History of U.S. Federal and State Governments' Work with Soybeans (1862-2017)

William Shurtleff, Akiko AoyagiISBN: 978-1-928914-91-4

Publication Date: 2017 Apr. 6

Number of References in Bibliography: 9889

Earliest Reference: 1852

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Brief chronology/timeline of U.S. Federal and State Governments’ Work with Soybeans
It would be hard to overestimate the importance of the role that that the U.S. federal and state governments (the public sector) have played in the introduction, development and popularization of soybeans – and to a lesser extent soyfoods and industrial soy products – in the United States.
Through the USDA, the land-grant colleges and universities, and their experiment stations and extension services, these government organizations have created the infrastructure without which the rest of the soybean and soyfoods industries simply could not have operated. Among the many parts of this vast infrastructure are information and publications, research, seed and plant introduction, breeding, plant protection (from diseases, insects, nematodes, and weeds), etc.
The USDA and the state experiment stations would have provided a tremendous service if they had done nothing more than publish their hundreds of outstanding serial publications, many of which reported the results of research they had conducted.
1836 July 4 – The U.S. Patent Office is established and Henry L. Ellsworth is appointed commissioner.
1837 – The Patent Office begins distribution of foreign seeds and plants at the personal expense of its commissioner, “even though he had no legal authority for such activities. He collected ‘new and valuable varieties of seeds and plants’ from many sources, including consuls and naval officers. The seeds and plants were then distributed through Congressmen and agricultural societies” (Baker et al. Century of Service. 1963, p. 5).
1839 March 3 – Congress appropriates $1,000 from the Patent Office fund for “the collection of agricultural statistics, and for other agricultural purposes.” This was the first appropriation ever made for agriculture by an American congress.
      The early foundation for a national agricultural library was laid in the U.S. Patent Office (Carabelli et al. 1974, p. 1).
1843 – The first systematic agricultural experiments begin at Rothamsted, Harpenden, England (25 miles north-northwest of London). “It was in 1843 that John Bennet Lawes, the proprietor of the Rothamsted estate and founder of the experiment station, secured the services of Doctor Joseph Henry Gilbert; and this association, which continued to the end of the century, made the names, Lawes and Gilbert, almost synonymous with Rothamsted...” (Gilbert 1895, p. 9; Aslin 1940).
1849. March 3 – Department of the Interior is created and the Patent Office transferred to it.
1850Report of the Commissioner of Patents, Agriculture, begins publication. Part II of the report is dedicated to Agriculture. Soybeans are first mentioned in the report for the year 1852, published in 1853. 14 records from this annual publication appear in this book.
1851 – Germany's first agricultural experiment station is established at Moeckern, near Leipzig (Atwater 1889). It is the world’s first station established by farmers joining together to do agricultural research.
1852 – Jonathan Baldwin Turner, a Midwest college professor in Illinois, writes “Plan for an Industrial University,” which is published in Prairie Farmer (Feb. 1852) and Report of the Commissioner of Patents, Agriculture (1852, for the year 1851, p. 37-44).
1853 – The Report of the Commissioner of Patents, Agriculture acknowledges that “A.H. Ernst, esq., of Cincinnati,” has sent “Japan peas” to the Patent Office (p. 448. For the year 1852).
      The Japan Pea is an early name for the soybean. Ernst is one of seven men from various states who sent seeds to the Patent Office.
1854 – A.H. Ernst (of Ohio) writes a 2-page article titled “The Japan Pea,” in the Report of the Commissioner of Patents, Agriculture (p. 224-25. For the year 1853). It begins: “The Japan Pea, in which so much interest has been manifested in this country for a year or two past, from its hardihood to resist drought and frost, together with its enormous yield, appears to be highly worthy of the attention of agriculturists.
     “This plant is stated to be of Japan origin, having been brought to San Francisco about three years since, and thence into Illinois and Ohio.”
      Other farmers who tested Japan peas and reported the results in this periodical were:
1855 – John Danforth, Connecticut (p. 194)
1855 – S.D. Pratt, New York (p. 194). He received 8
      Japan Peas from the Patent Office in spring 1854
1855 – T. Victor of the City of New York (p. 194)
1856 – John Danforth, Connecticut (p. 256)
1856 – John B. Luce, Arkansas (p. 256)
1856 – W.D. Lindsley, Ohio (p. 257)
1856 – Abram Weaver, Iowa (p. 256-57)
1855 Feb. 12 – Michigan passes legislation providing for the establishment of the Michigan Agricultural College, which begins operation in May 1857, near Lansing, Michigan; it was the first agricultural or industrial school on this continent – and the first to offer a practical (non-classical) education (True 1937, p. 74).
1855 May 22 – T. Worthington of Logan, Hocking Co., Ohio, sends a sample of the Japan pea that he has raised and reports his results to the Patent Office (Letters and Reports of the Agricultural Division of the Patent Office, 1839-60. Vol. 7. p. 211-12). Other farmers who tested Japan peas and reported the results (TR) to this periodical, or who requested seeds (RS), or who sent seeds (SS) or offered to send seeds (OS) were:
1855 Nov. 25 – Frederick Munch, Missouri (TR)
1856 Jan. 7 – G. Champley, Indiana (RS)
1856 Feb. 15 – John Donohue, Maryland (TR)
1856 Feb. 14 – Jno. B. Herndon, Kentucky (TR)
1856 March 18 – John Danforth, Connecticut (OS)
1856 May 31 – John J. Wyche, North Carolina (SS)
1857 Jan. 15 – B.Z. Abell, Ohio (TR)
1857 Dec. 18 – Edward L. Coy, New York (TR)
1857 Feb. 12 – John Read, Pennsylvania (TR)
1857 Feb. 28 – W.D. Lindsley, Ohio (TR)
1858 Feb. 13 – Thomas H. Hopkins, New Mexico (RS)
1858 Feb. 13 – A.P. Osmond, Delaware (TR)
1855 Feb. 23 – Pennsylvania passes legislation providing for the establishment of Pennsylvania Farmers' High School, later Pennsylvania State College and now Pennsylvania State University.
