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Agriculture, U.S. Department of

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was established in 1862 (Pub. L. 37–62) to provide governmental direction to this critically important economic sector. Other significant national agricultural legislation includes the 1862 Morrill Act (Pub. L. 37–130), which established a system of land-grant universities emphasizing agricultural education; the 1887 Hatch Act (Pub. L. 49–297), which established experiment stations to promote agricultural research at these universities; the 1890 Morrill Act (Pub. L. 51–249), which incorporated historically black southern universities into the land-grant system; and the 1914 Smith-Lever Act (Pub. L. 63–95), which set up federal- and state-funded extension centers to disseminate scientific agricultural research to farmers.

Governmental involvement in agriculture became more pronounced during the New Deal era through the passage of legislation such as the 1938 Agricultural ...

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