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Series I, ss 3, USDA History Collection

USDA History Collection

Series I, subseries 3. Documentary Files, 1939-1992 (bulk 1949-1956). 36 cubic ft.


Subseries in Series I:  I.1 | I.2 | I.3 | I.4 | I.5 | I.6   ||   Collection Map  

The third subseries documents the period between 1949 and 1956, including activities surrounding the Korean War and the first term of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Materials include correspondence, reports, clippings (including sections the Federal Register and the Congressional Record), press releases and speeches, reports of interviews, and memoranda.

Sections I and II of the outline for subseries 3 are essentially identical to the first two sections in the outline for subseries 2, and are intended to review the conditions in agriculture in the prewar and World War II period. However, very little is filed in these sections; in fact, nothing at all was found in Section II. Researchers should consult the corresponding sections of Series I, subseries 2 for information on these topics.

Section III documents USDA production policies, including production goals for the Korean war years. There is material on land use policies, acreage and marketing controls, agricultural labor, farm equipment and other materials (like fertilizer and seed), and the conservation of natural resources. Relief programs for drought are also covered.

Price programs and policies of the USDA are covered in Section IV, with materials on issues such as price support and price control, the Brannan Farm Plan, surplus disposal, parity, subsidies, and other methods of regulating agricultural prices.

Section V deals with commodities, organized by type. In the sections on food commodities there are large sections on meats, dairy products, fats and oils, fruits and vegetables, sugar, and grains; non-food products covered include fibers such as cotton and wool, tobacco, rubber, and lumber.

Of note in the food commodities section are seven folders dealing with the Agricultural Act of 1954, which established price supports for basic commodities. These materials were filed under the Milk category (V A2a) since a clause in this legislation authorized an expansion in the school lunch milk program. These folders include correspondence from corporations, government officials, and individuals, to the USDA generally or to Secretary of Agriculture Ezra T. Benson, with recommendations and plans for carrying out the legislation.

Distribution is the subject of Section VI, including information on nutrition research, shortages and surpluses, marketing research, and aspects of agriculture-related industry such as packaging and processing, regulation, rationing, inspection, labeling and grading. Section VII covers the international aspects of agriculture. This section has materials on export/import programs, commodity agreements, international organizations like the Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Council, and programs with specific countries and regions. See folder titles for a complete list of the regions and countries covered.

Section VIII documents changes in farm life, with materials on rural education, housing, and the rural standard of living.

Section IX is a large section dealing with the administration of the USDA, especially as affected by the two major events of this time: the Korean War, and the departmental reorganization resulting from the Hoover Commission. There is information on presidential executive orders relating to the Department; the Defense Production Act of 1950; and personnel matters. Significant volumes of materials on Secretaries Charles F. Brannan and Ezra Taft Benson, and their assistants, are included; along with sections of materials on agencies of the department, such as the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, the Rural Electrification Administration, the Agricultural Research Administration, and the Production and Marketing Administration. Also covered are activities in relation to other entities such as states and counties, other departments in the Executive Branch, Congress, and outside groups with an interest in agriculture.

Section X deals with technical advances in agricultural production and processing, while Section XI relates to special studies performed by the USDA, and Congressional hearings.

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