1857 Dec. – Congressman Justin Smith Morrill [a Republican from Vermont] introduces a bill that would grant public lands to the various states to endow a college for teaching subjects related to agriculture and the mechanical arts.
1858 April – Congressman Morrill makes his first major speech in Congress supporting his 'land-grant bill.' The House of Representatives passes Morrill's bill two days later and refers it to the Public Lands Committee of the Senate.
1859 Feb. – The Senate passes Morrill's bill, including two amendments which the house had accepted earlier. President James Buchanan vetoes the bill...
1860 – The first European school of agriculture is started at Gembloux in Belgium.
1862 May 15 – President Abraham Lincoln signs into law an act of Congress (the Organic Act) which creates the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Isaac Newton, the former chief of the agricultural section of the patent office (and himself an agriculturist) is appointed to be the first Commissioner of Agriculture. The first offices of the Department were in the Patent Office building (True 1937, p. 41; Baker et al. Century of Service. 1963, p. 1, 18).
      Why was the USDA established at this time? “Those interested in establishing a department had to overcome the traditional fears of centralized control, exaggerated at this time by the sectional (North vs. South) conflict. However, the withdrawal of the Southern Senators and Representatives with secession permitted the Republican Party to carry out its pledges for agrarian reform by passing bills establishing the Department of Agriculture, giving land for colleges of agriculture and mechanical arts, and giving homesteads to settlers” (Baker 1963, p. 11).
1862 July 2 – The Morrill Land-Grant College Act, donating public land to each of the states for colleges of agriculture and the mechanical arts, is signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln. The land is allotted according to the formula of 30,000 acres for each U.S. Senator and Representative. Every state accepted the terms of the act and established one or more such “land grant” institutions.
      The word “State” in the name of a college indicates it is a land-grant college or university, e.g., Michigan State University vs. University of Michigan.
See Wikipedia “List of land-grant universities.”
      The phrase “A&M” meaning “agricultural and mechanical,” in a university name indicates it is a land-grant college or university, for example, Texas A&M University.
      Land-grant universities well known for their work with soybeans include University of Illinois, Purdue University, Iowa State University, Ohio State University, Michigan State University and the University of Minnesota.
      Most of these agricultural colleges did agricultural research on their farms, but did not refer to separate “agricultural experiment stations” (True 1937, p. 107-18).
      Note: Jonathan B. Turner of Illinois is considered by some to be the “father” of the Morrill Act of 1862.
1862 – The Division of Chemistry is established (31 Stat. 931). In 1901 it became the Bureau of Chemistry (Baker 1963, p. 474-75.
1863 – The book and journal collection of the Agricultural Division of the Patent Office is transferred to the Department of Agriculture. These 1,000 volumes became the nucleus of the new library.
1863 – Kansas State Agricultural College is established as the first land-grant college under the provisions of the Morrill Act. (Walters 1909).
1863 – USDA’s Division of Entomology is established, with Townsend Glover as its first head (Baker 1963, p. 456).
1864 – The USDA’s appropriation includes $4,000 for the library and laboratory.
1867The Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture begins publication. It is later (1889) continued by the Report of the Secretary of Agriculture.
1867 – The name of Aaron Burt Grosh (of New York) appears as the first librarian on the Department's roster of employees. He was librarian from 1867 to 1869.
1868 – USDA moves into the first building constructed specifically for its use. This red-brick administration building was constructed at a cost of $140,400, and torn down in 1930. As early as 1863 Isaac Newton had urged the erection of a new building and in 1867 Congress approved $100,000 for the purpose (Baker et al. Century of Service. 1963, p. 18). Space for the department’s library, which had been assembled by the Division of Agriculture when part of the patent office, had been provided for in this building; a special room was set aside on the first floor at the west end (Cutter 1898, p. 220; Carabelli et al. 1974, p. 1).
1871 – The number of volumes in the USDA library totals 6,012 (Carabelli et al. 1974, p. 1).
1871 – USDA’s Division of Microscopy is established with Thomas Taylor (1871-1895) as its first head (Baker 1963, p. 459).
1875 – The first State agricultural experiment station is established at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut. It later became the Connecticut Agricultural Station. State agricultural experiment stations operated without federal funding from 1875 to 1888. They were usually connected with agricultural colleges established by individual states. Many of the first directors of these state experiment stations were chemists (True 1937, p. 82-87).
      Many of these state experiment stations were established in close connection with existing agricultural (land-grant) colleges, often in the same place.
      In these years after the Civil War, agricultural colleges and experiment stations in the North often had better facilities than those in the South.
      In many states it is misleading to say that an “agricultural experiment station was established.” Rather, in that year agricultural research was started, often by a single person working at his desk.
1875 – The California Agricultural Experiment Station is founded at the University of California, Berkeley, by Eugene W. Hilgard – with state funding (no federal aid). “The regents of the university gave him $250 for each of two years for ‘an industrial survey and an experiment station’” (True 1937, p. 87).
1877 March 12 – An agricultural experiment station is established in North Carolina at Chapel Hill – with state funding (no federal aid). The act creating this station shows the influence of the University of North Carolina, which was then the land-grant institution of the state. Albert Reid Ledoux is appointed director of the station. The first circular of the station, issued May 7, 1877, concerns the analysis and valuation of fertilizers. Up to 1888 the principal work of the station is with analysis of fertilizers. Charles William Dabney succeeded Ledoux in about 1880 (True 1937, p. 89-91).
