AgFact Day #6: The United States Department of Agriculture was actually started by President Abraham Lincoln.
- He signed the bill into law authorizing the formation of the department on May 15, 1862, and called it the “people’s department.”
- On July 2, 1862, Lincoln signed into law the Morrill Act passed by Congress authorizing the development of Land Grant Colleges to teach agriculture, mechanical arts (engineering), and military science
- The 1862 Homestead Act opened land for settlement.
- The Hatch Act created experimental stations for agricultural research in 1887
- The Smith Lever Act took the research of the Land Grant colleges and experimental stations a step further by creating the Cooperative Extension system in 1914.
- The Smith-Hughes Act of 1917 created vocational agricultural classes in high schools
- Prior to the Great Depression, Agriculture suffered their own great depression. President Herbert Hoover vetoed farm bill relief twice.
- IN 1933, Congress passed the Soil Conservation and Domestication Allotment Act.
- 1933, the USDA developed programs to distribute surplus foods and raise the
nutritional level of low-income consumers. The School Lunch program, Low-Cost Milk Program, and the Food Stamp Program followed.