Celebrating 150 Years of Service

Celebrating 150 Years of Service

Celebrating 150 Years of Service

I’m KayDee Gilkey with the Northwest Farm and Ranch Report.?

Today, 150 years ago President Abraham Lincoln signed into law an act of Congress establishing the United States Department of Agriculture. President Lincoln knew the importance of agriculture to our country’s prosperity – particularly at a time when about half of all Americans lived on the farm.

Washington state’s USDA Rural Development State Director Mario Villanueva  shares more about how President Lincoln helped to transform American farming with the creation of USDA as well with the signing of two other Acts.

Villanueva: “In 1862 president Lincoln signed into law the creation of establishment of USDA so that is prominent. But also the Morrill Act was signed during that same period of time, and that basically created the opportunity for Land Grant Universities to be established on public land. And then Homestead Act was basically signed around the same time by President Lincoln during the Civil War that basically created an opportunity for folks to come out on public land and get 160 acres and start farming. So it was really a shot in the arm for agriculture.”

Villaneuva says is important to remember what kind of turmoil the nation was in at that time.

Villanueva: “What is prominent about it is the celebration 150 years but also it is an example of how in the midst of struggle and difficult times if people come together and public and private resources are combined they can create wonderful opportunity in our country. That isn’t a political message but that is a real message and the history of our country.”

I’m KayDee Gilkey with the Northwest Farm and Ranch Report on the Northwest Ag Information Network. 

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