1879 Feb. – An agricultural experiment station is established in New York at Cornell University in Ithaca – with state funding (no federal aid).
1879 – In Report of the Rutgers Scientific School (New Jersey), George H. Cook writes a 3-page section titled “The soja bean; a new forage plant.” This is the earliest known report by a U.S. agricultural (land-grant) college or experiment station that mentions soybeans. The soybeans were obtained in Europe – in Bavaria and Vienna. Yet there is no suggestion in this 1879 report that any soybeans were grown at Rutgers.
      We learn later (Woodward and Waller 1932, p. 30) that: “The [soybean] seeds were planted at the College Farm in May 1879, and harvested in October, with encouraging results. Dr. Cook obtained data on their composition from Munich and, in reporting on the test, pointed out their superior food content. Three-fourths of an acre was planted to the crop in 1880.”
1880 March 10 – An agricultural experiment station is established in New Jersey at Rutgers University in New Brunswick – with state funding (no federal aid) (True 1937, p. 95-96).
1881 Aug. 15 – A second agricultural experiment station is established in New York at Geneva. The legislature appropriated $20,000 every two years. In Feb. 1882 a farm of 125 acres near Geneva became the property of the station, and work began there the following April. “The first director of the New York Experiment Station was Edward Lewis Sturtevant” (True 1937, p. 97-98).
1881 – In Report of the Rutgers Scientific School (New Jersey), George H. Cook writes a 4-page subsection titled “Soja beans,” which begins: “We made another trial of these beans this year, planting them very thick in two rows 128 feet long, upon very good ground. They grew well all season, and ripened evenly, not being much affected by the extreme dry weather. The crop of beans from the rows was twenty-two pounds. They can be easily planted and properly tended in rows two feet apart. This appears to be a good way of growing them. Last year we tried to grow them by sowing the seed, but they were soon overrun and choked by weeds, and the crop was worthless. This year success is very encouraging. An acre of ground, at the rate these rows produced, would yield thirty-one bushels.
      “The seed was obtained, part in Munich and part in Vienna, in 1878, and has now been planted three times without showing any signs of deterioration from our climate or soil. It has some most valuable properties as a farm crop.”
      This is the earliest document seen by an agricultural (land-grant) college or experiment station that describes an experiment with soybean cultivation. Soybeans were first cultivated at Rutgers in May 1879.
1882 April 17 – An agricultural experiment station is established in Ohio at Columbus – in part because The Ohio State University (known as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College until 1878) was giving so little attention to agriculture. “The station was located at Ohio State University, whose trustees assigned it two rooms in the new chemical building; such land on the university farm as it needed for field experiments, which at first was a field of 17 acres and some space in the fruit and vegetable garden; a team; and implements” (True 1937, p. 98-99).
1882 May – An agricultural experiment station is established in Massachusetts at Amherst.
1882 – In the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station, Annual Report an article by W.R. Lazenby titled “Report on grasses, clovers, and forage plants” mentions the “Soya Bean (Soja).” This is the earliest document seen describing cultivation of soya beans by a U.S. land grant institution that is actually named an "agricultural experiment station.”
1882 – An agricultural experiment station is established in Tennessee at Knoxville.
1883 – In the North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station, Annual Report is a long article by Charles W. Dabney, Jr. is titled “The soja bean – Soja hispida.” This is the earliest document seen with the soybean in the title by a U.S. land grant institution that is named an "agricultural experiment station.”
1883 – A state agricultural experiment station is established in Alabama at Auburn.
1884 – A state agricultural experiment station is established in Louisiana.
1885 Sept. – A state agricultural experiment station is established in Kentucky. One large room in the basement of the Kentucky Agricultural and Mechanical College building was assigned to the station to serve as an office and chemical laboratory (True 1937, p. 105-06).
1886 Nov. 24 – A state agricultural experiment station is established in Vermont “for the promotion of scientific and practical agriculture and for preventing frauds and adulterations in commercial fertilizers, foods, feeding stuffs, seeds, and commercial products,…” “The station had no farm…” (True 1937, p. 106).
1887 March 2 – The Hatch Act is approved, providing Federal grants to States for agricultural experimentation; it is signed into law by President Grover Cleveland. Named for its chief sponsor, Representative William H. Hatch of Missouri, it authorized the establishment of an agricultural experiment station at each land-grant institution and set up a cooperative system between the stations and the USDA. It is “one of the most significant milestones in the development of U.S. agriculture and the nation's rural economy.” This infusion of federal funds into existing state-funded experiment stations gave many a new lease on life (Schweitzer & Holt 1987, p. 28-29).
1887 Oct. – Delegates from the established land-grant colleges and universities meet in Washington, D.C. and formally organize the Association of American Agricultural Colleges and Experiment Stations.
1888 Oct. 1 – USDA’s Office of Experiment Stations is established by the Commissioner of Agriculture, Hon. Norman J. Column, as the agency for carrying out the Hatch Act (2 March 1887). Wilbur Olin Atwater, Ph.D., professor of chemistry in Wesleyan University and director of the Storrs Agricultural Experiment Station in Connecticut, is appointed the first Director of this Office.
1889 Feb. 9 – The Department of Agriculture is raised to cabinet status under an act approved by President Grover Cleveland. The title of “Commissioner of Agriculture” is changed to that of “Secretary of Agriculture,” and the Secretary became a member of the President’s Cabinet. On Feb. 15 Norman Jay Coleman (D), Missouri, becomes the first U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. He left office on March 6, 1889, having served for less than one month (Carabelli 1972, p. 12; at “United States Secretary of Agriculture,” Wikipedia has a large color table which shows a photo of each man and gives the exact dates he served and under which president).
