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Reno, Milo



  • Existence: 1866-1936


Milo Reno was born on January 5, 1866, on the family farm in Wapello County, Iowa. He was the twelfth of thirteen children born to John and Elizabeth Reno. He attended rural schools, a Quaker academy, and Oskaloosa College. While in college he married Christine Good. They were to have three children, only one of whom lived to maturity.

In the 1880s Reno campaigned for the Union Labor Party and the Farmers' Alliance. In 1921, he became president of the Iowa Farmers' Union and served in that capacity for nine years. During that period he also served as president of the Farmers' Union Life Insurance Company and the Farmers' Mutual Automobile Association. In the early 1930s, Reno organized the National Farmers' Holiday Association and as its president campaigned for suitable prices for farm products - prices which would cover production costs and afford a reasonable profit. In August of 1932, he called for the first farm holiday which was in reality a strike for higher prices. After somewhat limited success, especially in the midwestern states, the movement collapsed. Later that year Reno's organization proclaimed a moratorium on tax and mortgage payments which ultimately highlighted the plight of the farmer and which prompted Congressional action for legislative solutions to the problem.

Reno at first supported the Roosevelt administration, but soon became disenchanted. He found fault with the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) and the crop stabilization program. He was a vocal critic of the Secretary of Agriculture and fellow Iowan, Henry A. Wallace. In his later years, Reno championed a third party. Milo Reno died of influenza on May 5, 1936.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Milo Reno Papers

Identifier: MsC0044

Farm leader. Correspondence, typescripts of speeches, articles, newspaper clippings, and other materials relating primarily to the activities of the National Farmers' Holiday Association and to state Farmers' Holiday associations.

Dates: 1927-1959; Majority of material found in 1933