitimate response.

Anyhow that then set me up so I could be considered for other jobs and I was offered as Tommy will tell later, I was offered a job in Gilliam County as the ag agent and 4-H agent and that was before I decided to go get my Master's or I was just in the process, so I turned that down and when I got back, I was three or four months I was offered a job in Heppner. Well, I'd never been to Heppner, didn't have a clue where it was, knew that it was mostly a wheat job and didn't know very much about wheat having been an animal science major, but thought I could do it and it turned out to be a terrific career decision and a job I really enjoyed.


EU: Well, before we get to Heppner, why don't you talk a little bit talked about your thesis, the close relationships between agents and farmers and so forth? What was your position then in Prineville?

HK: In Prineville I was known, even though all agents had the same title, "County Extension Agent" I was known as the 4-H agent and so that was my major responsibility. I was responsible for the weed control program that the county ran. I purchased the chemicals, supervised the actual spraying of the country roads and enjoyed that experience. I did that same thing up in Morrow County.

Gus made a real effort to involve me in a lot of the beef Extension work that he did. That was his specialty and we had a lot of large ranchers up country in the Paulina country and a number of registered herds there in the Powell Butte and Prineville area they were on what they called "production testing" where we would weigh the calves and grade them and then often help select the bulls that they needed to buy to replace their herd bulls as they needed to do that. So I got involved in quite a bit of the beef work because that was where my training was. I need to go back and talk about my first week on the job as the 4-H agent in Prineville.

Got there Monday morning and Gus Woods...oh by the way, my mother in law loaned me $60 to pay the first month's rent on the motel where we moved into. We lived in a motel for six months in Prineville.

Anyhow, I went to work Monday morning and everything was all new of course, and I was getting acquainted with what the process was and Gus said, "Well, ride out to the radio station with me at noon." He did a Monday noon radio program and it was a high listening time because it was called "Farm News" and they had national speakers on tape and often guest speakers from the Department of Agriculture. Anyhow, Gus did this live seven minute program every Monday and he did his thing about what was going on in the beef industry and turned to me and said, "Well, we have a new county agent here. His name is Harold Kerr and I'll let him introduce himself." He slid that mic over to me and I know my lips moved, my mouth moved, but nothing came out. He grinned and pulled the mic back in front of him and said, "Well, he's a little shy, but he'll be on Saturday morning to tell you more about himself and the program."

And then on the way back to town, the radio station is about five miles out of town, he said, "Well you do a 15 minute live program on Saturday mornings." And I said, "Okay." So I spent a good time of that week preparing that 15 minute radio program. Having never done one. I had written it all out, had read it to myself and then read it out loud and I had everything pretty well organized, except that I'd never timed myself. So I get to the radio station that Saturday morning and Bob Arnott was the local radio announcer and he said, "Well, we have a new man here this morning." He said, "We'll let him introduce himself and tell you all about himself." And I had prepared that part and I had that and read it and did a little bit about what my expectations were of the job and what was happening that next week or so, and got down to the bottom of my script and I looked at my watch and I'd been talking for seven minutes. I had eight more to go and I looked at Bob Arnott with horror I guess and he said, "Well, we'll just play a couple of western tunes for Harold and he'll be on for 15 minutes next week. So that was my introduction to radio.

I thought afterwards, I wonder why Charlie Smith didn't make that as part of that Extension Methods class. Because a lot of agents did radio programming in those days and KRCO, it set on an alkaline flat which the locals said would improve the radio reception; had a tower – you could get it almost to Lakeview and almost to the Columbia River. It reached a big area of eastern Oregon. So I learned later that my audience wasn't just Crook County, that I was talking to people for over six, or seven, or eight counties. Anyhow, I got so I could do that 15 minutes totally ad-libbed no notes, no preparation, just get out my calendar and see what was happening and start talking. So it became kind of fun to do each Saturday. I had to schedule my life so that I was in town on Saturday morning, because that was a live show, they didn't want it taped.


EU: You also played some of your own music?

HK: I did. I learned how to run the table and what not because the fellow that was in charge, he'd take a break and he'd go have coffee, or he'd be in the restroom or something when my 15 minutes was up, so I would just walk around the corner and say well, I'll play a new tune that I just found here today. And I'd put on a record and play it.

I guess I should tell about Mr. Hutton who was the state 4-H Leader at the time. One Saturday morning he was driving from Burns to Bend and picked up my radio program and turned out that one was probably one of our better ones because Bob Arnott had been our guest at our tri-county 4-H Camp up in the Ochocos for the evening and stayed for the evening program and what not, and he was really impressed with what we were doing with the 4-Her's up there. And by the way, that was a two week camp. We took the nine-twelve year-olds the first week and then the older kids the second week. We had counselors for weeks but the staff, the faculty, stayed both weeks. For quite a few years we didn't have showers, we had to bathe in the basin which often had ice on it in the morning. We kind of roughed it.

EU: This was a statewide camp?

HK: No, a three-county camp. Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson County and so anyhow, Bob was really impressed and he was asking all kinds of questions and I was talking with enthusiasm about the camp and of course we had some stories to share. And when we got through Bob had left the room and so I went in to play some music and the phone rang and Mr. Hutton called and said, "I'm on the road between Burns and Bend and I've been listening to your program. You sure have a lot of fun there on that radio station." I said, "Well, Mr. Hutton, you know if life's not worth having fun then life's not worthwhile." And I don't know if he tended to criticize me or not, but he never did and I never expected the State 4-H Leader to be listening to my radio program.

EU: What were some of the other activities with the 4-H students?

HK: Well, I think you would have to call me an old fashioned 4-H agent. I felt pretty strongly that I should support the leaders and go to as many 4-H meetings, individual meetings, as I could. So the Powell Butte community has a Community School which is still there and it was available to 4-Her's every night of the week if we wanted it and in the cafeteria, there were usually activities upstairs but we could have the cafeteria and we almost had a meeting there every night. So, sometimes, I wouldn't know which group was going to be meeting there, but I would drive out to Powell Butte which was about 12 or 13 miles away and there would be a 4-H group there and I'd contribute something to the meeting. I always felt good about doing that. I had a couple of leaders that wouldn't meet without me. So I had to go to all their meetings, that's totally unheard of now and probably wasn't necessary, but it gave me a direct contact with the kids and I valued that very strongly.

Another thing that I did, I don't know of any, well, I have heard of a few 4-H agents tell about doing this. We had a portable scales and the kids, when they buy steers to raise for 4-H, particularly nowadays, but even then, they had a substantial financial investment in that animal and to feed it for eight months to get it ready for the show. And so we instituted a program where we weighed every steer in the county every month. We had three 4-H beef clubs - one in Powell Butte, one in Prineville, and one up in Paulina. So it took three Saturdays a month to get those steered all weighed. That was from January through July. I had to do the radio program anyhow on Saturday morning and so I only had one rule that a leader had to go with me or if not a leader, a parent so I wasn't doing it totally by myself. But we helped kids break their steers to lead because so often that was the first time they had had a halter on them when we showed up to weigh them and just was another real good experience for me and I think the kids appreciated it. I put a lot of miles on that state car pulling those scales all over the county.


EU: Tom talked to us before about this experience with the International Youth Farm Exchange.

HK: Right. As a 4-H Agent I had the other side of it – he talked a little bit about I was the host, then, for the "IYFEies" as we called them that were coming back from overseas and they were always outstanding young college students to be selected to that honor and it was always a real treat to host them. And I let the people in Corvallis know that I wanted to host IYFE and for many years it was four every year. I didn't get all four but I got one of the four because they tried to go to every county in the state and so that meant the people I had had probably been to seven or eight counties by the time they got in their reporting history.

And they were just neat young people, both men and women, and had terrific experiences – New Zealand where Glenn went and Australia and Scandinavian countries and France and Turkey. I remember one time, we had a young man who had been to Australia and he was from the Willamette Valley and he said, "I told the Australian farmers that there wasn't any gates like they had in Australia in Oregon." What it was just a wire attached to a pole and you just hooked it over the barbed wire on the gate and wrapped it around behind this pole and there wasn't anything to it, fancy, but I'd never seen one of those in Oregon. And we took an indirect route back to Prineville from Paulina and had to go on a private road to go through one of these gates. We stopped and he said, "I'll get it." When he came back, he had this funny look on his face and he said, "I told those Australians we didn't have any gates like that in Oregon." Anyhow, it was just a terrific experience and the service clubs enjoyed having them but the schools just insisted that they get a chance for their kids to be exposed to this kind of activity.

Tommy, we've been through the Army and through Crook County and so it's kind of your turn now.

EU: Well, I think this might be a place...I have one more question before we take a break. So, looking back at your first nine years in Prineville, what do you think was the most satisfying part of your work there?

HK: Oh, I think I realized it later when I started meeting these kids that were in 4-H and they were young parents now, or even in some cases grandparents and have them come up to me at State Fair or here on campus and make some real positive comment about the influence I had on their lives. At the time, young people wouldn't tell you that when they are seventh, eighth grader and I probably didn't appreciate that I was having that kind of influence on them, but I think the feedback I got from kids and their parents...

I remember one time we were in Sisters having dinner and this family came in and it was a daughter and mother and father and she was in 4-H in Powell Butte and she had three neighbor girls that lived right across the road from them. The four of them were my livestock judging team one year at the PI. And they just were exceptional young ladies and she sat there and told me how much it mean to her for me to think about helping her and assisting her in a number of ways, she said. And I just thought she was just an outstanding young lady and a heck of a good livestock judge and I hadn't realized any other impact I might have made on her.

EU: This was during the '60s, too.

HK: Yes. I miss the 60s! Our world didn't include what everybody else was doing. We weren't worried about drugs, we weren't worried about protesting the war. We were just growing up and having fun raising animals and being farm kids.

TZ: That was the ' were supposed to be adult then.

HK: Yeah, but I Iike to be like the kids.

TZ: That hasn't changed.

EU: Okay. So this is the end of Part 2 then. And so we'll go ahead and take a break.


Elizabeth Uhlig: This is Part 3 of the interview with Harold Kerr and Tom Zinn.

Tom, let's start with you and go back to when you finished in Corvallis at Oregon State. Did you go into the Army?

Tom Zinn: I finished my IFYE assignment, if you will, and we talked about that, to Iran and got back. I had hepatitis and came back and the draft board was breathing down my neck as they did I think, Harold's. It wasn't the Korean War, but we still had the draft. It was still the draft and so my number came up and I was well enough by that time and recuperated from hepatitis to go in the service, at least so they thought. I went to Fort Lewis, Washington for basic training and completed the basic training there and then for some reason they asked for volunteers, anybody that wanted to get in the medical corps. And I thought well, the rumors were that our group was going to Yucca Flats and experience atomic bomb blasts, and I thought, "Boy, that would be real exciting but I'm not sure I want to be a part of it."

EU: That was in Nevada?

TZ: That was in Nevada and they were going to test an atomic bomb I guess, for us to be so close – I don't know how close it was – there wasn't any danger, but anyway we were going to get run through that drill and we had some pre-training right after basic and they said if anybody wanted to be in the medical corps – I thought initially that might be attached to Yucca Flats and the atomic blast, but I was wrong. I raised my hand they said they would get back to me and they did and so they sent me to school for six weeks. What I didn't know, was they were training me to be a PA or a physician's assistant and back to anatomy. Only this was anatomy of the human and since I had anatomy of domestic animals, a lot of the parts of the bones are the same. So I scored quite well on those tests and I actually studied for a change. I went to the library at Fort Lewis and did quite well. And so I had an opportunity then to work for a physician after basic training, to be his assistant. It was about four weeks into working with him and I was enjoying it and learning a lot.

He had a golf match either every Wednesday or Thursday with a group of colonels. He was a Colonel and I was a Private. He knew that I played golf and I had played golf at that time and one of the guys couldn't make the foursome so he asked if I would like to go along. I thought, "Boy, that's great. You bet." So we played golf and it was the first time that he and I teamed up together. We beat the other two and one of the Colonels who we were playing golf with was in the Veterinary Corps. And so, he was asking me what I did and so forth, and I was telling him that I come from a livestock ranch and graduated in animal science. It was about a week later; the doctor called me in and said, "Well, I should never have taken you golfing." Colonel Klet wants to know if you would like to become part of the Army Veterinary Corps. I thought, "Boy, that would be right up my line; at least I'd get some experience in the Army." And so I said, "Well, yeah." So they put me in the small animal clinic for about three days and then an opportunity came up to go to Moses Lake to inspect milk.

EU: That was in Washington?

TZ: That was up in Washington. And I was in Fort Lewis and the time. So the Colonel called me in and there was another guy that had a little more rank than I did and the Colonel said, "I don't know how to do this, except flip a coin. Both of you are qualified, I think of all the people that we've got. We have a dairy up there that processes milk for the military and it's a canned product." And at that time we were kind of having not a war but there were situations occurring in Beirut, Lebanon and so apparently the military was gearing up, I guess for an invasion or an occupation. Which ultimately did happen and they sent the Marines in there. So they needed a lot of milk.

Anyway, I won the flip of the coin and went to Moses Lake. And that was a great job. I spent about a week or two in training inspecting and it was just one product and that was canned milk. The dairy ran about two days a week and I met a guy that had a homestead there, so the next thing I knew I was baling hay and combining and thrashing, working on the farm, making more money than I had made in quite awhile.

About July 5th or 4th, the dairy didn't have any more contracts, actually went broke, so they transferred me to Spokane to inspect meat and there I inspected meat. At that time Eisenhower moved the Marines into Lebanon and so we had a call for what they called "four-way beef." We didn't have enough beef apparently, in the United States, for what the Army thought they were going to need and so they sent me and some cattle buyers out and I inspected the cattle that they bought for slaughter to send back. And so there were probably a cursory inspection once they butchered them, but they didn't have enough manpower to inspect all of them and so they sent me out. It was quite an experience. I spent two months out in the field with cattle buyers. Got into Montana and Idaho and Washington, parts of Oregon, but into California, but we bought a lot of beef.


