It was 150 years ago this week when President Abraham Lincoln established the U. S. Department of Agriculture. As the department and its 30th Secretary, Tom Vilsack, celebrated the event, many others also celebrated. American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman pointed out that President Lincoln – understood the importance of agriculture to America. He realized science and technology played a major role in the farming industry.
From the very beginning, the federal government was involved in agriculture and dedicated to scientific progress in farming. According to Secretary Vilsack, – this commitment continues today at USDA and is shared by farmers and ranchers across the country, regardless of the methods of food and fiber production they use—organic or conventional.
Steve Wellman, President of the American Soybean Association, says – USDA has worked alongside soybean farmers for decades in the best interest of agriculture, developing international markets , fostering rural development, encouraging conservation, alleviating hunger, improving nutrition and enhancing food safety. National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says – USDA has served the family farmers and ranchers of this country very well. With the department's help, U.S. farmers and ranchers are able to produce the safest, most affordable, most abundant food supply in the world.
Other organizations observing USDA’s 150th Anniversary include: the National Cotton Council, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers, Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, National Corn Growers Association and USA Rice.