USDA’s 150th birthday is Tuesday, May 15, and the agriculture community is asking farmers and consumers to help it celebrate.
The Department was founded in 1862 when President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation creating what he called “the People’s Department.”
Today, USDA handles a diverse portfolio, ranging from administering nutrition programs that serve nearly 50 million people, farm safety net and conservation programs to managing food inspection and safety services and vital public research on crops including wheat.
Through this varied work, the Department touches every American, every day.
How are you going to celebrate? We couldn’t think of 150 ideas, but here are 10 to get you started:
- Learn about the three important acts Lincoln signed in the spring and summer of 1862 that still affect the food system today. These acts founded USDA, opened western lands for settlement by farmers and established the system of land-grant universities that continues to lead the way in agriculture innovation. Much more is at www.usda.gov/usda150.
- Participate in a virtual conversation about the USDA anniversary with the hashtags #AskUSDA and #USDA150. The conversation can be followed live online by following the same hash tags at search.twitter.com or through your favorite Twitter management program.
- Call your Representatives and Senators to tell them why you support USDA’s work. Need more specific ideas? Learn about the importance of public research at www.wheatworld.org/research.
- Post your congratulations and thanks to the Department and its many employees on Facebook…
- …and Twitter!
- Arrange to visit a school in your area to talk about farming and where food comes from. Some kids, even in rural areas, may have never seen someone who produces their food!
- Sign up for e-mails alerts with 150th anniversary factoids at www.usda.gov/usda150.
- Watch the archived webcast of a panel discussion between eight former Secretaries of Agriculture, online at the bottom of the main USDA 150 website page, www.usda.gov/usda150.
- Check out your favorite episode of America’s Heartland, public TV’s only show about farmers and farming. Over seven seasons, 150 episodes have been produced…so maybe plan to watch more than one.
- Eat! Enjoy the fruits, vegetables, meats and especially grains of farmers’ labor, with USDA’s vital support!