1889 March 6 – Jeremiah M. Rusk (R), Wisconsin, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Benjamin Harrison. Rusk was the first Secretary of Agriculture to serve a full four-year term (1889-1893).
1889Report of the Secretary of Agriculture begins publication as an annual serial publication.
1889 – The number of volumes in the USDA library totals about 20,000. Classification of the Library is begun by Mr. W.I. Fletcher, Librarian of Amherst College (Carabelli et al. 1974, p. 1).
1890 – The second Morrill act is passed. Even with the enactment of the Morrill Act of 1862, the federal government was unable to gain cooperation from the Southern States in the provision of land-grant support to the Negro institutions. To overcome this problem, a second Morrill Act was passed in 1890 specifically to support the Negro Land-Grant institutions. Thus, the Negro Land-Grant institutions are sometimes referred to today as “The 1890 Institutions.” Those Southern States which did not have Negro institutions by 1890 each established one later under this Act. Moreover, this second act assured every land-grant college an annual federal grant of $25,000.
      The second Morrill Act relates to former Confederate states, which came to include 17 predominantly African American colleges and 30 American Indian colleges. Its expansion of land grant appropriations indicates that agriculture has become a recognized scientific discipline – but one still in its infancy.
1893 March 7 – J. Sterling Morton (D), Nebraska, becomes the 3rd U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Grover Cleveland (1893-1897; during Cleveland’s 2nd term)
1895 Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture begins publication, for the year 1894. It includes Report of the Secretary of Agriculture, as well as helpful cumulative indexes. The first issue has 4 articles on “soja beans.” This book contains 75 records from this excellent Yearbook.
1895 July 1 – USDA’s Division of Agrostology is established (Baker 1963, p. 481). The Division’s Bulletin No. 2, “Fodder and forage plants, exclusive of grasses,” by Jared G. Smith (June 1896, p. 21) discusses: “Glycine hispida: Soja bean, soy bean, coffee bean” and contains an illustration.
      Thomas A. Williams of this Department wrote “The soy bean as a forage crop” in Farmers’ Bulletin No. 58 (March 1897; 19 pages); in 1910 it was translated into Spanish.
1897 March 5 – James Wilson (R), Iowa, becomes the 4th U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President William McKinley (1897-1901) and then under President Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909), and then under President William Howard Taft (1909-1913).
1898 March 22 – Within USDA’s Seed Division is created a new Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction section, with David Fairchild as its first head. As seeds and plants poured in, they quickly began publication of the serial Foreign Seeds and Plants Imported by the Section of Seed and Plant Introduction, USDA, Inventory. This is the single best source of information on almost all soybean introductions to the USA. A sequential number was assigned to each new seed or plant introduced. The earliest Seed and Plant Inventory numbers for “Glycine hispida - Soja bean” are #480 (received March 1898 through Prof. N.E. Hansen, from South Ussurie, Siberia) and #647-56 (received March 4, 1898 through Hon. A.E. Buck, from Tokyo, Japan).
      In 1902 this publication ceased and the inventory was continued in the USDA Bureau of Plant Industry, Bulletin No. 5 (issued 18 Jan. 1902).
1898 – A comprehensive early history of USDA is published: Greathouse, Charles H. 1898. “Historical Sketch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Its Objects and Present organization. USDA Division of Publications, Bulletin No. 3. 74 p.
1900 – USDA’s Office of Plant Industry is established with Beverly T. Galloway as its head. On 1 July 1901 it is upgraded to the Bureau of Plant Industry which includes former divisions of Agrostology and Seed and Plant Introduction; Beverly T. Galloway remains its head (1901-1913), followed by William A. Taylor (1913-1933), then Knowles A. Ryerson (1934). In 1943 it is renamed the Bureau of Plant Industry, Soils, and Agricultural Engineering.
1900 April 18 – Arlington Farm is established by an act of Congress. On 10 April 1901 the 400-acre farm in Arlington, Virginia, is transferred from the War Department to the USDA and placed under the supervision of the Director of the Office of Plant Industry. This is USDA’s first experimental farm; it stands on land which is now occupied by the Pentagon (Baker 1963, p. 43). On this farm William Morse does all his early soybean variety trials starting in 1907.
1901 July 1 – USDA’s Bureau of Plant Industry is established with Beverly T. Galloway as its head (Baker 1963, p. 43, 481).
1901 – USDA’s Bureau of Chemistry is established, with Harvey W. Wiley as its first head. In 1927 it is merged into the Bureau of Chemistry and Soils (Baker 1963, p. 455).
1904 – USDA’s Bureau of Entomology is established. Formerly the Division of Entomology.
1907 June 22 – William J. Morse, age 24, goes to work as an “Agrostologist” for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in the Division of Forage Crops and Diseases, Bureau of Plant Industry in Washington, DC – just at the time the division is planning to expand its research on soybeans. Recommended by Thomas F. Hunt, he is hired by the head of the division, Charles Vancouver Piper (age 40), the first man to see clearly the potential of the soybean in America.
      Two days earlier, Morse had graduated with a BS in Agriculture (BSA) degree from Cornell University in New York.
      At the time Morse was hired, H.T. Nielsen was USDA’s expert on cowpeas and soybeans. In April 1908 he wrote a 31-page Farmers’ Bulletin titled “Cowpeas.” But by Feb. 1909 Nielsen resigned from the department, and Morse took over his duties.
1909 – A total of 16,385 bushels of soybeans are produced on 1,629 acres in the United States (Bureau of the Census, 1913, p. 626).
