USDA History Collection
Series I, subseries 5. Documentary Files, 1906-1995 (bulk 1977-1988). 37 cubic ft.
The fifth subseries contains information on USDA personnel and actions from 1977-1988. Records include correspondence, reports, press releases, speeches, clippings (including pages from the Federal Register and the Congressional Record), and memoranda. Many clippings are photocopies provided by a clipping service; these, along with many widely distributed departmental press releases and memoranda, make up the bulk of this subseries.
Section I deals with overall economic conditions during the time period. This includes lists of price levels and outlook prospects, including records of Outlook Conferences sponsored by the Department, 1975-1989. Section II has materials on consumers and nutrition, focusing first on USDA interactions with consumers and then on food policies like school lunch programs and food stamps.
Changes and trends in production are documented in Section III, involving energy sources, labor, equipment and materials, and the structure of farms, including types of farms and minority farmers. Section IV documents governmental programs for income and price control. It includes files on price support programs, production and marketing strategies, and dealing with surpluses.
Natural resources and the environment are covered in Section V. Materials cover a wide range of issues such as forest and water use and conservation, general land use, and plans to cope with natural disasters. Section VI has materials on research, covering topics such as technology (including computers and biotechnology), marketing, and the humane treatment of animals.
Section VII contains biographical information on USDA personnel, including resumes; USDA press releases; feature articles or obituaries from newspapers, magazines or newsletters; and other items. They are arranged in alphabetical order by last name, with a special file on "Women in the USDA."
Information on marketing and distribution policies are found in Section VIII. The materials on marketing cover governmental regulation on marketing agricultural products and the techniques farmers use to market their goods. The processing and packaging of agricultural products are also covered, as are methods of food retailing.
Section IX deals with the international aspects of agriculture, especially agricultural trade. Included are materials on import/export issues, tarrifs, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). This section also covers other trade agreements and relations with international organizations such as the European Common Market and the Food and Agriculture Organization. There are materials on private and religious groups that aid the hungry on a global basis, U.S. foreign aid programs, such as P.L. 480, and world food and population programs. Following these files, countries and regions are filed alphabetically, containing documents on topics such as their agricultural outlook, and aid programs.
Section X has material on farm and rural living, including farmer opinions and attitudes, and special commemorations, including the Bicentennial farms program, and the 125th anniversary of USDA.
Section XI is an extensive section dealing with the administration of the Department. Correspondence and other records from the Office of the Secretary are included, with materials on Secretaries Bob Berglund, John Block, and Richard Lyng, along with papers of Deputy, Under, and Assistant Secretaries, and Directors of agencies. There is a large group of material dealing with agencies within the USDA, including the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Economic Research Service, the Farmers Home Administration, the Extension Service, the National Agricultural Library, and many other offices and agencies. Other documents relate to organization within the USDA, especially during changes in administration. Section XI also covers USDA relations with states and counties, other federal government departments and agencies in both the Legislative and Executive branches, political parties, and farm organizations.
Section XII covers specific agricultural commodities, listed alphabetically. Materials cover methods of production, advances in research, and production crises. The last section, Section XIII, deals with rural development. There are documents on rural problems such as poverty and housing, and the funding and coordination of rural development programs. Papers of Joseph Doherty, who worked on rural development programs, are included.