The U.S. Department of Agriculture has existed for 150 years, and Secretary Tom Vilsack will commemorate the anniversary on May 15 during a Washington, D.C., ceremony.
Vilsack will make a speech that has been pre-announced as containing language calling the USDA the American people’s “Every Day, Every Way” department. It is the department’s contention that the USDA works “on behalf of agriculture, rural America and people throughout the country and world.”
The USDA of today is definitely not the department that President Abraham Lincoln founded in 1862 although he is cited as the source for calling it “the People’s Department.” There weren’t all the programs and sub-departments thrown under one broadly empowered department. Today’s USDA supports agriculture, local and regional food systems, nutrition assistance, food safety, conservation, rural development and research. USDA officials contend that the department still fulfills Lincoln's vision of touching the lives of every American, every day.
The commemoration is being streamed live via www.usda.gov/live on May 15 starting at 10:30 EDT. It seems to have an unusual line-up of participants including MSNBC “Morning Joe's” Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzenzinski; conservationist Chuck Leavell, longtime keyboardist of the Rolling Stones and founder of Mother Nature Network; Art Monk, NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver; and LaVar Arrington, three-time NFL Pro Bowl linebacker.