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USDA Celebrates 150 Years

In 2012, USDA commemorated and celebrated its 150th anniversary. Founded in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law an act of Congress establishing the United States Department of Agriculture.

Two and one-half years later, in what would be his final annual message to the Congress; Lincoln called USDA "The People's Department." At that time, about half of all Americans lived on farms, compared with about 2 percent today. But through our work on food, agriculture, economic development, science, natural resource conservation and a host of issues, USDA still fulfills Lincoln's vision - touching the lives of every American, every day.


Information and Resources

  • Morrill Act 150th Anniversary - Message from the President (PDF, 279 KB)
  • - Learn about the history of USDA from the viewpoints of its nine most recent Secretaries.
  • - The 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival commemorated the 150th anniversary of the founding of land-grant universities and the USDA.
  • USDA Blog - Read blog posts about USDA's 150th Anniversary Celebration.

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