When we got back and started inspection there at the plant, it's was Carstens and Armour, my Dad suddenly passed away. And we had about 200 mother cows and the hired man quit, and I was able to, I had about a month and a half left, to stay in my draft and I was able to get out of the service and get an early discharge. So I was out of the service then.

EU: So you were in the service then, under two years?

TZ: Yeah, it was about 21, it was a 24-month draft and I was in the service just about 22 months. So it was about 60 days I got out early. I had applied for an agricultural discharge which was available in those days if you were a farmer but it hadn't gone through and then when my Dad passed away, the Red Cross was able to get me out, actually 30 days earlier.

So I stayed on the ranch until the family decided they would rather sell the ranch. This was something that I had dreamed of all my life, as I thought back about my college days. Anyway, I didn't think I could afford to buy it, so we did sell the ranch and I went to work for Weyerhaeuser at the time in Klamath Falls.

I was there two years and during that time I met my wife. It was about '58/59 through '60 and we were married in 1960. She was going to school and had just got her degree in teaching.

EU: Where did she go to school?

TZ: She went to school at Southern Oregon College in Ashland, but she lived in Klamath Falls. I went to school with her brother but I did not know her in school. She was four years behind me.

EU: What was her name?

TZ: Lydia. I'd ought to throw that out, hadn't I? Yes, and she got a job teaching at the grade school that I graduated from. And there happened to be two or three teachers that were still in existence that taught there. So every once in awhile when I would come home and Lydia would come home and she would say, "I can't believe what I heard you did when you were a kid." So things were kind of getting out of hand there.


One day, we saw an ad in the paper for the Extension Service and Lydia said, "You know, you're working at Weyerhaeuser, you've got a degree in animal science and here's a job that says they're looking for a crops/livestock agent in Klamath Falls. Why don't you apply?" So, I knew some Extension faculty there in Klamath; I contacted them and visited with them quite a little bit and they said, "Oh boy, if you're interested, we'll let some folks know in Corvallis." In fact they said, "The Director of Extension, by the name of Frank Ballard is going to be down here next week or so. We'll call him and let him know if you really think you're interested." And I said, "Well, yeah, give him my name. " I thought I couldn't lose anything by at least talking to somebody.

Well, I got a call from an instructor of mine in Crops; he was a graduate student; his name was Norm Goetze, saying that he was going to come down with the Director of Extension and they were kind of looking for people to hire throughout the state and he heard that I was looking for a job. Well, I knew Norm at the time, not real well, but we hit it off, at least in class and so I thought, "Well, that's good." I said, "Well, I work on the swing shift;" and he couldn't meet me in the mornings so I said, "I don't get off until midnight." Well, that was all right. "Where could we meet at midnight?" And I thought, "Gosh, at Klamath Falls, the only place to meet would be a bar." You know, I thought that would be all right. So it didn't bother him, so we agreed to meet at the Ponderosa Room in Klamath Falls at the Willard Hotel at little after 12:00, about 12:30, one night. So I went into the bar and I recognized Norm and I was introduced to Frank and we visited for just about two or three minutes, Norm and I and then Norm said, "I'm gonna go to bed; I'll leave you two guys to talk. So kind of like Harold's interview, I had never been through a professional interview, but I did know what to do, and Frank said-

EU: This was Frank Ballard?

TZ: Frank Ballard. And Frank said, "Would you like a drink?" And I said I would have a drink. And the cocktail waitress came over and she said, "Oh Hi, Tom, do you want your usual?" And I thought, oh boy, I just lost a job here. And he said, "What is the usual?" and she said, "Oh, he drinks scotch." And Frank looked at her and looked at me and said, "Well, that's not all bad." And so we had a couple of drinks and just talked about life and he said, "Well, tell me about yourself." And I told him about my farming experience and so forth, and he said, "Well, you know, I got a full day tomorrow; it's really great visiting with you." And he kinda looked at me and he says "Ya know, I kinda think we would like to have you on our team. When I get back to Corvallis, I'll visit with the associate directors, assistant directors, supervisors and you can rest assured we'll get back to you one way or the other, but we will get back to you." And I said, "Well, thank you very much. Is there anything I need to write up or send, or a resume?" "No, no, I don't need any more than I've got right here." And I said, "Okay."

And I did get a call and they asked if I would come up to be interviewed and they were very emphatic that they would like to have my wife come with me, Lydia. And of course they said, "We'll pay for the trip and everything." And so, like Harold we went downtown, only I didn't buy my suit from New York, but I didn't really have a suit except what my father had that had been willed to me and those were kind of outdated. And my wife says, "You're not going for an interview wearing your father's suits." So we went into the local store and bought a sports coat and a pair of slacks and a suit. And it was the first new one I had since high school, since I graduated from high school, I think.


Anyway, we came up to Corvallis and was interviewed by several people. Met Frank Ballard first and he said, "Well, I've got you lined up with some other people and Jerry Nibler here is going to take you around and introduce you to some of these folks and what you'll be doing is just sitting down and you know they are going to ask you some questions and then you come back and visit with me." So we went through that for I suppose maybe two hours, or an hour and a half anyway, and I asked quite a few questions of the budget manager and so forth, and nothing was mentioned in salary or anything, but they talked about the benefits, the retirement and got back to Dean Ballard and he said, "Well, what do you think?" And I said, "Well, it really sounds good."

He said, "Well, you said you really didn't want an assignment on the west side of the mountains. Can you tell me why?" And I said, "Well, you know I went to school here for about five years and what I remember most about school, outside of studying, was that it rained all the time." And I said, "You know I live in Klamath Falls where it's kind of high and dry and we have snow and a lot of sunshine and I'd just rather go east of the mountains." And he said, "Okay. Well, I talked to the folks and I got some good feedback and we'd kind of like to have you on our team. We'll let you know within a week or so and we'll call you and if something comes up we'll talk to you about where we might have a place for you. In the meantime, Jerry Nibler is going to give you some orientation and we want to start you out working the first week in Klamath County; so when could you got to work?" And I told him I probably couldn't go to work, I needed to let my employer know at least a month and I think we shortened that by 15 days.

But I started out in Klamath Falls for a week and went to Medford for a week and in the meantime, they had kept talking to me about St. Helens in Columbia County. And when I tried to explore the job a little bit, they said it was in Horticulture and well, when I was in school, I just barely got by in Horticulture; I didn't know the difference between a strawberry plant and a filbert tree, really. And I didn't think that I would be a very good horticulturist with my background in animal science.

So, I was kind of leery of St. Helens - Columbia County and the fact that it was on the west side; I thought, "Boy, this is kind of like the Army. You tell them where you think you're qualified and they put you somewhere else." So while I was in Klamath during my orientation, an agent said you know, "If there's a place you really have in mind to go, probably the best place would be to take the first job they offer you and there's always opportunities to move. There's always somebody retiring or somebody leaving and so, get hired. They had been pushing Columbia County among a couple of others. One on the east side. So I just called Jerry Nibler, the supervisor at the time and told him that I'd been talking to the faculty in Klamath and that if it sounded like St. Helens was the place they wanted me, I'd go there. I said, "You just have to realize my academic background is in animal science, not horticulture, so hey, guys, I'm going to need to some help." They said, "That's no problem."

They let me know that it would be St. Helens in Columbia County and that they wanted me to come up with fourth week to Corvallis and spend the week up there, which I did. The first person that wanted to see me was Ballard. I'll never forget what he said, because it really exemplifies Extension, in my opinion, at least throughout my 31 year career here is, he said, "Well, I understand that you are not too sure about your ability to be a county agent in Columbia County. Can you tell me why?" And I said, "Well, yes sir, I can. My academic background is more in livestock and crops and so I would need a lot of help. As long as you understand that, I'm willing to try." He said, "Well, you know, in this organization, I've always found as long as I've worked for them, if you've got people skills, we really can't teach people skills. That's kind of a natural thing you've got. We hire people that we think can get along with people, that can communicate with people and that have people skills. But you know, I can take someone who has people skills and I can teach you everything you need to know about your job. So, as long as you keep that in mind, you'll just do okay."


When I went to Columbia County there were a lot of ranchers that realized my background. Well, ranchers...they were strawberry growers, cabbage growers, people that contracted with Steinfeld's Pickles, so cucumbers. And I had never had any kind of experience of that kind. But they just worked with me and then the specialists on campus just bent over backwards in being there helping me, giving me training.

And Frank Ballard turned out to be right. I really, really enjoyed that job. I only stayed there for three years but during those three years it was a steep learning curve, but the learning curve was a great learning curve and I just loved the people there and I really thought, "You know, I could be a horticulturist." I got confident enough that I really thought I could. I learned a lot from that. What Frank Ballard said at that time has rung true later on when I was in the position that Frank was, at least in hiring people, I always looked for the people skills. I don't know how many times I told candidates, if you have the right kind of people skills, we can teach you what you need to know. And it's true.

EU: What exactly was your title in Columbia?

TZ: County Extension Agent and my responsibility was Horticulture.

EU: Did you work with 4-H or Home Ec?

TZ: I did. I worked with both 4-H and Home Ec. I became quite close to both the home economist and the 4-H agent and started out because I was an International Farm Youth Exchange delegate, I asked Bob Stevely who was a 4-H agent then, I asked him if I could help him with the IFYE delegate and he said, "Yeah, you can take the program if you'd like." And since I had been an IFYE, I really enjoyed that. We had a number of IFYE's and I just worked their tail off at various locations, high schools and service clubs and stuff. And I can remember one IFYE that was more serious that I thought he should be about life and everything but he just got back and I thought maybe to bring a little levity into it, I introduced him as an IFYE and I asked the kids if they knew what an IFYE was. Well, they didn't know what IFYE was and I said "Well, it's IFYE, do you know what it stands for?" And they didn't. And I said, "Well, it stands for 'I'm the fool you expected' and I said here he is" and I introduced him. He kind of just stood there and looked at me and then he got a smile on his face and I kind of thought he warmed up a little more – he wasn't so serious after that, at least in his talks and stuff.

And then the home economist, Margaret Allen. In those days, they had a lot of frozen turkeys and I remember them selling in a supermarket some turkeys that were canned, but they had their label on them that they were boned and rolled in this can. And I had taken the meats course at OSU and I always did a lot of hunting and we cut our own meat and we butchered our meat on the ranch and we boned most everything out. And I thought, "Well, that would be interesting." I wonder how they bone a turkey.

So, I bought one of those and I took it all apart to see how they boned it and thought, "I bet I can do that." So I bought a turkey and the first turkey I boned took about four hours and my Lord, it was something else. It was almost a disaster but with a lot of string, I got it rolled and tied up and then I did another one. And I was telling the home economist about that, so she said, "We could put on a program; you could teach boning and I could show them what they could do, you know, with boiling the meat off the bones and they how could use the meat in making soup stock and gravy and all this stuff and dressing. And so we put together some demonstrations where we had people come and buy turkeys and I'd have a team – two people to a turkey – and we had it usually in a cafeteria or someplace where we had a kitchen and then we usually brought on that was already boned, rolled and cooked so the people could see what it was like. I did that nearly in every county that I worked in after that. It was just a lot of fun and I kind of enjoyed it and with Margaret's encouragement, I got started with it.


EU: Did you run into Harold much in those years?

TZ: I ran into Harold the first time, I think, in a bar in Corvallis. I think it was an agents meeting and I had come down and I can't remember what it was because it wasn't a chairman's agents meeting, but there was one whole motel in town, the newest motel, not the Country Kitchen, I can't remember what it was now, but they had a restaurant there and a little bar and we were sitting in there because the restaurant was full, that would be my excuse, and Harold came in. And I looked up at him and thought, "Oh, Good Heavens, what are you doing here?" He said, "Well, I'm here for a 4-H meeting or something." I said, "Really! You're working for Extension too, huh?" Come to find out he had been on the staff I think two years longer than me and I guess I hadn't seen his name or hadn't put it together. And then after that we were pretty much together when we realized one another was here and working for the same organization, we pretty much ruined Extension after that.

EU: So, you said you were in St. Helens for three years? And then you went to...?

TZ: Gilliam County. The county seat was Condon, Oregon.

EU: So you got to the other side of the mountains.

TZ: Got to the other side of the mountain. When I was assigned to St. Helens I moved there October 8th. Four days later was the infamous Columbus Day Storm [October 12, 1962]. I got that experience in St. Helens.

EU: Did the Columbus Day Storm, that was the huge wind storm that took down all the trees?

TZ: Took down all the trees and took down – they had a lot of filberts. There were a lot of filbert trees that were grown up there. Tipped a lot of those over and I guess, as the memory comes back, I remember when I was going to school and talking about the courses that we had to take that were required and one of them was Journalism. And I remember struggling with Journalism as I struggled with Horticulture and I always thought about where I was going and of course I knew that I was going to go back to the ranch and raise cows. And it was beyond me that in getting a degree I had to take Journalism because the cows wouldn't care about Journalism or know anything about that. Why did I need to learn to write?

And four days after I got to Columbia County and the storm occurred, my boss, Don Walrod, indicated that you probably ought to get some news releases out on what to do with these filbert trees; can you set them up, what can you do? Of course, I didn't have a clue. I called campus and they gave me some instructions and I said "Well, here's what we can do." And he said, "Well, what you need to do it sit down and write a story for the newspaper and get this out. You know, Journalism 101." And I've used that story on a lot of kids. I used to be asked to be part of a senior seminar when I was here on campus and I would always tell the students that you know, you wonder why some courses that you have to take that you think that you're going to do something in your life and you're never going to need this and with me, all I wanted to do was raise cows, and four days after the storm, I had to write a story. And I thought, "What did I do with those books? Where do I start?"