1909 Oct. 7 – C.V. Piper and H.T. Nielsen publish a 26-page article titled “Soy beans” in Farmers’ Bulletin (USDA) No. 372. This is Piper’s earliest known publication on soy beans. It includes a description of 12 named soy bean varieties, and states: During the past 3 years more than 200 soy bean varieties have been introduced from China, Japan and India; most of these have already been sufficiently tested to give some idea of their value.
1910 Dec. 31 – C.V. Piper and W.J. Morse publish “The soy bean: History, varieties, and field studies,” an 84-page article in USDA Bureau of Plant Industry Bulletin No. 197. The earliest publication seen written jointly by Piper and Morse, and the earliest document seen written by or about Morse in connection with soybeans, it also the most important document ever published on early soybean varieties, and early soybean history, in the United States.
1911 Aug. 22 – In a letter to his superior R.A. Oakley, Morse describes his plans to visit the state experiment stations in North Carolina, then Urbana, Illinois, then Lafayette, Indiana [Purdue] on behalf of soybeans. His first such trip was apparently to Florida and Alabama.
      Even though Morse “was a member of the USDA research staff, he was a tremendously effective extension educator...” (Scott 1978)
1913 March 6 – David F. Houston (D), Missouri, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921).
1913 Oct. – Journal of Agricultural Research starts to be published. The initial publisher is USDA.
1914 May 8 – The Smith-Lever Act establishes the Cooperative Extension Service and formalizes agricultural extension [outreach/dissemination] work to help communicate the research of the experiment stations to farmers. However, prior to 1914 many land-grant universities had already established an extension staff.
      With this Act, Congress agreed to share with the states the cost of programs for providing what had come to be called “county agents,” who furnished farmers information on improved methods of farming and animal husbandry. Hence the word “cooperative.”
      The advent of an extension service made land-grant colleges and universities like a “three-legged stool,” where the three legs were research, teaching, and extension (outreach to farmers). If one of the three legs were missing, the stool would collapse.
      However there was a “fourth leg” which was also very important; that was the serial publications, in which the research was reported. All stations had a Bulletin series and an Annual Report. Many also had a Research Bulletin. Circular, etc.
       It would be hard to overestimate the importance of state agricultural workers in the soybean success story. Among the many extension workers well known as soybean promoters were:
      J.C. Hackleman in Illinois. A “crops extension specialist” at the University of Illinois, he was an ardent promoter of soybeans.
      “Soybean” Briggs in Wisconsin.
      Keller Beeson and Ward Ostrander in Indiana.
1914The National Weather and Crop Bulletin begins publication by the USDA Weather Bureau. Its preceding titled was National Weather Bulletin. It was later combined with the Market Reporter and the Monthly Crop Reporter to form Weather, Crops, and Markets (weekly, with monthly supplement).
1915 MayMonthly Crop Report begins publication by USDA. Many issues contain statistical information about soybeans.
1915 July 1– USDA's nutrition and home economics work is removed from the Office of Experiment Stations and established as the Office of Home Economics within the States Relations Service. Charles F. Langworthy is its head throughout its entire existence (1915-1923). In 1923 it is upgraded to the Bureau of Home Economics with Louise Stanley as its head (1923-1943). In 1943 it is upgraded to the Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics with Henry C. Sherman as its head (1943-44). In 1953 it is transferred to the Agricultural Research Service (Baker 1963, pp. 459, 478).
1916 Aug. 11 – Grain Standards Act approved.
1917 – USDA’s Bureau of Markets is established with Charles J. Brand as its first head (1917-19). In 1921 it is renamed the Bureau of Markets and Crop Estimates.
1917 Nov.Seed Reporter begins to be published by USDA. Many issues contain statistical information about soybeans.
1918 May – In its Monthly Crop Report, USDA publishes the first nationwide statistics on soybean acreage and production in the United States. North Carolina is the leader in both acreage and production.
1920 Jan.Seed Reporter is renamed The Market Reporter. It is published by USDA’s Bureau of Markets and Crop Estimates.
1920 Feb. 2 – Edwin T. Meredith (D), Iowa, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921).
1920 – Dr. Clyde Melvin Woodworth, a geneticist, joins the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana. He was the first breeder / geneticist with primary responsibility for soybeans at this university. He constructed the first chromosome map for soybeans in 1933. He developed the varieties Illini and Chief, and made the cross which led to the variety Lincoln.
1921 – Professor William Leonidas Burlison becomes head of the Department of Agronomy at the University of Illinois. Along with Woodworth and Hackleman, he was instrumental in the establishment of soybeans in Illinois agriculture. He retained this leadership position for 30 years, finally retiring in 1951.
      Individuals such as Hackleman, Woodworth, and Burlison at the University of Illinois had their counterparts in land-grant institutions in many states – people who were enthusiastic and effective in encouraging farmers to grow soybeans.
1921 March 5 – Henry C. Wallace (R), Iowa (Iowa State College), becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Warren G. Harding (1921-1923).
1922 Jan.Weather Crops and Markets begins publication. It is formed by the union of Market Reporter, The National Weather and Crop Bulletin, and The Monthly Crop Report. It contains lots of early U.S. soybean production statistics.
1922 – USDA’s Bureau of Agricultural Economics established with Henry C. Taylor as its first head. It includes the Bureau of Markets and Crop Estimates (1921-1922), Bureau of Markets (1913-1921), and Office of Farm Management and Farm Economics (1905-1922). It was transferred in 1961 to USDA's Economic Research Service (Baker 1963, p. 454).
1923 Feb.The Soybean, by C.V. Piper and W.J. Morse (xv + 329 p.) is published by McGraw-Hill Book Co. in New York. This classic is the most important book on soybeans and soyfoods published up to that time.
