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News Release

USDA Celebrates 150 Years

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Historical photograph of farmer with horses and plow.  USDA 150 years.  1862 - 2012
USDA is celebrating its
150th anniversary during 2012. Abraham Lincoln signed a bill in 1862 to create the Department because he recognized the potential of America's farmers and ranchers to provide a safe, ample food supply for our nation and the world.

Throughout 2012, USDA will recognize important events, such as President Lincoln's signing of an Act to establish the Department of Agriculture on May, 15, 1862 and the July signing of the Morrill Act to establish public land grant universities.

For more information on USDA's 150th Anniversary, visit to sign-up for daily email alerts and fun facts about USDA's history. You can view photos from the USDA gallery and the National Archives and Records Administration that represent USDA's 150 years of service.  Follow @USDA on Twitter #USDA150 to learn more about what is scheduled to commemorate USDA's 150 years of service.

For information on USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service opportunities, contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service office or Soil and Water Conservation District.



Commitment to Equality
USDA believes every farmer and rancher should be treated equally and fairly, and we are committed to resolving all cases involving allegations of past discrimination by individuals.

Referral Guide for USDA Settlements and Claims Adjudication Process

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Women and Hispanic Farmers and Ranchers Claims Adjudication Process
If you believe that USDA improperly denied farm loan benefits to you for certain time periods between 1981 and 2000 because you are a female or because you are Hispanic, you may be eligible to apply for compensation.  To request a claims package by telephone, call 1-888-508-4429.  To request a claims package online, please visit

Native American Farmer and Rancher Class Action Settlement (Keepseagle v. Vilsack)
If you are a Native American who was denied a farm loan or loan servicing by the USDA between January 1, 1981, and November 24, 1999, you may be eligible for benefits from a Class Action Settlement.  To request a claims package by telephone, call:  1-888-233-5506.  To request a claims package online, or for more information, please visit:

African American Farmer and Rancher Class Action Settlement (Pigford II)
If you are an African American farmer (a) who submitted a request to file a late claim on or between October 13, 1999, and June 18, 2008, under the 1999 USDA settlement in the earlier class action known as Pigford v. Glickman ("Pigford") and (b) who did not receive a merits determination on your discrimination claim, you may be eligible for benefits from a Class Action Settlement.  To hear information by telephone, call 1-866-950-5547 or 1-866-472-7826.  To find information online, please visit:

USDA . NRCS . Access. Opportunity . Equity . Partnerships

To find out more about this conservation opportunity and more, contact your local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service:  Office Locator