And I remember going to the newspaper and I'd met the owner of the newspaper and I said, "I need to write a story about this storm and I'm not sure I can write very well and I've never written a news article for a newspaper. I'm really kind of nervous. Can you guys give me some help?" And we sat down just like the specialists in Corvallis and it turned out to be a very good story. I'm not sure I could claim all the writing for it. But from there on that kind of whet my whistle to doing a lot of writing. I did a lot of news stories. And I really liked feature articles and did a lot of feature articles. I'll never forget being very concerned about having to take Journalism and then the first challenge I had in utilizing my degree was that was a good lesson for me. And one that I used with a lot of our candidates as well and students.


EU: So this writing was for Extension Service publications or local newspapers?

TZ: Newspapers, news articles, a lot of us, Harold included; a lot of us did news articles a lot.

Harold Kerr: We wrote articles for the Barometer, the student newspaper, as part of the class. Interviewed people on campus – not just for Extension, it was probably required for almost all underclassmen.

TZ: But in Extension, we did articles like we had to do in 4-H. We would do articles on 4-H and camp and summer camp consistently. I did a lot of articles when I was in crops and livestock on whatever the situation that was happening. Like white muscle or this kind of thing, might do a feature article on that or feature articles on others. I just enjoyed feature articles. It took more time and I liked to do photography with it and take pictures and stuff.

It's kind of interesting, in Columbia County, Gilliam County, Morrow County, those were small newspapers so anything they could get from the county agent they would probably print it. So, some of the articles that I wrote, I still have them. I have three notebooks full of articles and if you start at the very first articles I wrote – one was about the IFYE program. They were just pitiful. They were terrible! I hope that as you got to the end of the book when I was writing at the last, they were much, much better. It was pretty pathetic there, those first articles, but you know that's the way you learn.

I think all of our county faculty did a lot of writing. The specialist will write articles for us that we could take the article and then adapt it to the locale so in a lot of articles, you didn't have to write the whole thing. I kind of liked to do my own articles, but occasionally, timing – peach leaf curl, or something, was an article that came out from the college to us and then you could adapt it for Columbia County. It made it pretty easy, so you didn't have to sit down and reinvent the wheel every year for say, peach leaf curl or something or white muscle or selenium deficiency, or that kind of thing.

EU: So you talked about Gilliam County. After St. Helens, you moved, to Condon?

TZ: Moved to Gilliam County and the county seat was Condon, Oregon. I moved to Gilliam County just prior to the John Day Dam being finished. So I got to sit up on the cliff and watch the river rise. I moved to Gilliam County in '65, just missed the '64 flood and moved in '65.

EU: The '64 flood?

HK: Christmastime. A situation very much like we have right now. A lot of snow in the mountains, it turned off warm and it started to rain and there was water everyplace; both on the eastside and the westside.

EU: So the Willamette?

TZ: Yeah, we called it the Christmas Day Flood because I think it started flooding around Christmas and in the east side in those dry areas where the soil was pretty loose, there was just a lot of flooding. Washed out bridges, and really wreaked havoc. It was probably one of the worst floods we have had in Oregon in a long time. But, like Harold said, there was just a whole lot of snow and a lot of moisture and when it got warm, we kind of had a big long Chinook up there and I got there the year after that. That was in '64 and '65 we arrived in downtown.

EU: What was your title?

TZ: I was agent in charge of livestock, crops, and 4-H.

HK: And staff chairman.

TZ: And staff chairman. I had my first experience as an administrator. I got there and I think a month later the home economist left with her husband. He had been going to school and got a job over in Washington, so I was responsible for everything.

EU: So you did just about everything?

TZ: Yeah. You know, those smaller counties are just wonderful counties to grow up in, to learn, to have experience in. And we didn't have an home economist and particularly the women in that area really wanted one and we were searching frantically, but you know, that was a pretty remote area and to get a candidate to want to live there, particularly, a single candidate, if you could find one, it was very difficult and so I remember the agent that was there came back to help me several times and she planned some programs and one was furniture refinishing or reupholstering. And the gals told me I could do that, or the women in the county, so I came down to Corvallis, took the upholstering class and then went back there and some of those ladies knew more about upholstery than I learned when I was down here, but you know, I really enamored myself with those folks because I was willing to get some tacks and a hammer and work with them. We had about 25 women in doing upholstery and I had a lot of fun. The livestock ranchers and wheat growers were whining "such a waste of time" for me to be working with these women. Some of them were their wives, but it was a good learning experience.

And 4-H was something that I was always nervous about. I was in 4-H but I never thought I would be a good 4-H Agent and so I never indicated any interest in being a 4-H faculty at all, but I didn't have a choice in Gilliam County and once I got into it I really enjoyed it. It was like Horticulture. It was another new experience for me on the other side and it was a good experience. And it turns out that all those experiences, I think, were very helpful for me when I ended up in Corvallis.


EU: So you said you got into administration in Gilliam County, is that right?

HK: Staff chairman.

TZ: Yes, staff chairman. I was in administration as staff chairman, really the chair of the county, I mean he's responsible for the bookwork.

HK: County budget...

TZ: County budget, and glorified office manager's job in away and if you have other staff you're responsible for keeping the peace and helping them and so forth. Like I say, I got into administration when there was only one other staff member, so it wasn't a big administrative job and then she left so I was administrator to myself. But ultimately we did have another agent and then we did some area work as well.

EU: I was going to say, did you cooperate with other counties?

TZ: Well, we did, as time went on, I was able to talk Administration at that time in Corvallis into hiring one 4-H agent between Gilliam and Wheeler County – Ron Mobley ended up working for us as a 4-H agent and it made sense. Because both counties were small, Wheeler County is very small. I think the population of Wheeler County was like 1,100 or 1,200 or something like that. The population of Gilliam County was like 2,000. Where you had a 4-H agent in each county, you were duplicating a lot of things and these counties were close enough together, or certainly the county seats were, so that made sense. So we did combine for a while while I was there.

EU: Did you take the 4-H to the camps?

TZ: Yes.

EU: I suppose you ran into Harold?

TZ: Yes, we had our camps; we couldn't have them together because they were too big, but we used Heppner's camp, the Morrow County site. I don't remember if we paid rent for it or not?

HK: Probably not. It was a county park named after one of the early pioneer farmers, Orville Cutsforth; it was called Cutsforth Park, sat right at the edge of the timber. Beautiful place.

TZ: We had some great, I had some great camping experiences with the kids. I can share Harold's feelings with the kids that later on when they came back from a camping experience. We had camp counselors which were normally the older kids that kind of ran the camp, did the games, did the teaching. And I was kind of hard, not hard, but emphasized teaching. We even had gun safety at camp. Which was kind of unheard of. But the kids went to camp to have fun, but we wanted them to learn something as well. And in order to teach them that we would have State Police or someone come up and talk about gun safety and let the kids shoot if they wanted to. Fly tying and just some kinds of things that you normally don't think of as traditional 4-H Clubs. I think the kids really responded to that. It put a lot of pressure on the camp counselors; I did, and relied on them to help us with the younger kids to teach them.


Tried to give the camp counselors an opportunity to have some experience so because the relationship that I had with agent in Columbia County, we had some leadership development seminars where I would take a bunch of our 4-H camp counselors to Columbia County and they would stay with some of the older 4-H kids in Columbia County and so we had some exchanges which really turned out to be kind of neat and gave our counselors an opportunity to see a different side of the world, live with a family that they didn't know and then have the family's kids come over and spend some time with them. I had several come to me later in life and say that was one of the greatest experiences they had because what we made them do is when Gilliam County camp counselors went to Columbia County, they had to put on a program on leadership training and what leadership was about and they had to get up and do that in front of their peers. If they did it in front of us, it probably didn't bother them as much but when they had to stand in front of their peers, they really had to think about what they were doing, what they were saying. And I can remember a couple of girls that lived in the middle of the county saying they just hated me because they wanted to go but they were so upset and they got really uptight. Four, five, six, seven years later, they said, "You know, in the job I have now, what I learned doing that..." So those are the kind of neat things you hear back. That was particularly good for me because I never felt that I would have been a very good 4-H leader or agent or whatever. Some accolades out of that...

EU: So looking back on those early years in the Extension Service, what was the most satisfying thing that you worked in?

TZ: I think working with people. I enjoyed very much working with people and seeing people develop. Kids, but not just kids, for example, most of the counties had people in leadership roles or could be. Fair board chairman or chairman of the livestock association, Gilliam County Livestock or Gilliam County Wheat Growers. And you'd have ranchers come in that had to be president, they were working up the chairs, and had meetings and I think one of the satisfying things was to see these people develop into leadership roles when they didn't want the job to begin with. Didn't know why they were there, didn't know why they volunteered for the position, thought it was just going to be easy. "Why are you putting all the pressure on me?" And well, while I would work out an agenda for them when we had our annual banquet or something, I wasn't going to get up there and do it. I made them do it. And encouraged them to do it. And some of the ranchers, you know, I can think of, not names now, but there were people that you would never have thought would get up before a group and I remember one that said, "I just can't do this." I said, "Yes you can. Here's the sheet, here's what happens next, here's who to call, you have to say a few remarks." And he ended up being quite a leader in the county. And those are the things I think, as I look back, that make you feel good.

EU: So Frank Ballard was right in your interview about the importance of people skills.

TZ: Absolutely.


Another thing, I think in Gilliam County - Morrow County takes all the credit for this, because they were the ones that did it. But we thought we had a project that was going to pump water from the Columbia River up on those millions of acres, thousands of acres up there. And so, I was stimulated by a local rancher to set up some research and grow some crops to see if we could. Because he was paying for a survey from CH2M here in Corvallis, to see if it was feasible – a feasibility study. And so the pressure was on me and a lot of us and him – because he was getting money from several of the ranchers that had land that might come under irrigation.

At the same time, they had been drilling a few wells, but not many, a couple in Morrow County and had been irrigating some potatoes I think at the time. So, in working with some specialists here, we set up quite a demonstration. Research and demonstration, really, plots there in an area called Shutler Flat, and I thought this was for Gilliam County. Harold was aware of this and Harold had been over there and he knew what I was doing. And we had a field day and we had more people from Morrow County than I think we had from Gilliam County to the field day and we had some pretty good results from our yield trials in growing them that year, I claim that, or like to think that part of our results stimulated a lot of ranchers.

We were hoping that the irrigation project or I was certainly, in Gilliam County that it would have been feasible to pump out of the Columbia. As it turned out, no one was willing to invest the money. I think it would have been feasible. But boy, in Morrow County, it was right after that that they started sinking wells and growing crops all over there.

A number of ranchers said they remember having those trials. We got a lot of press out of that. I did quite a bit of writing, but got not the Oregonian, but the Oregon Journal at the time, there were two papers. We got one of the writers to come up and he did quite a story. We flew him all over the area and took him to the research plots and he did quite a story on it. I think it was great. Those are the kinds of things as an agent you look back and see the good things where your efforts seemed to pay off.

EU: Well, I think we've moved up again. We've finished the '60s. Did you experience the '60s in Gilliam County?

TZ: I ended the '60s in Gilliam County by going to Turkey. I think the reason I was chosen to go was because of the demonstration plots that we experimented with there in Gilliam County. They wanted some similar kinds of things in Turkey. That was 1970.

EU: Well, let's take a break and end Part 3 here and pick up in Turkey next time.


Elizabeth Uhlig: This is part 4 of the oral history interview with Harold Kerr and Tom Zinn.

Harold, let's see; we're up to 1969 and you have moved, then, to Heppner.

Harold Kerr: In February of 1969, the dead of the winter.

EU: What position did you have there in Heppner?

HK: I went to Heppner as the wheat agent, the agronomist, and the staff chairman and the 4-H agent who was there was also a livestock agent, so it didn't make sense for me to try to change that, even though that was my background because he was already doing that and everything was working fine there, so I agreed, like Tom agreed to be a horticulturist, I agreed to be an agronomist, not knowing exactly what I was getting into.

EU: So what's the difference between an agronomist and a horticulturist?

HK: Black and white (laughter). Agronomists are farm crops, cereal crops – wheat, barley, corn, hay, and potatoes was always questionable. In Oregon it's an agronomy crop but in other states it's a horticulture crop. It's not sure where it belongs. I remember agreeing to that job, having had nine years experience as a 4-H agent in Prineville and in those days – we'll get into that more later – but in those days, my supervisor, Jerry Nibler, which Tom mentioned, just came up a day or two after I got there and said, "We need to take you up and have you meet the County Judge." So we go up to meet the County Judge, his name was Paul Jones, and a real gentleman, a retired wheat farmer, big man, sitting in this big chair behind this bid desk leaning back with this cowboy boots up on the desk. And so he doesn't really change his position as we walk in. He knew Jerry from previous times and Jerry said, "Paul, I'd like you to meet the new county agent." He looked over at me and I'm thinking to myself, "Well, I've got nine years experience and all and I know a little about this world;" and he says to me, "He looks to me like a young kid that's not dry behind the ears yet." I thought, "Oh boy, this guy's going to be tough." Turned out he was a prince of a guy and was very helpful to me in my role as county agent and he was county judge.


I made myself a commitment that I would spend no more than three days in the office and two days a week I would go out and get acquainted with farmers. Because I wasn't sure they were ever going to come to me and I wanted to meet them and so I just assigned myself a different road and would drive until I found a farmhouse or saw a tractor and walk out to it. Well, it's probably one of the smartest things I did because I remember early in that process - I saw this tractor out, quite a ways out in the field. The typical wheat field could be five or six hundred acres or more, so walking out to the middle of the field was sometimes quite an effort. This ground had been plowed and I was working my way across this plowed ground. Finally got out there, assuming I was going to meet the owner, well, I met a hired man. And so we chatted for a few minutes and I thought, "Well, that was kind of a waste of time," and walked back to my pickup and drove down to the house and met the farmer's wife and had coffee with her and then went on down the road.

