Celebration of the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture began Wednesday during the first day of USDA’s 2012 Agricultural Outlook Forum. To commemorate USDA's rich history as well as its potential, Secretary Vilsack moderated a panel discussion with former Secretaries of Agriculture Ed Schafer, Mike Johanns, Ann Veneman, Dan Glickman, Mike Espy, Clayton Yeutter and John Block. Former Secretary Bob Bergland was taken to the hospital with a medical emergency.
Mr. Vilsack said having – nine Secretaries of Agriculture, representing 35 years of service, in one place at the same time was an incredible opportunity to learn about USDA's contributions to the strength and health of this nation with an eye for the impact the department can have in the future. Mr. Vilsack continued, – this historic gathering will help us guide how we transform USDA into a more modern and efficient service provider.
At the forum, USDA introduced a short film titled "Secretaries of Agriculture – 30 Leaders, 150 Years," available at http://www.usda.gov/USDA150, which looks at the history of USDA from the viewpoints of its nine most recent Secretaries. The film explores the history and role of USDA in American life, and why it continues to be known by the name given it by its founder, President Abraham Lincoln, "The Peoples Department."