1923 – Book collections in the Bureau of Plant Industry Library are transferred to main Agricultural Library.
1923 – USDA’s Extension Service is established with Clyde W. Warburton as its first head (1923-1940).
1924 Jan. 5Crops and Markets (including a Monthly Supplement) begins to be published by USDA. The first Monthly Supplement gives some of the earliest known statistical information about soy beans. A table gives soybean statistics for 19 states in 1922 and 1923. The states with the leading acreage in 1922 were North Carolina (225,000 acres), Illinois (193,000), Tennessee (154,000), and Indiana, Iowa, and Alabama (113,000 acres each). This book contains 42 records from Crops and Markets.
1924 Nov. 22 – Howard M. Gore (R), West Virginia, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929).
1924-1926 – P.H. Dorsett (with his son, Jim) leads a very important agricultural expedition to East Asia, especially China and Manchuria. He “brought together the largest collection of soybean varieties ever made” (Washington Post, 11 July 1936). Moreover, several of these varieties became ancestors of the most widely grown U.S. soybean varieties (National Research Council 1972, Chap 13).
1925 March 5 – William M. Jardine (R), Kansas, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929).
1926Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture is renamed Yearbook of Agriculture (USDA). It continues to be USDA’s leading annual publication.
1928 – J.L. Cartter, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, is hired by the USDA as a soybean agronomist, stationed at Holgate, Ohio. From 1907 until 1928 William Morse had been the only USDA soybean agronomist. In 1936, when the U.S. Regional Soybean Industrial Products Laboratory was established in Urbana, Illinois, Mr. Cartter moved there to lead the production research at the Laboratory. He continued at that position until his retirement in 1965.
1929 Feb. 18 – P.H. Dorsett (age 67) and W.J. Morse (age 45) leave Washington, DC, by train, for a 2-3 year expedition to East Asia. Also on the trip are Morse’s wife, Edna, their daughter, Margaret, and Dorsett’s adopted daughter-in-law, Ruth. Two of the main goals of the expedition are to collect soybean varieties and soybean products, and learn as much as possible about growing and processing soybeans in Japan, Korea, Manchurian, and China. The group sails for Japan on March 1 aboard the President Grant. They arrive in Tokyo on March 18, set up headquarters there, and spend most of the first year in Japan. At the end of each day they type up their notes and add original photographs to their trip report.
1929 March 6 – Arthur M. Hyde (R), Missouri, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Herbert Hoover (1929-1933).
1930 June 17 – The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act is signed into law by President Herbert Hoover. It places an import duty of 3.5 cents per pound (but not less than 45% of the value) on soybean oil, 2 cents per pound on seed or beans, and $6 per ton on cake. It is helpful in protecting the fledgling U.S. soybean growing, crushing and oil refining industries by raising the prices of imports from East Asia – especially Manchuria. Very small amounts of oil and seed and only moderate amounts of cake were imported into the USA after the tariff took effect.
1931 Feb. 17 – The Morse party leaves Tokyo by ship to return to the United States, arriving in San Francisco on March 4. The Dorsett party returns home separately from China. The trip was a huge success and the high point of Morse’s career.
Major accomplishments of the expedition:
      (1) Soybean varieties: They collect and send back to the USA 4,451 soybean varieties (PI numbers) of which 986 (22.2%) were still in the USDA germplasm collection in 1981 (R. Bernard, 1981). However none of these are major ancestors of soybean varieties grown in 1972 (National Research Council, 1972, Chap. 13).
      (2) Soybean food products: Morse collects, Dorsett photographs, they describe and send back more than 300 soybean products, mostly soyfoods.
      (3) Trip report: The typewritten Log of the Dorsett-Morse Expedition to East Asia, which fills 17 volumes and contains more than 8,818 pages plus about 3,200 glossy black-and-white photo prints, is now at the USDA National Agricultural Library (Beltsville, Maryland), in the Rare and Special Collections.
      (4) Vegetable-type soybeans / Edamame: Morse discovers a new type of soybean. He realizes that Japanese think of vegetable-type soybeans (which are grown by horticulturists and home gardeners, and eaten as a green vegetable – edamame) as completely different from regular soybeans (daizu). He collects more than 100 different edamame varieties, and they soon become popular in the United States (Lloyd & Burlison 1939; Cates 1939).
1931 April 22 – USDA’s Office of Foreign Plant Introduction is renamed the Division of Foreign Plant Introduction.
1933 March 4 – Henry A. Wallace (D), Iowa, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945).
1933 May 12 – The Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) is passed by Congress as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. The bill allows farmers to receive payment for not growing food on a percentage of their land as allocated by the United States Secretary of Agriculture. Soybeans moved on to much of this vacated land. The Act also enables the government to buy excess grain from farmers, which could then be sold later if bad weather or other circumstances negatively affected output. The AAA also includes a nutrition program, the precursor to food stamps.
1933 Oct. 17 – The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) is established under a Delaware charter – not part of USDA (Baker 1963, p. 522).
1934 May 9 – The 250,000th volume is added to the USDA’s library collection.
1934 – USDA’s Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine is established. It includes the Bureau of Entomology (1904-1934). It was transferred to the Agricultural Research Service in 1953.
1935 June 29 – The Bankhead-Jones Act is enacted during the Great Depression. Also known as the Agricultural Research Act, it was: “An Act to provide for research into basic laws and principles relating to agriculture and to provide for the further development of cooperative agricultural extension work and the more complete endowment and support of land-grant colleges.”
1935 Sept. 9 – Letter from H.W. Mumford to W.L. Burlison et al. concerning the first meeting of the Committee on the Regional Soybean Research Laboratory at Urbana, Illinois.