Well, it wasn't very long afterwards we were at a meeting and that farmer eventually ended up being county judge and he was telling people, "My hired man said that new county agent is crazy." The neighbor said, "What do you mean?" "Well, that kid walked all the way across that field just to introduce himself," he said. But that established a reputation that I was willing to go out and meet with the farmers. I've hinted at I've met more farmers' wives if I stopped at the house because they were in the house rather than out on the tractor, so a lot of the people in the early days, I knew their wives, but I hadn't met them yet.

Tom Zinn: You ought to tell the story about the fact that you just moved into Heppner and you went into to see the county clerk, and what did she tell you?

HK: Oh yeah (laughter).

TZ: You can't get away with that now...but...

HK: She said, "Oh, you're the new county agent." And I said, "Yes." And she handed me this Democrat form to register to vote and I said, "How did you know I was a Democrat?" And she said, "It doesn't matter what you was, you're in Morrow County, and the county agent and you're now a Democrat." [laughter]. I don't think they'd get away with that nowadays. But she did. She ran the courthouse. County judge had to admit that she was the boss.

Another time out on a farm visit I stopped and this guy was hooking up twelve John Deere drills together in a cable hitch to pull, so he could pull twelve drills at once. Well, I had never seen more than one drill behind a tractor in Lakeview and Prineville; much smaller fields, and I said, I'm not going to recall his name right now, "Paul, I've got to stay and watch this. I've never seen anything like this in my life." He said, "Well, who are you?" And I said, "Well, I'm your new county agent and I'm supposed to know something about wheat but I've never seen anybody pull twelve drills together." I said, "What do you do when you do you get from one field to the next?" and he said, "I own everything as far as I can see; I just drive across the county road and keep seeding." He eventually abandoned that thing because it was a little awkward, but it was pretty amazing that he could hook up ten of those drills together. More often, they hooked at least four together and seeded behind them...Caterpillar tractor.

Like I say, I knew very little about growing wheat. I remember, one of our livestock agent friends said, "You doggonne wheat guys." He said, "It's just a five minute word and you can talk all day about wheat." "It can't be that much to it." But it really is quite a scientifically grown crop and as Tom will talk about it when he went to Turkey, the Northwest was unique in the world for being able to grow wheat on rainfall, that wasn't supposed to be enough to grow wheat. And so they grew what they called "summer fallow" and grew a crop of wheat every other year.


EU: Do you want to talk about that now? Why don't you talk about exactly....

TZ: Makes sense to you to have there here now? Okay, Elizabeth.

EU: We'll get back to Turkey in a minute. But talk about the summer fallow.

HK: Yeah, well let's let Tom talk about it because he's the expert. He went to Turkey and taught them how to do it.

TZ: Want me to talk about it? Well, in the Pacific Northwest, and that's the reason why I went to Turkey then, and we don't need to talk about Turkey now, but in the Pacific Northwest between, say like, The Dalles, Oregon and across the river on up into the Palouse and in parts of Idaho, and some in Montana, but mostly in that general area I just mentioned, we had what they call a summer fallow system where they leave the crop idle, I mean they leave a piece of land idle. Let's say a rancher has 2,000 acres. He's going to farm, 1,000 of it and have it in wheat and then the other 1,000 is going to be in fallow or nothing. Otherwise, he's going to plow it, disc it, or whatever and leave it lay. Maybe plow it in the fall or plow it in the spring and leave it all summer. Keep the weeds down, so weeds don't grow, so he may till it in the summertime two or three times and then that fall, he'll plant it into wheat.

And the reason for that is if you kind of can imagine a glass of water and you fill that glass of water and you don't put a cap on it, it will evaporate. So, when you fill that soil profile, if you look at a soil profile as a glass of water, and you fill that from the winter rains and the spring rains and then you till it over the top of it, that's like putting the cap on it. So you are storing not all the water that comes down in the winter, but you're storing a good portion of it. Then if you till it in the summer and let nothing grow like the weeds, because a weed is like a water pump and if you keep those down, then you have enough moisture in that soil surface in the fall to germinate a wheat seed. And it takes roughly around 21 inches of rainfall to grown a crop of wheat. Well, in those areas where you've got ten to twelve and year, you don't have enough. You're not going to get a crop every year, is what I'm saying.

So, years back, about when we started developing, it was '45, '44, '42, '45, right after the war, during the war, when we started having tractors and they replaced the horses, this was when the summer fallow system really developed. We could get over the ground, we could plow it in the spring when it was still just moist, but still had moisture in it, we could seal that surface over so the water wouldn't evaporate and then that fall we could plant wheat in there. And you can plant wheat if you do it right and if you have adequate moisture, I mean normal moisture, you can plant wheat in there at about three or four inches depth, using a special drill that furrows the soil out and goes down about three to four inches; puts the wheat seed in there, covers it up about an inch or half an inch and then there's enough moisture there to get that wheat seed out of the ground without any rain. And we know we are guaranteed, normally, rain in November/ December so by that time we have enough rain to bail us out and get the wheat crop out of the ground. And then from there on, we've got the winter moisture and then spring and you've got a crop of wheat made and so that's the summer fallow system and that's a system that was predominantly between The Dalles and Gilliam County and Sherman, and Morrow, and Umatilla, LaGrande and then on the other side of the mountain where Harold and I worked.

HK: One of the newer innovations since we both kind of got out of that business, is what they call "chemical fallow." So rather than plow it in the spring or, they actually didn't plow very much anymore with a moldboard plow, they used a chisel plow, but they quit doing that on thousands of acres now and spray it with chemicals that kills the weeds and then all they do it is spray it to kill the additional weeds at come up and then you can see right into what's an almost two-year-old stubble and the same experience, that stubble and the mulch on the surface protected the moisture and they are able to seed right back into the moisture under that previous crop. So, that was just starting. It's much more common now. There are a few problems with it, but it actually works pretty good.

One of the concerns about summer fallow system is the potential for erosion. You've got this bare ground and you get a hard thunderstorm or cloudburst or storm like we talked about in December of 1964, you have the potential for a lot of erosion and washing that soil off the fields and everybody's goal is to not let that happen and chemical fallow is a good way to prevent that.

So, anyhow, that was part of my learning curve in Morrow County. There was a lot of good training sessions in both states that Tom and I both went to regarding the latest things from the ag researchers which were headquarter up in the Horse Heaven Hills of Washington and the Columbia Basin station in Pendleton and another smaller station in Sherman County. And those researchers were both state employees and federal employees who were really some of the national leaders in wheat research.


One of the things that I think most people think about county agents is that you're always telling farmers about new things and things they ought to try. One of the roles I found in Morrow County was that I found myself often saying, "Guys, I don't think I'd do that; that doesn't make sense to what I know about growing wheat. I don't think the advice you got is absolutely the best." That was a little bit of an uncomfortable role to be in because often you were competing against a private industry person or sometimes it was a fly-by-night salesman that came through.

One time we had a guy come through selling us actually it was soil that came off of a mountain in Colorado that he claimed did miracle things in wheat fields. And this was shipped in in box cars and the farmers were buying it and spreading it across the fields. And I called it foo-foo and that's all in the world it was; it wasn't doing a thing for the wheat field but because of the drought we were having, the lack of rainfall over a three or four-year period, their yields were getting terrible and they were searching for something to correct that. Well, foo-foo wasn't the right answer.

But one of the things that I tried in a different kind of way, was I talked to one of the young farmers who was well respected by his neighbors and I talked to him and said, "I'd like to take some soil samples of your summer fallow ground and see how much nitrogen you have in that ground to carry over from previous crops and see if you really need to apply an fertilizer." Well, everybody fertilized every year before they planted. I had one farmer that never used fertilizer, but the norm was that everybody put on some fertilizer and the fertilizer business was a key part of the local business. There was two companies selling fertilizer at a time and eventually a third one got into it and then it got back to just two. But they were recommending fertilizer on ground that had only produced less than 12 bushels last time it was in crop. So in knowing what I knew about wheat and fertilizer, there was no way that 12 bushel crop could have used all the fertilizer that was put on before.

So, I walked this 1,200 acre field and took samples and sent them in, paid for the analysis myself and went out one Saturday morning and caught the young farmer at his coffee table and said, "Here's the results of the soil test; you could produce 40 bushel wheat on this ground without putting any fertilizer on. There's plenty of nitrogen in the ground. He didn't really tell me whether he was going to do that or not, but he thanked me and kept the paperwork.

And I thought about Tom's story about news stories and you know, I could write this up, but I don't think that's the way to go because I'm going to stir up a lot of trouble here, and so I thought that young farmer talked to his neighbors and I knew he would do that in the poker games and wherever they got together, at the tavern, and I thought he's going to do a better job than a news story would do. And not knowing whether he had taken my advice and not knowing what the results were, but at holiday time, Christmastime, that fall in the Elks Club, he walked over to me and he said, "Harold, I owe you a drink." And I said, "What do you mean?" And he said, "Well, you saved me $80,000 last year on my wheat field for not putting any fertilizer on." And so I got a $2 drink out of it. (Laugher). But I made my point and it was the appropriate way to make it in that county with the situation as it was.

But there were other instances where you didn't always have the newest word. Salesmen were always trying to sell something and Morrow County didn't have a strong....Tommy had a strong fertilizer dealer, chemical salesman who was a part of the community. We had a fellow but he retired and then we really didn't have that kind of a situation for a while. And then the Morrow County Grain Growers got into the fertilizer business but the manager came to me one Sunday afternoon and he said, "I want to talk to you about fertilizer." And I said, "Okay, why are you interested?" And he said, "Well, we're going to get into the fertilizer business but we don't want to get into a fight with you." And I said, "Well, Larry, you won't as long as what you do kind of makes sense." He said, "Yeah, we're going to take your advice and not recommend the same amount on the fields." And so I felt in the long run that I got my job done there as an educator in the county.


TZ: Well, you know, when you talk about Extension agents, Extension faculty now, as we try to refer to it, because they are faculty members. Harold, I think, made a real key point for our faculty in the field. They had ranchers, Dave Childs was one in Gilliam County and K.C. Kotcge was another and a couple other ranchers, John Macminigal, I can name several who have said to me in public, "You know, you guys over the long run have saved us millions of dollars." In situations like Harold is taking about. $80,000 in the case of one rancher, and not just, certainly not just Harold and I but I mean these things happen daily in these counties all over the state of Oregon whether it be herbicide that somebody wants to sell you and it's a new herbicide and it's one that's half the price that know this is working, why pay this to's not going to do any better? And that's where the ranchers or people would come to us and say, "Okay, what about this new fertilizer, what about this new herbicide?" Well, right now our research says that it's no better than this and you can get this for half the price so why pay $130,000 for your herbicide this year when you only need to pay $70,000 or $60,000 or something like that.

And these situations occurred in the livestock industry, in cereals and horticulture all over the state and even basically all over the nation where you had good Extension faculty that were up to date on research and you had good research people that were providing you the data. The same way with wheat varieties. That's another one. We had a great wheat breeder by the name of Warren Kronstad. And he probably single-handedly made more money for the wheat ranchers in this state and the state of Washington than any one single person ever did just by the varieties that he developed that increased the yields and kept us away from diseases.

Excuse me, Harold.

HK: No, whatever I was going to say I forgot. [laughter]. Happens to you after you're retired. Anyhow, you very seldom had a wheat rancher come to you and say, "Well, boy you made me a lot of money this year." But that was an instance where it did happen to me and over time you saw people that benefitted. They might not ever come and thank you they may not have even realized you were the reason they made the decision they made. I remember my point now – I always took that I was just another source of information. They had their parents, their father, their grandfather that was advising them. They had their banker advising them, chemical salesman that was advising them, the fertilizer salesman and I always looked at us as an unbiased source of information that they just listened to. And whether they did what we told them or not was not our problem, was not our issue. Many times you didn't know if they followed your advice or not, but you might find out later that they did but you were giving them information. You had nothing at risk, you weren't on one side or the other, you were right in the middle saying, "This is what OSU research says you should do." That was always a great backup and moral support for us as we spent our days in the field with those fellows.

HK: Another cute story that want to relate. Was one winter we were going to have an ag chemical seminar and I the fellow, Don Riderick from the Pendleton Experiment station and I had about three chemical salesmen coming in to talk about their product. We were going to hold it at the Elks Club in Heppner and the day before it just snowed a fit and I'll tell you, we had 15 inches of snow at least all over everything. Well, Don called from Pendleton and said, "Harold, I can't get over there. The roads are terrible between here and Heppner."

And I thought, well, I promised them lunch and the chemical salesmen are going to pay for lunch, so I might get a few farmers in and I'll just send the bill to the chemical salesmen because they're not going to get here either. Well, those three guys, I don't know how they got there. Three different ways, three different companies. They all made it. You couldn't get through the Gorge because it was closed. But they went over through Salem, over the Santiam Pass and got around and one of them went up into Washington and got around. They all three made it and showed up about 11:00 o'clock and I thought, "Now what I'm going to do. I don't know if I'll have any farmers." Well, we completely filled the room and completely plugged up the town of Heppner because every wheat farmer had to see if they could get to down in their four-wheel drive pickup. They had the streets totally filled with pickups and had a great meeting and I gave the information that Don was going to give and you know, when you've got thatkind of turnout, they came for the free food, but I think they came to hear what we had to say and so you got some feedback that way from those guys.


EU: It seems like a good example of the ties between the specialists in Corvallis, you in the office and then the farmers and ranchers in the field. Three legs or whatever of Extension is important.

