Happy birthday, USDA

On May 15, 1862 — soon after the Union’s bloody victory at the horrific Battle of Shiloh — President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation creating the the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Today, USDA is celebrating its 150th anniversary.

In 1862, nearly half of Americans worked in agriculture. Today, less than 1 percent do. However, 920 million acres are farmed nationwide today, more than twice as many as 150 years ago. (Those numbers, as well as the Battle of Shiloh connection, come from a Washington Post article distributed by USDA.)

USDA has its critics, many of them in production agriculture. But everyone familiar with ag would agree that USDA has played, and continues to play, a huge role.

I think that most of us involved in agriculture wish USDA a happy birthday.

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