1936 July – U.S. Regional Soybean Industrial Products Laboratory is founded at the University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois using funds from the Bankhead-Jones Act. It is divided into two main groups: the Analytical and the Agronomic division. Its mission is to do the first organized U.S. research on industrial uses of soybeans. Housed in the “Old Agricultural Building” at the University of Illinois, it is formed by a formal cooperative agreement between USDA and 12 North Central states. William Morse had encouraged this type of cooperative program for many years.
      Before 1936 (starting in about 1905 in Nebraska) “cooperative work” or “cooperative experiments” generally referred to an agricultural experiment station sending soybean varieties and growing instructions to applicants in its state, together with a form that the station asked the farmers to fill out and send back after they had harvested the different varieties. After 1936, the soybean varieties were sent to many more farmers in all of the cooperating states, and the research became much more systematic.
1937 Jan.Foreign Agriculture begins to be published by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. The first article about soybeans appears in the April 1937 issue. It continues to be published until 1963 when it is enlarged with a new format.
1939 July 1 – The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) is transferred to the USDA. When soybean farmers were asked to double their output in 1964, the CCC paid the support price of $1.60 per bushel. The farmers then sold their mature soybeans to the CCC, which paid the farmers then sold the soybeans to crushers based on their grade and oil content. This was the first government price support ever applied to soybeans; it was instituted at the government’s request. However a support price for soybeans continued from the end of World War II up to the present – although little money was paid to soybean farmers since the support price was usually below the market price (USDA website; Farrington 1942; Hacklander & Gardiner 1984).
1939 July 7 – USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is established. On 9 March 1942 it is dissolved, but on 2 Nov. 1953 it is reestablished under USDA Secretary Ezra Taft Benson.
1940 Sept. 5 – Claude R. Wickard (D), Indiana, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945).
1940 Dec. 16 – The Northern Regional Research Laboratory begins operation at Peoria, Illinois. It was established in 1938 as part of the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA, spearheaded by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Henry A. Wallace as part of the New Deal). The AAA called for the establishment of four regional research laboratories to develop new uses and new markets for farm crops. For the next 75+ years the NRRL in Peoria is deeply involved with important research on soybeans and soyfoods (including tofu, tempeh and miso).
1942 Feb. 22 – The Agricultural Research Administration is established by Executive Order 9069. It consolidated the activities of the Bureaus of Plant Industry, Agricultural Chemistry and Engineering, and Home Economics.
1942 July – The analytical (chemical research) division, one of two departments of the Regional Soybean Industrial Products Laboratory at Urbana, Illinois, is moved to the NRRL at Peoria. But the agronomic (breeding and culture) division of the USDA experiments remains at its present location in Urbana with the scope of its work greatly expanded. It is under the USDA Bureau of Plant Industry.
1942 July – USDA’s National Agricultural Library begins publishing the Bibliography of Agriculture, a monthly publication which ends in 1969 with the advent of computerization. Each issue contains an excellent index.
1942 – Agricultural War Information (AWI) leaflets and brochures begin to be published by the Agricultural Adjustment Administration. For example, AWI-10 of Nov. 1942 explains why farmers have been asked to double soybean production to at least 9 million acres for harvest as beans. America needs oil to replace that cut off from suppliers in the Pacific. AWI-73 of Oct. 1943 is titled “Cooking with soya flour and grits.”
1943 Feb. 13 – The Bureau of Agricultural and Industrial Chemistry is established pursuant to Executive Order 9069 to include the four regional research laboratories and some divisions of the former Bureau of Agricultural Chemistry and Engineering (Baker 1963, p. 471).
1943 – Twelve Southern States that produce soybeans join the cooperative program of the United States Regional Soybean Laboratory at Urbana, Illinois. Southern headquarters for the region are located at the Delta Branch Experiment Station at Stoneville, Mississippi.
      “Testing soybean varieties on a regional basis began in 1943” (Henson 1945; Henson & Carr, 1946, p. 3).
1943 – The soybean variety Lincoln is released jointly by the University of Illinois, USDA, and several other universities. It “was the first variety to be developed from a purposeful hybridization and was the first to be cooperatively released under the agreement of 1936” (Howell 1984).
1943 – USDA’s Bureau of Plant Industry, Soils, and Agricultural Engineering is established by renaming. Its first head is Robert M. Salter (1943-1951), followed by Albert H. Moseman (1951-1953).
1945 June 30 – Clinton P. Anderson (D), New Mexico, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Harry S. Truman (1945-1953).
1946 Aug. 14 – The federal Research and Marketing Act becomes law, making new and greatly expanded funds available to USDA, especially for marketing research. Some is allocated to basic research on improving the flavor stability of soybean oil. Some is used to study potential markets for soybeans and soy products in Europe.
1946 Sept. – The American Soybean Association, of which William Morse was a founder and three times president, awards him an honorary life membership – its highest honor.
1947 Nov. 12 – USDA gives William Morse its “Superior Service Award.”
1947 – The first detailed study of the U.S. Regional Soybean Industrial Products Laboratory (including its cooperators in the 12 North Central and 12 Southern states) is published: Lambert, W.V. 1947. “Improvement and industrial utilization of soybeans: Research under the Soybean Laboratory program.” USDA Miscellaneous Publication No. 623. 26 p. Sept. It contains a history, an analysis of its goals and accomplishments, and a superb bibliography of all 148 scientific articles published by the laboratory and its cooperators.
1948 June 2 – Charles F. Brannan (D), Colorado, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Harry S. Truman (1945-1953).
