Know Your Agriculture Secretaries: Edwin T. Meredith (1920-1921

May 5, 2010 at 1:24 am | Posted in Department of Agriculture, Historical | Leave a comment
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Agriculture Secretary Edwin T. Meredith. 1920 May 5. (Library of Congress)

Appointed by President Woodrow Wilson to the Treasury Department’s Advisory Committee on Excess Profits in 1918, Meredith went on to serve as secretary of agriculture from 1920 to 1921. An Iowa boy, he was passionate about farm and agriculture issues.

After leaving Washington, Meredith returned to his publishing company, and in 1922 he started Fruit, Garden and Home magazine which became Better Homes and Gardens.

(Time – November 29, 1926) He urged that a federal commission be authorized to fix and guarantee minimum prices on the wheat, corn, cotton, sugar crops and on the production of wool and butter. He suggested that his commission be composed of the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce and Labor, and four other members appointed by the President. Other farm relief plans have sought to take care of the crop surplus by government marketing aid, but Mr. Meredith’s price-fixing scheme aims to eliminate the surplus by insuring a balanced production. Said he: “By raising and lowering the prices of these crops from year to year, as the law of supply and demand indicates, and relying upon the law of incentive, a balance can be kept and continuous surpluses avoided.”


Secretary of Agriculture

December 17, 2008 at 1:20 pm | Posted in Department of Agriculture | Leave a comment
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Poster for the U.S. Department of Agriculture promoting victory gardens, showing carrots, lettuce, corn, tomatoes, and potatoes growing.  NYC WPA War Services (between 1941 and 1943)

Poster for the U.S. Department of Agriculture promoting victory gardens, showing carrots, lettuce, corn, tomatoes, and potatoes growing. NYC WPA War Services (between 1941 and 1943)

President-Elect Obama has nominated former Governor of Iowa Tom Vilsack to be was confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture by the Senate on January 20, 2009.

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) has the following “mission areas”:

Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services

Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services helps to keep America’s farmers and ranchers in business as they face the uncertainties of weather and markets. They deliver commodity, credit, conservation, disaster, and emergency assistance programs that help improve the stability and strength of the agricultural economy.

  • Farm Service Agency (FSA)
  • Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)
  • Risk Management Agency (RMA)

Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services

Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services works to harness the Nation’s agricultural abundance to end hunger and improve health in the United States. Its agencies administer federal domestic nutrition assistance programs and the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, which links scientific research to the nutrition needs of consumers through science-based dietary guidance, nutrition policy coordination, and nutrition education.

  • Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP)
  • Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)

Food Safety

Food Safety ensures that the Nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and properly labeled, and packaged. This mission area also plays a key role in the President’s Council on Food Safety and has been instrumental in coordinating a national food safety strategic plan among various partner agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency.

  • Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)

Marketing and Regulatory Programs

Marketing and Regulatory Programs facilitates domestic and international marketing of U.S. agricultural products and ensures the health and care of animals and plants. MRP agencies are active participants in setting national and international standards.

  • Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)
  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
  • Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA)

Natural Resources and Environment

Natural Resources and Environment ensures the health of the land through sustainable management. Its agencies work to prevent damage to natural resources and the environment, restore the resource base, and promote good land management.

  • Forest Service (FS)
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

Research, Education and Economics

Research, Education and Economics is dedicated to the creation of a safe, sustainable, competitive U.S. food and fiber system, as well as strong communities, families, and youth through integrated research, analysis, and education.

  • Research, Education, and Economics (REE)
  • Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
  • Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES)
  • Economic Research Service (ERS)
  • National Agricultural Library (NAL)
  • National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)

Rural Development

Rural Development is committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in all of rural America by providing financial programs to support essential public facilities and services as water and sewer systems, housing, health clinics, emergency service facilities and electric and telephone service. Rural Development promotes economic development by providing loans to businesses through banks and community-managed lending pools, while also assisting communities to participate in community empowerment programs.

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