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Oral History Interview with Larry and Betty Kelley, December 9, 1999. Interview K-0511. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Although ostensibly about the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd, this interview presents a history lesson on the gradual extinction of independent farming in eastern North Carolina. Larry Kelley shares the details of a lifetime of farming and other rural work. He sees himself as among the last members of a generation of old-school farmers who were pushed out of agriculture by factory farms and new techniques. But although farmers are being forced to abandon their farms, especially as Floyd exacerbated their financial difficulty, Larry maintains his faith in the strength of his rural community. This is a lengthy interview, and it is sometimes difficult to hear clearly because of interruptions and sound interference. The interview's highlights are focused on the Kelleys' experiences. Researchers interested in Larry's father's experiences as a farmer can look to the first fifteen pages of the transcript. Both Larry and Betty Kelley participated in the interview, but Larry does the majority of the talking.
    Excerpts
  • The decline of family farms
  • The transition to the factory farming hog raising system
  • Competition hurts small hog farmers
  • Leaving hog farming and the sand business
  • Economic challenges of rural enterprises
  • A bad year in 1980
  • FEMA fails to deliver on promises
  • Coping with flooding, during and afterward
  • FEMA and the SBA make securing aid difficult
  • The flood was God's will, but people made it worse
  • A bleak future for farming
  • The flood puts a stop to community-building activities
  • Factory farming destroys farm knowledge through segmentation
  • Rural values in Kelley's community
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Resources for Educators
  • Hurricane Floyd Learning Object
  • Subjects
  • Duplin County (N.C.)
  • Hurricane Floyd, 1999
  • Floods--North Carolina
  • Disaster relief--North Carolina
  • Swine--North Carolina--Duplin County
  • Kelley family
  • Kelley, Larry
  • Kelley, Betty
  • United States. Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.