TZ: We couldn't operate, really as well as we did without the specialists on campus and from the Experiment Stations and particularly on the east side, the Experiment Stations were really important to us because we didn't see the specialists as much from Corvallis just because of time, distance and travel. There were some that did travel, that didn't bother them, but Harold mentioned Don Riderick, he was a researcher, but he really was our specialist in Central Oregon, in eastern Oregon in weed control at least. And then the ranchers you mentioned. But if you got a good reputable chemical dealer, he was as good as a specialist too if he was reputable and honest and if you got know him and he got to know you and you develop a trust, you could really use those guys and rely upon them for certainly information about their product and they would level with them.

HK: When you're up in front of a group of farmers with three fierce competitors in the audience, they tell a different story than in a one-on-one situation and you got the straight scoop and it was, like you say, they were a great help to us and I learned a lot from those guys. Of course, they specialized in one product, but they knew their product and knew what it could do.

TZ: Well, and I would equate it to no different than, let's go into the medical profession and the doctor and the salesman comes in and he has different types if penicillin or whatever, represents a drug company so his is of course the best and here's what we've got on the market and this takes care of this. Well, so much of the time the doctor relies on that information. If they are a good reputable drug peddler and the same way with our chemical dealers or fertilizer supplier or whatever.

HK: Tom made a reference to the irrigation that when on in Morrow County. When I arrived there in '69 there were four center pivots. This is an irrigation system that travels in a circle and irrigates approximately 135 acres out of 160 quarter section. This is the corners because it's rounded and the one quarter section is square. But through that and long before the 13 years and the next six or seven years there were over 700 of those center pivot systems put in Morrow County and most of them were pumping from the river to the ground that had never been in wheat it was just desert soil that responded magnificently when water and fertilizer was put on it. And some conditional farmers back farther south that drilled wells and irrigated and we become the number one potato producing county in the nation, shortly after we got into that in a big way and now they are more diversified. Still growing a lot of potatoes, but even fairly large acreages of hybrid poplars were planted to product chips for the wood industry and that's been a real questionable market up and down; they may get out of that, but there is some substantial acreage in that. A lot of alfalfa grown.

Recently they have announced that Boardman is the home of one of the ethanol producing plants in Oregon and I don't know what's going to happen up there because there's a demand for the hay, there's a demand for the potatoes and if they start growing a crop for that ethanol plant they are going to reduce the acreage of those other crops and this has happened nationwide. They are going to raise the price of food, maybe lower the price of fuel, but it doesn't look like very much and the ethanol production thing has way more problems than benefits at this point in my mind. If I was a county agent, I'd have a hard time supporting building ethanol plants.


EU: So, you've seen a lot of changes over the years, I mean with the crops have changed.

HK: Wheat is still king out there but boy, if you've got water, you can do a lot of other things and of course, barley is a substitute for wheat. Interesting, barley does better on poorer, dryer ground, dryer conditions, than wheat does. It's a more efficient crop. Produces more pounds of barley than wheat can produce pounds of wheat. But potatoes and corn, both sweet corn and field corn, alfalfa.

One of the changes in Morrow County is that there is now over 30,000 dairy cows in Morrow County producing cheese for Tillamook and that's another big demand on those acres of irrigated ground, to produce the feedstuff for those milk cows.

EU: So all of Tillamook Cheese doesn't all come from ....

HK: Doesn't all come from Tillamook.

TZ: It comes from Tillamook, but through a circuitous route.

EU: Not Tillamook cows, huh?

TZ: Right. Not happy cows from California or from Tillamook.

TZ: When you mentioned change, I think you're right. You know when you go back to the '40s, the only thing they grew in these areas these were dry were dry land wheat and that's why the summer fallow system was developed because they didn't have a choice. They didn't have the moisture, couldn't turn on the faucet and make it rain or whatever. Now they can turn on the faucet in a lot of these areas where they were pumping water out. So then that just changes dynamics of cropping. Like Harold said, well, they started out with potatoes and sugar beets. Sugar beets at one time were really big up in that area and the sugar beet factory in Washington, Wenatchee I think, went out of business, so sugar beets kind of went down and then alfalfa and potatoes and now you're talking about the hybrid poplars. Why we would have thought that was really weird but when you drive along 84 going to Pendleton you see thousands of acres of hybrid poplars.

EU: I've often wondered what those trees were.

TZ: And so you know, whatever is going to happen, as far as the market, and these folks have the ability to get in because they've got the water and they've got the temperature and they've got the sun. And then the changes in cereal varieties is always changing. Herbicides are changing...pesticides; whatever. So there's a lot of changes but there's been some monumental changes when you get water.

HK: Of course, that's not without controversy. There are people who think we shouldn't be taking the water out of the Columbia River for irrigation, so...

EU: Could you talk a little bit about corporate farms and has that been one of the changes?

HK: Those big farms in northern Morrow County around Boardman were all corporate ventures. Sometimes two or three private individuals f0rming a corporation, known as Saber farms, another instance of one family farming a farm called Eastern Oregon Farms. The biggest one is actually, it's quite a complicated thing. The land is actually owned by the State of Oregon, it's leased to Boeing Company and then two partners, Pete DeGaris and J. R. Simplot formed Simtag Farms and they farm substantial acreage. That's now where the dairies are so those people are involved in that land too and I didn't view them as a threat to the family farm. They had the access to resources, to financing, they could hire their own private county agents and you know that land probably would never have been developed any other way.

TZ: Was that part of the Boardman bombing range?

HK: No, the bombing range is still there. There's 50,000 acres that's controlled by the Navy as a practice bombing range and that's still desert; surrounded now by irrigated fields, at least on three sides. That someday, might become available but maybe not. There's still more acres out there that can be developed and irrigated and we had a project related to Tom's research plots where we were going to build a canal that would take water back about 12 or 13 miles to an elevation of about 1,100 feet and then private farmers could buy water from that canal distribution system and irrigate dry land wheat ground. We collected 25 cents an acre from the affected landowners and did a fairly intensive economic development feasibility study and decided it was just borderline whether it would work. If we decided it would work where would the financing come from? It would have taken huge amounts of money to do that. The government wasn't libel to come up with it; the farmers weren't libel to commit to that kind of debt and so we said it was feasible but at this point not economical. Now, if food costs keep going up and wheat went from $4 a bushel to $10 a bushel this last year because of this corn ethanol problem and if those crop prices remain and there's a worldwide shortage, they could afford to irrigate that dry land ground.

TZ: Like the Shutler Flat irrigation project that we talked about earlier where I developed the research plots for the Shutler Flat was specifically in Gilliam County and pumping out of the Columbia River. It was quite a pump – 600-800 feet, I suppose, 900 in some cases to pump it up to the top of the flat. Well, it was feasible but the ranchers wouldn't want to commit. Wheat was $1.25 a bushel thing. Wheat, at $10 a bushel now, I can't help but believe that they wish they would have. But here you go, you don't have the wherewithal or the money so what do you do. So probably some farms we talked about if they signed up and wanted to go they would have gone bankrupt. Some of them would have survived and they would have had water. Somebody would have profited by it but that's an investment one way or the other, a great challenge.

EU: Let's take a break. This is the end of Part 4.


Elizabeth Uhlig: This is Part 5 of the interview with Harold Kerr and Tom Zinn.

Tom, let's go to Turkey. Why don't you tell us about the five years you spent in Turkey?

Tom Zinn: Well, we left for Turkey in 1970 – my wife and two children. My youngest son was just a year old. We spent five years there. It was a two-year assignment and it turned into five. The assignment was to try to adapt the summer fallow system that was so successful in the Mid-Columbia Basin of Oregon where I was working in Gilliam County to Turkish conditions on the Anatolian Plateau that had about eight million acres there. They were producing some where around nine to eleven bushels per acre of wheat and with the summer fallow system we thought we could double that at least.

We did find out, through research while I was over there, that adding fertilizer at the right time, and they had access to fertilizer, and then using herbicides for weed control at the right time we could double the yield. If you added then the summer fallow system which we talked about earlier, you could triple their yield. So we could go from ten or eleven bushels to about 35 to 40. The nice thing about Turkey and the Anatolian Plateau and why we thought we could do that was if you overlay the weather data in Pendleton, Oregon, like temperature per month, rainfall, moisture, transfer evaporation rates, it almost was a direct overlay with Pendleton, Oregon on the Anatolian Plateau at Ankara, Turkey. So we thought that we could successfully develop a tilling system that would work.

The biggest challenge we had was soils over there which are extremely heavy in clay. You could just roll up the soil when it was wet into a ball or plate-like or a bowl-like, fire it and you had pottery. So that created some challenges in the timing of tillage but other than that over that five-year period, we were successful.

When we left, Turkey had been importing wheat every year; we had been giving Turkey wheat through what's called the PL480 Bill and providing wheat for them for years. About two years after we left, they stopped importing wheat and they began to export a little wheat. They have never imported wheat since. So it was USAID Rockefeller Program that was very successful. And it wasn't just me; there was a team of people. We had a weed specialist and another tillage specialist that worked for Rockefeller and myself and then a person that developed Extension pamphlets and taught Extension agents how to teach farmers.

EU: So, did you have a leave of absence from the Extension Service?

TZ: Yes, I did. I had a leave of absence for two years that stretched into five and as that stretched out, I had agreed to get my degree during that period of time...

EU: This was your Master's Degree?

TZ: My Master's, yes...when I got back I asked the university in the fact that I had extended if I couldn't develop some research myself for my Master's. Because I wanted to get a Master's of Science in Cereal Production because I thought I wanted to come back and work in cereal production somewhere in Oregon. They agreed to that, so I actually did my research first and then when I returned in 1975, I enrolled at OSU and got my course work out of the way in about a year and got my Master's. I was then transferred to The Dalles where there was a position open in The Dalles which really just fit right up my alley. I keep thinking back about the time that I took my first job in St. Helens which was in Horticulture and finally the university found a job that I thought maybe I was qualified.


EU: Before you move on; your family, your wife and children, came with you to Turkey.

TZ: Yes, my wife and two boys. Like I said, my youngest boy was just one year old when we moved to Turkey and we lived in Ankara which is the capital. My oldest son was two and so we lived there four or five years.

EU: You must have liked it; I mean, looking around your home with the rugs and photos...

TZ: Oh, we really enjoyed it. We didn't have television there in Turkey in those days and we did a lot of things with our children. It was kind of neat that you don't see now. We read a lot of books and listened to a lot of music and my wife and I did a lot of rug shopping on the weekends when I was home.

I traveled out in the country quite a little bit. Our research plots were in five areas which would be similar to counties in Oregon. Maybe between twenty miles and 150 miles apart. So I was on the road quite a bit of the time, particularly during the season when you were plowing or seeding or whatever. The experience that I got was fantastic and the education then coming back just really fit well for the job in Wasco County. And that job was...I was responsible for crops and livestock in Wasco County. I moved to Wasco County, I think it was the latter part of '76.

EU: So you say, they finally gave you the right...

TZ: Finally found my niche, at least I though I did. I have never regretted any position that I ever had or was assigned to in the Extension Service. And I learned so much in every position. It was just a wonderful, wonderful challenge and experience for me in all three of the counties. That probably fit my education better than any position I had.

EU: So what exactly was your title?

TZ: It was Livestock Crops Agent in Wasco County at that time, yes.

EU: So what kinds of projects did you work on?

TZ: Well, there were numerous projects. I had some research projects that I conducted in seed size for wheat, the larger size of seed, theoretically the more production you get with a heavy production. And then a couple of other things I did I think were significant in Wasco County was I ultimately gained the trust of the wheat producers there and sent out a questionnaire asking them if they would please divulge their yield. I didn't want their name but I wanted their yield in the area in which they were farming. I could figure out who was who but that wasn't important – and the variety of wheat they were growing. What I wanted to do is put that all together and send out a report to all the ranchers to show them what varieties were assumed to give the best yield. So I remember imploring them to be honest about their yields and you just had to accept that and I think probably once they found out what I was trying to do after about the second year, it became really quite popular 'cause they could see in their area if there was another variety of wheat somebody else was growing and they knew that was in their area, it might be a lot better yield and it was particularly on three or four other ranches, it was of great help to the wheat producers. Those are some of the things I recall that were quite involved.

I conducted a wheat workshop and I was thinking of about three counties then; Heppner in Gilliam County, Sherman and Wasco and good heavens, when we advertised that we had people from both Washington and Oregon State. And it was quite an intensive workshop where we had the ranchers dissect a wheat plant and understand all the parts of the wheat plant and why they operated; we had a wheat physiologist there and why it operated ... the wheat plant how it grew and we went through the whole gambit of use of herbicides and what effect that would have on, say, the coleoptile or the growing point of the plant at different stages and why you got injury in some and why you didn't in others. It seemed to be really popular, didn't it Harold?

Harold Kerr: Excellent.

TZ: Had to put together quite a workbook for them and it really challenged them. They had to get in and they had to work. They had to think. It wasn't just sitting there talking to them. I had microscopes for everybody there at the tables; they were like kids back in school. At first, they were kind of grousing about it but once they got into it they really seemed to get into it.


EU: So, Harold, you were also in Wasco County?

HK: Right. I followed Tom and those were big feet to fill. I moved down there from Heppner to The Dalles to Wasco County.

EU: What year was that?

HK: Oh, it must have been 1980. The people in Wasco County loved to say that they were a lot smarter than those in Morrow County because they got rid of him in less than two years. It took them 13 years up in Heppner to get rid of me. But that led to an opportunity to come to Corvallis to be part of the Administrative Team. Wasco County was a fascinating place to work. As Tom was talking about their areas, it's not a huge area as far as acres of wheat but there are some real differences between the north end of the county, the middle of the county, and the south end. Huge differences in yield potential because of rainfall and soil depth. Up in that Columbia district up next to the Columbia River is as good as any wheat ground in Oregon. As good as anything up in Umatilla County. And then out south in the sallow, gravelling soil it was a struggle to get a crop out there. But it was a very interesting place to work. I followed Tom as the livestock agent and crops agent and also the staff chair. I was there a very short time and I think was just beginning to be accepted by the growers when I left.

