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United States Department of Agriculture
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, also called the Agriculture Department, or USDA, is a Cabinet department of the United States Federal Government. Its purpose is to develop and execute policy on farming, agriculture, and food. It aims to meet the needs of farmers and ranchers, promote agricultural trade and production, work to assure food safety, protect natural resources, foster rural communities, also to meet the needs of the american people, and end hunger, in America and abroad.
The United States had a largely agrarian economy early in its history. Officials in the federal government had long sought new and improved varieties of seeds, plants, and animals for importation to the United States. In 1836 Henry L. Ellsworth, a man interested in improving agriculture, became Commissioner of Patents, a position within the Department of State. He soon began collecting and distributing new varieties of seeds and plants through members of the Congress and agricultural societies. In 1839 Congress established the Agricultural Division within the Patent Office and allotted $1,000 for "the collection of agricultural statistics and other agricultural purposes."
Ellsworth's interest in aiding agriculture was evident in his annual reports that called for a public depository to preserve and distribute the various new seeds and plants, a clerk to collect agricultural statistics, the preparation of statewide reports about crops in different regions, and the application of chemistry to agriculture. In 1849 the Patent Office was transferred to the newly created Department of the Interior. In the ensuing years, agitation for a separate bureau of agriculture within the Department or a separate department devoted to agriculture kept recurring.
On May 15, 1862 President Abraham Lincoln established the independent Bureau of Agriculture to be headed by a Commissioner without cabinet status. Lincoln, the Republican, called it the "people's department."
In the 1880s, varied special interest groups were lobbying for Cabinet representation. Business interests sought a Department of Commerce and Industry. Farmers tried to raise the Bureau of Agriculture to Cabinet rank. In 1887, the House and Senate passed bills creating a Department of Agriculture and Labor, but farm interests objected to the inclusion of labor, and the bill was killed in conference. Finally, on February 9, 1889, President Grover Cleveland signed a bill into law establishing the Cabinet level Department of Agriculture.
During the Great Depression, farming remained a common way of life for millions of Americans. The Deparment of Agriculture was crucial to providing concerned persons with the assistance that they needed to make it through this diffucult period, helping to ensure that food continued to be produced and distributed to those who needed it, assisting with loans for small landowners, and contributing to the education of the rural youth. In this way, the Department of Agriculture became a source of comfort as people struggled to survive in rural areas.
Today, many of the programs concerned with the distribution of food to the hungry people of America and providing nourishment to those in need are run and operated under the Department of Health and Human Services. The USDA now primarily concerns itself with assisting farmers with the sale of crops on both a domestic and world market.
The USDA is administered by the United States Secretary of Agriculture.
* Extension Service of the USDA
* Farm Service Agency (FSA)
* Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)
* Risk Management Agency (RMA)
* Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)
* Forest Service (FS)
* Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
* Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS)
* Office of Community Development (OCD)
* Rural Housing Service (RHS)
* Rural Utilities Service (RUS)
* Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)
* Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP)
* Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)
* Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
* Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA)
* Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
* Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES)
* Economic Research Service (ERS)
* National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)
The source of this article is from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.