Former National Farmers Director, Caledonia, Minnesota Marketing Center Head Passes
Dedication. Commitment. Fun. Those words exemplify John Petersen, a former National Farmers national director who passed away May 5, in Caledonia, Minnesota. He was best known for growing and managing the National Farmers Caledonia Marketing Center that handled both hogs and cattle. He was 88.
“I remember running hogs with John the first few weeks I was an employee in 1989,” said Rhonda Bakken, Decorah, Iowa, Marketing Center Coordinator. “John used to run eight semi loads a day during the peak holiday season of cull cows and three semi loads of hogs daily.”
John and his wife, Lucille, worked alongside one another for National Farmers for 61 years, serving thousands of producers to help them market their hogs and cattle for higher prices.
They were both known to have the St. Mary’s Catholic gym full of 300 people for their annual appreciation dinner.
“Both John and Lucille were quite the characters,” said Bakken, as she reflected on the married couple. “I recall the truckers would come into the point without wiping off their boots and Lucille would chase them out with a broom until they did.”
Both John and Lucille believed in being thorough in all business aspects, including keeping the center spotless. But he always liked to have fun, too. His sons said that he could even make rock picking fun.
Peterson coached Bakken and helped grow the Decorah, Iowa, Marketing Center. Peterson hired Jason Storlie, who joined Decorah after Caledonia closed.
John married his wife Lucille in 1954 and farmed together in Hokah, Minnesota for 33 years.