EU: One thing I have to ask you about, is the Rashneeshees – were you there?

HK: I was their county agent. I got a call from Sheila's husband; he wanted to talk about growing wheat back there ...

EU: Maybe we should say exactly who they were?

HK: The Rashneeshpuram bought this large block of land in southern Wasco County and it had some pieces of ground that had been farmed through the years but when they took it over those pieces of ground were all grown up to weeds and rabbit brush. But there was a potential acreage there to grow wheat on. And the gentleman that I worked with was a lawyer from back East, if I remember right, knew nothing about wheat. These guys are still alive so I guess we can talk about them.

Anyhow, I spent quite a bit of time with him, going through the whole process of the equipment he needed and tillage and when to do it and what kind of seed to plant and how much fertilizer to use and what they needed to harvest and with and we got all through and I realized I had skipped over weed control. And I said, "Oh, we've got to back up here; there's one area that's probably vital. You plow up this desert ground and plant it to wheat and the weeds are going to come on unbelievable; all that seed that's been laying there for years and you disturb that soil, it's just going to be solid weeds and these are the chemicals..." "Oh," he said, "We don't believe in chemicals. Weeds won't be a problem." And I said, "Tell me how you're going to control weeds." "We have a lot of people here," he said. "We'll pull the weeds." And thinking about people pulling all those weeds and I said, "You know, we have just wasted a couple of hours of my time and our time because you aren't going to get those weeds all pulled by people and you aren't going to grow any wheat unless you get those weeds out of there." So I left.

Later at harvest time, they wrote a big story about this combine and it cut the wheat and it took the plant and the real wheat fell into the bin and the writer said we harvested all day and we got 50 bushels. That sounded great to them, but that was really a laughable statement to make because you should harvest 50 bushel in ten minutes. And so it was a disaster economically.


The other instance I had with them, another person, part of their administrative group, came into the office one day and asked me if he could use my phone. And I had a private office and I said sure, assuming he was making local calls. And I walked out of the room. I was out quite awhile and walked by the door and picked up on the conversation that we was talking to somebody in Portland. And I thought, "I didn't give you permission to make long distance calls." So I walked in and I said, "Your time's up. I didn't give you permission to make long distance calls to Portland." And he said, "What do you mean?" I said, "Hang up the phone; you're done." About that time was when they were accused to poisoning the salad bar at the Portage Inn and for a little while I thought I might be on their list, but I never heard anymore from them.

EU: So they left the area, then, I assume?

HK: They were still there when I left.

EU: You didn't drive them out?

HK: I didn't drive them out. Nope. Nope. I don't know what all happened that they left, but the Rashneesh moved to India, I guess. Anyhow, it fell apart.

TZ: I think the whole thing was initiated finally that there was a lot of fear down in the south county of them by a lot of residents and I think the straw that broke the camel's back was when they poisoned the salad bar at the Portage Inn.

EU: It was in The Dalles, right?

TZ: That's the Portage Inn in The Dalles where the judge and the commissioners were having a meeting I guess or ate there; I don't think anyone lost their life as I recall but they made some people very, very sick. I think it was botulism was the poison. I'm not positive about that. From there, I think it finally got the support of the state and it went downhill.

HK: You asked earlier, Elizabeth, about corporate farms in Morrow County and I didn't give you a complete answer there. The county judge that kind of challenged me about being wet behind the ears, called me up one time and he said, "People are concerned that you're spending too much time with the corporate farms." I said, "Paul, I treat those people the same as I do the smallest wheat farmer in the county. I answer their questions. If they want me to go to look at a problem, I do it, but I do the very same thing for any individual family wheat farm." And I said, "I can tell you that they honestly don't get a disproportionate amount of my time but I appreciate you asking because..." what was the lady that wrote the Silent Spring, Rachel Carson...that book had come out and he sent that book over to me saying that he wanted me to read that and wanted to know if I agreed or disagreed with it. I wrote him back a two-page response and told him how I didn't discriminate against just because they were big, but I certainly didn't do them any favors, either. It seemed to satisfy him. I felt comfortable with that, so when the Rashneesh called, I thought, "Well, they are a landowner and they had a right to my services."

EU: So, you said you went to Wasco County following Tom. And so Tom where did you move to?

TZ: Well, at the time, Extension was looking for a supervisor. There was a position open, and so I applied for that and ultimately was selected as an area supervisor for a number of counties. And so I moved from Wasco County, in The Dalles, to Corvallis four days know it seems like four days before things happened to me before...the October 12th windstorm when we moved to St. Helens on October 8th and four days before Mt. St. Helens blew we moved into our house on Roosevelt in Corvallis. So the omen wasn't too good. So I became a part of the administration in Corvallis at the time and then...


EU: You said you were a supervisor. Could you explain that? And the district system.

TZ: Okay. At that time we were in charge or had administrative responsibility to a number of counties. There are 36 counties in Oregon and they were divided up, I think there were four supervisors. And so we didn't have nine counties. I think at the time when I first came to Corvallis I think I had the administrative responsibility for seven. And basically, our responsibility at that time was working with the chair agents who had the administrative responsibility in each county and working with them and their issues and problems on budgets, evaluating them come evaluation time making sure they evaluated their staff and as an administrative support to the county staff and specifically the county staff chairman. Did I miss anything there, Harold?

HK: Well, you were responsible for hiring new agents.

TZ: Right. And hiring agents, and hiring faculty members. We were part of a group later when we reorganized but we were part of a group that did the hiring and decided which positions would be replaced if there were vacancies. And responsible for taking the candidates to the counties to have the counties look the candidates over; interviewing the candidates and basically just everything that had to do with administration. And as Harold said, hiring staff.

EU: Had there been a reorganization?

TZ: Well, in 1982 the Extension Service was reorganized...

HK: Which happened about every ten years (laughter).

TZ: Yeah, which seemed to happen about every ten years for some reason. But in the reorganization of the Extension Service put us in our position, there were three of us at the time, that we were supervisors and they were going to make associate directors to the director and have an administrative team which would be comprised of the director and the four associate directors and they were responsible at that time for total budgets statewide, faculty on and off campus as far as those decision were concerned and what positions were replaced. The associate directors also had responsible for recruiting staff, filling positions and had responsibility to serve like a supervisor a certain number of counties. So we had a position vacant at the time, after we reorganized. And so Harold applied and was accepted and so that's how he got to Corvallis. It was 1982 when he came down as associate director.

EU: You said there were four?

HK: There were three that worked with the counties—Tom and I and Alberta Johnston and then Norm Goetze was the associate director responsible for the specialists on campus. And so we worked with the department heads in a slightly different way than we worked with the staff chairmen, but basically he was responsible for all specialists on campus.

TZ: He worked through the department heads, and with the specialists and then as an administrative team, the four of us made decisions on budgets and evaluation. Department heads evaluated the faculty, but Norm had a significant input on the faculty. So we had a representative for on campus and off campus.

EU: So you each, the two of you and then Alberta, divided up the 36 counties?

HK: We did. We each had approximately twelve.

TZ: Oh we divided it a little different. I think at one time we had – I know when I had the metro area, that was a pretty good sized area, but it was closer and one time I had just nine counties and the other two associate directors picked up with rest of the counties and then we did some shuffling again. Part of it, you looked at where you had to travel. Whereas, Harold had probably the hardest travelling job, the furthest, because he had the outlying counties on the east side; the far east side – Malheur, La Grande, Wallowa, so he had less counties than some of us a times just because of the distance he had to travel to get there.

EU: Did you have some in the valley?

HK: I did, actually, I don't know if I ever had less than twelve. I had those eight on the east side and then I had Benton, Lane, Linn and Lincoln on the west side so I didn't have to stay overnight; I could go, spend the day and get back. But when you went east, if you were planning at all, you tried to plan a whole week out there. I said I could leave Corvallis at 5:00 and be in any county seat in Oregon by midnight but it took all that time to get to Wallowa County.


EU: So Tom, what were your counties? You said the metro area?

TZ: Well, yeah, I had the metro area, I had central Oregon and I had some of the coastal counties. Then I had Klamath, Jackson and Lake at one time; Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson and Douglas. I had Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas at one time. I had Astoria, Clatsop, Tillamook and Columbia.

EU: Back to St. Helens, huh?

TZ: Right. We traded around a bit from time to time because of differences in people's travel or schedule or other things that they might have to do. We brought in another associate director for a while, when they pared down the business office and he took over a number of counties and I can't remember what the assignment was. I know I had every county in the state with the exception of the ones that Harold had in the far east. I had at one time been in every county in awhile.

HK: One of the unique things that both of us talked about being hired by Frank Ballard and his team. When I got to Corvallis the counties that I was assigned had three vacancies and the traditional way to fill those was to take a candidate out, meet the local people, see the area, and have them be interviewed by a local committee and bring them back to Corvallis and interviewed by the formal committee that made the decision about hiring subject to the local people accepting that person. That was all kind of negotiated by the associate director.

Well, when I saw that I had three positions and the policy was to take one candidate at a time, I thought, "This is impossible. I'm going to be on the road forever filling these three positions in eastern Oregon." So I think I'm right, that I instituted the...I had four candidates for two positions in Burns and John Day; Harney and Grant counties. And so the Grant County position was temporary while the agent was on a sabbatical. And so somebody said that you can't take all four candidates in the same car; and I said, "I think I can. I'm going to talk to them that they are not being evaluated while we're travelling. They can visit as much as they want, talk about anything they want to, get acquainted, but the formal interviews start when we get to the county seat."

So that first trip I picked up two candidates in Corvallis and one at the Eugene Airport and headed over the mountain to Bend and the fourth candidate had flown into Boise and rented a car and met us in Burns. So we had our interviews in Burns with the local people and then we had two cars and five people and so I said, "We've got to rotate so everybody gets acquainted." So one of the candidates was from Iowa and I said, "Why don't you drive the rental car and the other four of us can ride in my car."

So we went from Burns to John Day. Well, when we got down the hill, coming down into Canyon City and this other car didn't come and didn't come and when we were at the top of the hill she was right behind me. So finally, I got concerned; turned around and drove back up the hill and here she was coming at 15 miles an hour. She had never been on a mountain like that in her life --- scared to death driving down that hill. Anyhow, she ended up getting the position in Grant County and the girl that had flown in from Minnesota to Boise ended up getting the Burns position. And then so I filled the other position in the same fashion and did that for the eight or nine years that I was a supervisor. Never had a problem with it.


TZ: Well, he started something and all of us did the same thing. We started when we advertised, we would pick out of the pool, we'd select whatever candidates we thought, whatever the selection committee was, composed of people from the county and on state and it was probably heavily loaded with county people and maybe a specialist and certainly one of us. We'd put them in the car and I would telephone the candidates if they would call, "You know, this is going to be different for you because you are going to see your competition and ride with them and stay with them." I remember a couple candidates saying they had never heard of a thing like this in their life. But when they got through the process they would say they learned so much and it was so much easier for them to accept maybe the fact that they didn't get the job because they saw all the candidates and made judgments. Occasionally that would work the other way, because they thought, "Well, I was better than any of the three, or whatever." But we used that, all of us. And on campus that was almost heresy.

HK: They were shocked.

TZ: We were heretics to do something like that. Why, they would never let a candidate see another candidate. We kind of had to laugh, but it not only saved the State a lot of money, but I think it had some real value in being able to have all those candidates together, see how they reacted with one another and see how they reacted and when it was their time to make a little presentation, which they had to do and then they were asked questions to see how they responded. We did take the candidates and individually question them, you know the committee.

HK: They were interviewed individually.

TZ: But they all had an opportunity together where three of them might be sitting watching and the other make a little presentation about themselves. So they could judge for themselves what this candidate was like. And sometimes there was a world of difference as you well know, when you are interviewing people, there's a world of difference between candidates. It really was a system that at the time worked well for us.

HK: It worked good. I had at least two instances through the years where the candidates would get me aside and tell me who I should hire. Which I never expected that know...but they had this feeling; they had gotten acquainted you know and say, "Boy, so-and-so is the one you ought to get."

TZ: And I would call the candidates that I had and say, "You know, wanted to let you know." I always told them that as soon as we made a decision, I'll call you and I'll let you know and I'll do the call and let you know. And like Harold said, on three or four occasions, they'd say, "Well, you know, I think you're right. You picked the best candidate." It wasn't that person you know, but they'd say, "I can see why you picked him." It kind of made you feel good and, like I said, occasionally you would have somebody that thought for a whole bunch of reasons they were the best. And they might have been the most intelligent but we always looked at people skills.

HK: Those people are now ready to retire. It's been almost 30 years since we started that.

EU: So you recruited nationwide? Oregon had a good enough reputation ...

HK: And had a system to contact their career counselors or whatever they were called on the campus that we had these vacancies in Oregon. Most states did that.

TZ: We advertised, I can't remember, in ten or twelve papers in and around the general area; northern California, some in Idaho, Washington and Oregon and then a position announcement went out to every Extension Service in every state. We interviewed some people from Alaska and from Hawaii. I had a candidate for Hawaii that I took over to Central Oregon and we interviewed and she was the top candidate. She ultimately turned the job down but coming back down the south Santiam, it started snowing. It was later in the year, like February or March so it was a wet snow and I mean it was just coming down and we stopped at a little restaurant just before you get to Sweet Home, The Mountain House, I think it is, halfway house there and she said "Stop, please stop." I thought, "Oh gosh, something's wrong. " Then I thought, "Well no, oh no, maybe they want to go to the bathroom or something." And the Mountain House was open and so I pulled in there and she got out and was just flabbergasted because they had just finished their interview and she had some pretty nice clothes on. There was about five, six, seven inches of snow on the ground. She just fell down and started making a snow angel. And I said, "What are you doing?" And she said, "I'm sorry, but I've never seen snow before. I'm from Hawaii!" I said, "They have snow in Hawaii don't they?" "Well, not where I live. I've never seen snow." She just stood out there learn so much about every individual from all over the United States. It was interesting and exciting.


