150th Anniversary Education at USDA’s Annual Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work
Jon Vrana, Natural Resources Manager and 36-year veteran of NRCS is celebrating USDA’s 150 in a very hands-on way. Jon, a local amateur historian from Virginia, provides a unique historical interpretation of Senator Morrill. Justin Morrill, long-time resident of Vermont, served the country, at first in the U.S. House of Representatives, and later, as a U.S. Senator.
During that time, he brought a New England conservative, yet practical, perspective to his work and to his interactions with others. He is best known for the Morrill Act of 1862, establishing Land Grant Colleges for the education of those in agriculture and the mechanical arts, for the establishment of the United States Department of Agriculture, and for the Tariff Acts.
Dressed in period attire, calling back to the antebellum period and the American Civil War, Mr. Vrana recalls a period of great change, personal and political stress and strain, and turmoil in the United States. Presented in 1st person, he discusses the early days of Senator Morrill’s life, growing up in Strafford, Vermont in a simple, conservative family, the oldest of many siblings, and attending local school, completing a mere 8 grades.
Vermont was, but a newly formed State, influenced to the east by Boston, and to the west by New York. Mr. Vrana goes on to tell of the time when Senator Morrill begins working in a local mercantile when yet a teenager, becoming a business partner in the store when coming of the age of majority, and the time, when Justin “retired” at the age of 35 to live out the rest of his life in peace and quiet on his farm. Jon completes the picture of the senior Senator’s life by discussing the time spent in the House and Senate, working to pass the Morrill Act of 1862, establishing colleges in each State, with a dream and desire that those in agriculture would have the formal education that he never was able receive.