From left Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Mika Brzezinski and Former Congressman Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) hosts of MSNBCâs âMorning Joe and Masters of Ceremony listen to Secretary Vilsack explain the history and importance of American agriculture to not only this country but to the world at the United States Department of Agricultureâs 150th Anniversary celebration in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, May 15, 2012. On May 15, 1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed into law an act of Congress establishing the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Over the next two months - in the midst of the Civil War - he signed additional legislation that expanded and transformed American farming, including the Homestead Act, and the establishment of the Land Grant agricultural university system. President Lincoln referred to the Agriculture Department as the âPeopleâs Departmentâ. President Lincoln knew the importance of agriculture to our prosperity â particularly at a time when about half of all Americans lived on the farm. Today that number stands at about 2 percent. Our values are still rooted in rural America. As the United States has changed and evolved over the years, at USDA we have not lost sight of Lincolnâs vision. Through our work on food, agriculture, economic development, science, natural resource conservation and a host of other issues, USDA has impacted the lives of generations of Americans. Today, USDA truly remains a âPeoplesâ Departmentâ that touches the life of every American. People depend on us and USDA is committed to leveraging the efforts of our Department and more than 100,000 hardworking USDA employees to continue creating jobs, supporting rural communities and helping our country prosper. USDA photo by Bob Nichols.
May 9, 2014
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