EU: In your work, what percentage of time did you travel? I mean, you were away from home quite a bit, it seemed or not?

HK: Yeah, as associate director. I never stopped to figure out how much time it was, but like you say, when I went to eastern Oregon I tried to schedule so that I either visited all the counties or spent time in the county where there was a personnel problem or something like that or a budget problem and tried not to run over on Monday and comeback on Wednesday and then have to go back on Thursday. I'd get more done in one trip.

I was thinking that morning that in those 30 years of driving over the mountain and through the gorge, I never looked at a weather report, never considered the weather as to whether I should go or not. Chained up twice in 30 years. One time because a Forest Service rig stopped in the middle of the road 'cause he spun out and I was still going, I had to stop I couldn't get around him and I embarrassed him and he put my chains on for me. The other time I had a set of chains that I had never put on and I was trying to get over Mt. Hood and it was slick and I hadn't spun out but I felt like I could so I stopped and put these wire chains on. I didn't go five miles but one of them came off and wrapped around the rear axle and the other one finally broke and thought, "I'll just leave those on there until I get to Madras, I'll take them off." And so that was the only two times I chained up in 30 years. And now I don't think I'd approach it in quite the same way.

TZ: Well, we did spent a lot of time on the road. And sometimes you kind of tried to evaluate that. Boy, you know, your time utilization might not be the best in the world, but in trying to service those people and service them from an administration standpoint, and make those county agents or faculty and our chairs feel that we did care about them and although we were in Corvallis we were out there. I think we made a special effort during that era to make sure that they knew that we were there for them and in support of them.

We did spend a lot of time on the road and I can remember a number of times raising a couple of little kids and my wife was a teacher, coming home and she would say, "Boys, I'd like you to meet your new Dad." [laughter] But like Harold, if you're out, particularly on the east side and you know you've got to do something on Thursday and you're all through somewhere else on Tuesday, you aren't going to want to turn around and come back to Corvallis and then beat the highway up going back over. And there has been a couple of times when Harold and I had to go different places so we took two cars and we had a couple of races going up over the south Santiam. He never won one of them.

HK: He cheated. He beat me. [laughter]

TZ: Yeah, we did spent a lot of time on the road.

EU: Could you talk a little bit about Alberta. I mean in the position of women in the Extension Service. Alberta Johnston. Was she the first woman in a high position in the Extension Service?

TZ: I don't think so. We had, well, they had an organization when Harold and I were chairs and when he was in Prineville and Heppner and I was in St. Helens, where they had a man supervisor and a woman. And this was kind of an interesting scenario compared to now, but in "those days" back in the '60s and '70s, they had a woman who supervised the home economist and if the 4-H agent was a woman then that woman supervised her probably, so never did the men supervise the women. Never did the women supervise the men.

So when the administrative staff from Corvallis went to Burns or Bend or wherever, they went as a man and a woman team. And the woman would go in and sit down and visit with the home economist and do whatever they needed to do and the other supervisor would go in and sit down and visit with the chairman agent or the other agent. And so I would say that at that time, that was probably the first women in administration that we had. My guess is, around the '60s when they had that split between the supervisors, one handling the men and the women, and then they moved over to...

I think Alberta probably was the first female supervisor, all programs, without having a male to supervise the male part. You kind of have to laugh about that now days, you know, would never have flown a hundred years ago, but I guess that was the only way it would have worked in the '60s.

HK: Alberta and I were assigned to meet with two Federal Extension people, that's a small staff in Washington D.C. but they kind of view themselves as overseers of the state organizations. And these two guys came out and Alberta and I were chosen to meet with them. And they made three or four references to Alberta supervising the women. Or we told them about our county breakdown and they would say to Alberta, "Well, who supervises the ag program in your counties." And she said, "I do." I think she said that at least twice and I supported her at least twice and this guy still was saying, "Well, who is the ag supervisor in this county?" And I said, "Alberta is, how many times we have to tell you that?" [laughter] They never did understand it I don't think. They just couldn't get used to that idea. So apparently our old system was more common nationwide that the new one we had.

One of the things we did each spring, we travelled together as a threesome and evaluated the staff chairmen and listened to the staff chairs' evaluation of the agents. And we did that as a team and so we travelled together; we were out for a whole week, probably two weeks to get it done and we became good friends, travelled well together and had a lot of stories that the three of us shared that probably ought to stay in the car. [laughter].

TZ: Well, we did and we did have a very good working relationship among us and you kind of had to, I mean, you were there, you were in the box. Unless you wanted out, no one was going to let you out of the box and so you made it work. But it wasn't a case where it didn't work for us. We were very fortunate having the personalities that we did with Harold and Alberta and myself. Anyway, there are some stories that are kind of funny ...

HK: I think she thought of us as "her boys." [laughter].

EU: Let's take a break. So this is the end of Part 5.


Elizabeth Uhlig: This is part 6 of the oral history with Tom Zinn and Harold Kerr.

Do you have any travel stories you want to talk to us about?

Tom Zinn: Me?? [laughter]

Harold Kerr: As we both look at each other.

TZ: Ah, I'll throw one out just for the heck of it. When I was in Gillliam County I talked about the home economist who had been there. Great home economist, very professional. Her husband was getting a PhD and he just about finished and she announced that she wasn't going to be there much longer. So I kind of panicked thinking, "Oh boy, who am I going to get now to help me out?" And she did agree to come back a couple of times and finish some work that she had started. At one time we were travelling on a rocky road; I had a Nash Rambler which was a state car and I didn't know her all that well because she hadn't been there in the county very long. But I knew her well enough to know that she was very well respected by clientele and very good at what she did.

So we were driving down this road going to a rancher's house to meet the wife, I think, and I asked her if she ever had pheasant. She said, "No." I said, "Did you ever cook a pheasant?" She said, "No." And I said, "Alright, there's one going to run across the road and I think we can get it." And so I just centered on that pheasant and sure enough the front axle hit the pheasant right in the head and I jumped out and threw it in the trunk and she looked at me and said, "I cannot believe you; what are you going to do with that bird?" And I said, "Well, you said you'd never cooked one, you've never eaten one, so this is going to be your chance. You're a home economist, so I'm challenging you here a little bit." So we did our job and got home and so I said, well," I'll take the pheasant to the house and pick it and then you can cook it." And so I picked it and I think my wife was gone to The Dalles or something, she had gone somewhere; she wasn't home at the time we brought the pheasant in. Anyway, cleaned the pheasant up and everything, and cut it up. So I said, well, fry it. She said, "I've never cooked a pheasant in my life." I said, "Did you ever fry a chicken?" And she said, "Yeah." I said, "Well, fry it like a chicken."

And so anyway, she cooked the pheasant and about that time, my wife came home with the kids and said, "What's going on?" And I said, "Well, we're having pheasant tonight." And the home economist said, "Your husband's crazy." She said, "He asked me if I'd ever eaten pheasant and I said no and then he ran over one and said well you're going to eat one." There's a lot of stories like that we could tell, but I'm not sure we want to. Harold, you probably have one or two.

HK: Well, I have one we haven't talked about. When I was in Prineville the home economist's name was Maude Pervine and she was in her 25th year or more of Extension work - was one of the real veterans of the home ec field. And at one point in her career she had been in Wheeler County. And there are a lot of dirt roads in Wheeler County; well anytime you left the county seat of Fossil, most of the roads were gravel and dirt. She was going south to Mitchell and passed one of the county commissioners in her state car. And as she went by him her gas tank fell out from under the car and it tumbled down the road and the county commissioner stopped and picked it up and took off after Maude and chased her quite awhile before the state car ran out of gas. It finally started to cough and spit and died and he drove up behind and says, "Maude, are you okay?" And she says, "Yes, but my car died." And he said, "Well, I think I know why; I have the gas tank in my trunk."

Maude was quite a character and she had worked all over the state and she was a real....I always got a little upset with her because she always wanted to plan. We did a lot of our 4-H things, she was in charge of the home ec part of 4-H and we'd have these planning meetings and we would decide what everybody was going to do and then when the event would come, well Maude wouldn't be there and she had agreed to be part of the program. And then I got so frustrated with that and I'd say, "Maude, weren't you supposed to be there yesterday?" "Oh," she said, "I was busy planning that March meeting." She was a great gal, but when she agreed to do something, I'd better be prepared to do it, because she was going to be busy planning the next session."


Nah, the other road stories I think we will save for the centennial.

TZ: Is there a centennial?

HK: Could be.

TZ: You're not going to tell the waterbed story?

HK: Nah....

TZ: Oh, okay.

TZ: Just perked Sue's interest on the waterbed story.

HK: She probably knows it.

EU: Well Harold, could you talk a little bit about your trips to Lithuania and how that came about?

HK: Okay. I retired in 1990 and heard about, actually I was working for Stahlbush Farms which is a local vegetable grower and I'd gone to a food convention with them and had met a young man in a booth called VOCA – Volunteers for Overseas Cooperative Assistance. And I just was visiting with him about what that program was all about and he explained that it was started by the Midwest coops and they were sending agriculture people to third world countries mostly to help them get various agriculture projects started. And I said, "Well, that sounds interesting." And so I took a form and filled it out and sent it in.

Six months later, I was called by a VOCA representative saying they needed somebody to go to Lithuania. They had just gotten their independence from the Soviet Union within two weeks at that point in time and they said we have some funding from the European Economic Community and we want to start an Extension Service in Lithuania and we would like to have you go over there as our contact person. So I thought that sounded neat. So I signed up, did it, and got my tickets and took off for Vilnius, Lithuania; arrived there 30 days after they had gotten their freedom from the Soviet Union. And one of the scary parts about landing was that this runway that was in very poor condition was lined with World War II Soviet fighter planes and that was a little bit scary. Anyhow, we taxied up to this building and walked down a ramp to the sidewalk and into this building. There were no lights in the building at all. It was dark. Finally, you could figure out where you were and suitcases started tumbling out of this hole in the wall and my suitcase showed up and so I walked through this mass of people.


I should say that the plane from Copenhagen from Vilnius was a Lithuanian plane and it was just jammed with Lithuanians going back to their home country for the first time in 30 years since they had been able to go there. And so it was just jammed and the conversation was all in Lithuanian and so it was like you were in a foreign country while you were still on the plane.

Anyhow, when I walked out into this larger room that had a few lights, I saw this VOCA sign this young lady was holding up and that was a big relief. Turned out she was a secretary to the local VOCA representative who was a Lithuanian and I met my counterpart who was a director of Extension that they had hired. A really neat guy – Edward Maderis – and we travelled over Lithuania and talked about Extension and how it worked in the U.S. and what his people could do and anyway we had a great time and a great relationship and so I went back twice more. Once with Bob Smith and Glenn Klein to teach their new faculty about Extension Methods and Glenn was our principle teacher, but Bob and I talked a little bit but Glenn did most of the teaching. And then Bob and I went back a third time to evaluate how they were doing. I don't think the Extension Service exists now because it only had three years funding and they just didn't have any money to fund something like that from their local government. But it was a great experience and one I will treasure for the rest of my life.

EU: So, when did you retire?

HK: September 30, 1990.

EU: And Tom?

TZ: October 30, 1993. Three years later.

HK: I found out after I retired that I really wasn't employed on October 1st, I was really employed on October 10 and I was ten days short of 30 years but I got credit for my unused sick leave so I was able to get my 30 years in.

EU: So when you look back on your careers and especially the last portion when you were in Corvallis, what are some of the major changes that you saw in the Extension Service?

TZ: Well, before I got to Corvallis, I would say that I was told by I don't know how many people, Elizabeth, that the best job in Extension is a county faculty member. And I was told that when I first went to work and I suppose if you are looking at Extension after you are hired, shortly after you are hired, and you look at the supervisors, associate directors, that might be something that you would aspire to and certainly that's something that occurred to both of us.

But I would say, the best job I ever had was the job as a county agent, whether it be in St. Helens needing a lot of help, Gilliam County, in the The Dalles, Wasco County, or overseas. Those were just the best times as far as personal satisfaction. Become an administrator, I remember the Director asking me what would make me happy as an administrator; how would I get my accolades? You get a lot of accolades out in the country from somebody saying, "Gee, you did a great job; you saved us eight million dollars." Or whatever the case may be. You know you did a good job; for a lot of reasons you can see what effect you have had. But it's a lot more difficult in administration as you well may know. When you have to evaluate people, etc., and so I would just say that as far as an Extension position, probably this is true anywhere in the United States, the best position, the most satisfying position would be the county position. Particularly if, you know, you have any people skills at all and you are happy in the work, why, that was the best job.

As far as changes ....

EU: Hold on just a minute. You had mentioned, at one time you said the job as a county faculty and another time you said county agent.

HK: Same thing.

EU: They are the same thing, but why are they two different...

TZ: Well, I changed those and we changed those when we started as associate directors. If we are going to call people faculty here on campus, let's call them faculty in the county. And so this is history. In the '60s they were county agents. They were still faculty members; they have always been faculty members. I think this has been one thing that's unique about Oregon State University as compared to a lot of other land grant universities that have the Extension Service. They are not recognized as "faculty members." They are classified staff or another type, but not faculty. So all of our Extension agents are faculty in the counties. And I think that was a very good thing. That surprised a number of people when I was overseas. Like the head of the Rockefeller Foundation, who I worked with over there said, "I don't understand this. How can you be a faculty member if you are just an Extension agent." I said, "Because the University recognizes us as faculty members and we have the responsibility to perform like a faculty member only in a different way. Why can't that happen?" He didn't really have a response to that because he didn't know, but that is kind of unheard of in the United States. So I think that was one of the good things we had and have going.


HK: Let me fill in a little bit, Elizabeth. When we were hired with Bachelor's Degrees, our title or our rating was Instructor in the university faculty system. And when we got our Master's Degrees, or actually you could get an Assistant professor without it, about the time we both got our Master's Degrees and Tom's timing might have been different than mine, but I was promoted to assistant professor while I was in graduate school. I didn't apply; it just happened to me. And then later I made associate professor and it seemed like it took a little while, but later I became a full Professor and retired as an Emeritus faculty with a full professor rating. Tommy's probably happened a little bit differently in sequence but that is unique that county agents could become full professors and recognized within the university system as full-fledged full professor faculty if they reached that status.

TZ: I think that's a very good point. And I think, as the university progressed and got to know Extension and found out we were faculty members and had been, there was criteria set up so that we had to perform if we were going to be promoted to not just tenure, but associate or assistant, associate professorship there are things you had to do – scholarly activity was one of them, teaching, research, scholarly activity which Extension does but it was set up so there was criteria that said, "This is what scholarly activity is for Extension faculty."

It's not the same as on campus. It can't be the same because you are teaching and doing research and we are teaching but not necessarily doing research in the counties. There are a lot of faculty that don't do research in the counties. In fact, few do. Well, probably more now. And then they had a requirement finally that faculty had to at least have a Master's Degree and then we put that in our plan where we didn't recruit anybody unless they had a Master's Degree. We all were grandfathered in but ultimately most of us kind of were informed that if you want to go up the promotion ladder in this organization, you'd better get your Master's Degree sometime along the way, which we did. Everybody now, I think, pretty much as them.

HK: In fact, people with doctorates get hired as county agents now.


TZ: Extension, you mentioned, changed. Well, I think in the '60s, '70s, '80s and the '90s – I think in the '90s Extension began to change. The university made some major changes in directing the finances for 30-40 years, maybe 50 or 100, the Legislature provided us with a budget and the federal government. It used to be that the federal government's budget was more than what the state budget was for years. And then that changed and switched. The budget, the money went into an Extension fund, a state fund for Extension, a separate fund, not within the university system. It still is, I think, a separate fund. But what a major change was that I think affects Extension is that the last ten years the funds that went for Extension went to the deans as opposed to the Extension Director. Heretofore, the director and the administrative team, supervisors, had control of the Extension funds. They provided salaries for faculty, staff, support staff, for on-campus and off-campus positions and the county offices also provided funds for off-campus and that's still occurring.

And we had a president that initially said that if we don't have support – it's a three legged milk stool – we have support from the federal government, from the state and if we don't have support from the counties we don't have faculty in the counties. And that's why we established a number of taxing service districts so that we could have support; so the counties could support. We nearly pulled Extension out of some counties and I think Multnomah County is now an example. They are trying to get back in. Before I retired we had Extension staff in every county and it was supported.

But the general fund money that goes now, instead of going into the director's budget, so to speak, and then funneled out to the deans and then the deans funnel out to the various department heads. So control is by the deans, basically, and department heads and so I think you have a different kind of Extension because it's pretty easy to support programs on campus and when you are a dean and you don't get out a lot or you don't know what's going on in Oregon, of course I'll be challenged over that. I've said that at times, sometimes in budgeting the closest to reality some of the deans have is going to Safeway here in Corvallis. Yet they really don't understand what's going on in Fossil. They've heard of Fossil, but they've never been there, don't understand what it's like living there and the kind of support base that you need.

So I have seen a shift of funds from the county level to the state level and what does that do to faculty in the county? I don't know because I've been retired too long. But I see that as a shift and I believe that Extension is not the same as it used to be. I'm not saying that it isn't as good, I'm saying I don't see the support in the field, I don't hear about the support from the people that we used to have for our faculty in the field. So I think that has had an effect.

Now whether we will ultimately have deans that really recognized that the whole state is something they ought to look at a little more seriously than just on campus than say a secretary's position on campus or an FTE, I don't know. I don't know what will happen.

But having had the experience and I think we were better off having had the experience as county agents. I think anybody is. To come from county agent and then go into administration and particularly when you are working with county faculty; working with county courts. You've been there, you've done that, you are going through the throes, as opposed to hiring somebody who comes from another campus, has never been an Extension agent, has never had to work in the field to understand what it's like, I just think you can be so much more effective to the county faculty if you have had that experience. I don't think you would be as effective, if you just had county experience in working with on-campus faculty or specialists, you probably wouldn't be as effective, I mean the same scenario had you been a specialist. Originally, I think, you know our specialists were designed to support the county staff in education and help them; that was their primary responsibility. What the specialists do now, I don't know. I can't tell you and I'm not saying that in a negative way, I just don't know.

HK: One of the changes, I don't feel comfortable evaluating, is that those county faculty are now considered faculty members of the Horticulture Department or the Crop Science Department. How often they get on campus and how much they have to say about what goes on in that department, I'm just not qualified to judge but that is a change which could be positive. Because under our system, the county agent had tenure in Extension Service, not in a department. And that could be positive, but I just don't know whether it is or not.

TZ: I don't know if you did a survey of county faculty if they were honest, how they would feel about that. Probably some of the faculty who had experienced a different form of administration might look at it a different way than the faculty that they have hired now and haven't seen the differences between our faculty in the field in Fossil, Oregon and answering to the Crop Science Department or the Animal Sciences Department. And being evaluated by the head of the Department of Animal Sciences. It's great if the head of the Department of Animal Sciences has been out there, has really gotten involved, knows the people, knows the area, knows what that person has to put up with but you can't compare the livestock agent and what he does in Wheeler County to the livestock agent and what they might do in Umatilla County or some of the other counties that have a lot more cattle and totally different production.

So, I don't know. Good question. We kind of walked around that one didn't we? [laughter].


HK: One of the things Tom and I both did without discussing it, was when we retired we didn't go back to Extension Hall on any kind of a regular basis. Very rarely do we go there. And we seemed to be welcome, but I think we could overstay our welcome if we stayed too long. So when we got out, we got out. We didn't try to have any influence on what was happening or on the people that replaced us. We just said, "Okay, we did our 30 years, it's somebody else's turn."

EU: Do you keep in touch with Alberta and some of the other folks?

TZ: Yeah, I see Alberta a little bit. Harold plays Bridge with her a lot. I get on campus once or twice a year maybe is about all. If that, really. When I retired, I can remember the first day, it was in November and fortunately there was hunting season so that kept me occupied, but after that for about two weeks I wondered what I was going to do, because I wasn't getting up and charging over the mountain and solving some big personnel issue or doing this or doing that. So I thought, "My Gosh, I've probably got to start taking up golf or doing something." And then in about two weeks, I got over that. I did go down to campus two or three times and then after I got over that and got to puttering around and found stuff to do there was about three or four years I hadn't been on campu,s period. But like Harold, we just kind of agreed that you know, we had met a lot of people who had retired and they would come in and visit with you and just want to talk about old times and you felt pressed for time and I said, I'm not going to do that to any faculty. They've got their jobs to do and you know retirement is for a purpose.

HK: Elizabeth, one point I was going to mention and I forgot it. One other thing that Frank Ballard said to me early in my career was, "Harold if you ever get confused, your work week starts every Monday morning at 8:00." I didn't really know what that meant till after about six months in Prineville and I realized that if you worked Saturday and Sunday, yeah, Monday morning at 8:00 was a new week and so he didn't say you had to work seven days a week, but he implied it might happen. In those days, Saturday morning was part of the work week.

TZ: You were expected to work until noon on Saturday.

HK: And as a 4-H agent I didn't have very many things scheduled Saturday morning, but Saturday afternoon we might have a 4-H activity and my staff chairman let me know that I needed to be in the office on Saturday morning and then I could go out to my 4-H function Saturday afternoon and a Sunday night meeting might happen too and I just accepted that as a fact.

Well, as supervisors, we ran into the new faculty that we are hiring and they had a little different concept of what a work week was and I had a little problem with that through the years because I really couldn't say to them, "You're work week starts Monday morning at 8:00." I also didn't go along with the idea that if he had a four hour meeting Wednesday night you didn't have to come in until noon on Thursday morning. I never would accept that. But some people saw that as appropriate work if you worked overtime Wednesday night you didn't have to be there Thursday morning but that was always a little bit of a controversy for me and some of my faculty that I supervised.


Well, my approach was that you are on a monthly salary and you do the job. You have the job to do; you get the job done; get 'er done - if it takes Monday, Wednesday, Friday, we've all done that, take Saturday and Sunday. If you and your wife have to go to town, you have to go to the doctor, go to the doctor. If you don't have a meeting or something, go to the doctor. But you get your job done, whatever that takes and don't worry about whether you need to take four hours off because you worked four hours. You used to get the job done and whatever else you've got to do. You've got 30 days of vacation and if you want to take off and go fishin'; you want to take off on Friday afternoon or Friday morning and you've got your work done, get out of here. And that seemed to appease most people.

You know, 4-H agents, I think, probably were the hardest hit of our faculty because when you had fairs and 4-H meetings they were in the evenings. You had fair board meetings that they had to go to, and then the fair was a grueling 24/7 all the time. And right after the fair you had all these people that were angry because their kid didn't win the prize and so you had to solve all these issues with the 4-H leaders, so you were going to meetings on Wednesday and Thursday and you tell you wife, "I've got a fair board meeting; oh, I've got a 4-H leaders meeting; well, something came up and we've got a club over hear that's very unhappy." So they had a lot of night meetings, a lot of Saturday meetings and Sunday meetings. I found that out when I was in Condon, how many weekends and hours that the 4-H faculty worked and you know there weren't a lot of complaints. My attitude was when they said, "Gee, I haven't had some time." I'd say, "Heh, you've got your job done; get out of here – get her done and get out of here; don't worry about that."

EU: So before we finish here, could you talk a little bit about your retirement. What have you been doing in the last ten, fifteen years?

TZ: You know, one of the favorite things I have to say when somebody says, "Well, what have you been doing in retirement?" I just look right at them and say, "Nothin'. " Now, Harold's a little different that I do. I don't have a schedule, I don't have a calendar. My wife gets on me because she says, "You know, we have to go to the doctor. You have a doctor...oh do I?" I used to have a calendar where I knew what I had to do. But we travelled quite a little bit overseas and then we travelled some right after I retired. My son went to school in France and we went over there and spent some time there. And since that time I like to hunt and fish so I've done that. And other than that, I just have fun puttering around. I don't have anything specific. Spend a little time at the Coast from time to time but don't have anything specific that I do every day. I wake up in the morning and if my wife tells me to do something I do it. [laughter]. Either that or I leave for coffee with Harold.

HK: Mine's a little bit different, Elizabeth.

TZ: He has a calendar.

HK: I still have a calendar. I retired Friday night at 5:00 and went to work Saturday morning at 4:00 a.m. at Stahlbush Island Farms as a shift supervisor in the plant where they process pumpkins and make frozen pumpkin pie puree. I did that from October, November, and mid-December for 12 hour shifts, six days a week and it nearly killed me because our other job was mostly driving or sitting at a desk and this one was on your feet all the time on concrete. But I finally got conditioned to that and worked then part- time for Stahlbush Island Farm through the next 17 years, so I actually have 17 years of employment at the Stahlbush Island Farms. Not full time all year, but periodically. And now, the last job I had was security guard at the farm since 9/11 and I've worked the last three or four years on a four-hour shift.

I'm also a volunteer 4-H leader. I was a 4-H member, and a 4-H Agent, but I never got to be a 4-H Leader, so I've completed ten years now as a 4-H Leader of a local 4-H Livestock Club - sheep and beef.

Carol and I travelled quite a bit. Did six or seven cruises through those last 17 years. And I'm active in our Kiwanis Club now along with a lot of other retired Extension people, so I'm seriously considering cutting back some of that as I've had some health issues these last four months and I haven't made any commitments for 2008. I may quit working. I think I'll hang on as a 4-H leader because that's a special kind of thing working with those kids but I've kept pretty busy through the years.


EU: And you guys live, what a mile or two from each other?

TZ: A mile or two apart and usually have coffee once a day when we are around.

EU: So you see each other often?

HK: Yeah. Almost daily.

TZ: Yup. And both of our wives, I think, kind of enjoy that because we get out of their hair at least for a period of time. And when they don't enjoy it, they let us know. I think with the women, it's kind of, you know...they are really glad to see us go and when we go sometimes if they just want to grouse on us, then we go too much. I've never learned over nearly 50 years, what is right.

HK: I haven't either. I had coffee with Tommy yesterday morning and then played golf in the afternoon and Tommy came by to visit me and I wasn't there and he and Carol talked about a lot of things and I really don't want to know very much what they talked about [laughter]. He may have helped and he may not have, Elizabeth.

TZ: Yeah, he called me this morning and said, "I hear you visited with my wife quite a bit." I said, "Yeah, boy, you got your work cut out for you." [laughter]

EU: Well, are there any things I didn't ask you about or anything you would like to ask before...

TZ: Good Lord, I don't think so.

HK: I think we've covered the waterfront.

TZ: There's a lot of things we didn't tell you, but they're better unasked.

EU: Well, if you think of more, let me know; I'll come back.

TZ: Well, I'm sure Sue won't want to know. [laughter] Anyway, thank you very much for the opportunity; it's been a pleasure, Elizabeth, and certainly a privilege to be asked to provide some input at least for an organization that we spent a lot of time at and love very much.

HK: I'd second that.

EU: Well, I've enjoyed it. Thank you very much.



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