1949 – The USDA germ plasm/germplasm collection of soybeans from all over the world opens at The U.S. Regional Soybean Industrial Products Laboratory (Urbana, Illinois); it was organized by Jackson L. Cartter and L.F. Williams of the Soybean Lab. In 1951 Edgar E. Hartwig became curator of the southern soybean germplasm collection located at Stoneville, Mississippi
      In 1929 Dorsett and Morse collected about 4,500 soybean varieties in East Asia. Unfortunately all but about 1,000 of these were discarded before the present collection was established (Bernard 1973, p. 5; Hymowitz 1984, p. 378-88; Bernard et al. 1987, p. 1; Hymowitz 1998, interview).
1949 Nov. 30 – W.J. Morse retires after 42 years at the USDA. He is widely considered the “father” of the soybean industry in the United States. He and his wife retire to Eastchester, New York.
      After Morse’s retirement, Dr. Martin G. Weiss (of the Iowa Agric. Experiment Station) took over his position as leader of Soybean Investigations at USDA; he served in that position from 1949 to 1953. “Under Weiss' leadership the soybean germplasm collection was formalized and facilities established at Urbana, Illinois, and Stoneville, Mississippi, for preservation and management of the collection.”
1953 Jan. 21 – Ezra Taft Benson (R), Idaho, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961).
      He was a member of the Council of Twelve of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints (Mormon) at the time he was appointed.
1953 March 10 – USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is established. (Baker 1963, p. 454). Its very first Foreign Service National (FSN) cooperator was the American Soybean Association’s (ASA’s) Japan office. This connection with FAS turns out to be a major breakthrough for ASA during the postwar decades.
1953 Nov. 2 – USDA’s Agricultural Research Service is established. It includes the Agricultural Research Administration (1942-1953) (Baker 1963, p. 454).
1954 April – George M Strayer, Executive Vice President of the American Soybean Association, leaves for Europe as part of an agricultural foreign trade mission funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The trade mission visits 12 northern European countries in seven weeks looking for potential markets for U.S. soybeans. U.S. farmers have just harvested the largest U.S. soybean crop in history and new markets for it are needed. He finds large potential markets but observes: “We have only two things that can stand in our way.” High prices and low quality (Soybean Digest. April 1954, p. 4; May 1954, p. 4; June 1954, p. 4; July 1954, p. 4).
1954 July 1 – Public Law 480 is enacted into law. The most important price-support and export-subsidy plan undertaken up to 1959 is Title I of P.L. 480. Under this program 1.6 billion pounds of soybean oil (among other agricultural products) were sold for foreign currencies between October, 1954 and September, 1958 (Berg 1961, p. 4).
1954 Oct. – Herbert Johnson says: This rapid expansion in soybean production created new problems with diseases and insects, cultural and fertilization practices, and varieties, and our research effort has not kept pace with the increase in production problems. However, increased funds appropriated this year will enable us to expand the research program (Soybean Digest. 1954 Oct., p. 6-7).
1954 – Herbert W. Johnson takes over as leader of Soybean Investigations at USDA after Martin G. Weiss retires. Johnson continued in this position until 1964. Next to Wm. Morse, Herbert Johnson “probably had the greatest influence on the development of soybean research.” During this period “the soybean cyst nematode was found for the first time in the United States, the first disease-resistant soybean varieties were developed, and a significant increase in the size and scope of soybean research staffs occurred, including the beginnings of the major increase in research on soybean physiology” (Howell 1984, p. 129).
1955 Oct. 16 – George Strayer and his wife board an airplane from Waterloo, Iowa headed for Japan. “Mr. Strayer will begin his study of the marketing of U.S. soybeans for the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.” After losing World War II, Japan had been stripped of its “colonies” in Manchuria and Korea, which were its main sources of imported soybeans. In 1946 Japan began importing small quantities of U.S. soybeans – buying 3,441 metric tons that year. By 1955, that quantity had soared to 572,050 metric tons. By 1954 and 1955 Japan had become the largest single overseas market for U.S. soybeans (Conlon 2009, p. 7).
      “William Termohlen, the agricultural attaché in Japan at the time, believing that there were tremendous opportunities in Japan for U.S. soybeans requested that an ASA representative be sent to Japan to study the market” (Conlon 2009, p. 7).
      The Strayers spend almost 2 months in Japan, where Mr. Strayer finds a huge potential market for American soybeans and is surprised to find that about two-thirds of Japan’s imported soybeans are used directly to make human foods and seasonings. But he also hears many complaints about the poor quality of U.S. soybeans (Soybean Digest. Oct. 1955, p. 7; Nov. 1955, p. 21; Jan. 1956, p. 8-10; Feb. 1956, p. 6-9; March 1956, p. 20, 22).
1956 Feb. 7 – The American Soybean Association (ASA) and the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service sign their first overseas market development program (a “cooperator agreement”), allocating $100,000 in P.L. 480 proceeds to cover activities in Japan and Germany for one year. The first activities in Japan include funding a survey on quality of soybeans exported from the United States under the new grain grading standards for soybeans, sending a Japanese team to the United States, and establishing an office in Japan to carry out the program.
      This program, a huge “break” for impoverished ASA, opens up vast new vistas in marketing American soybeans in Europe and Japan (Conlon 2009).
1956 April – A market development program for soybeans in Japan is announced jointly by USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS), USDA, and ASA. Designated as soybean project No. 2, it supplements the general market development agreement (signed previously by these organizations), which designated the ASA as the official cooperator with USDA in projects involving P.L. 480 funds.
      Up to $75,000 in Japanese yen may be used by the project to conduct an extended survey of deliveries of American soybeans, under the new grading standards which went into effect on 1 Sept. 1955. The other main step will be the formation and activation of a Japanese-American Soybean Institute (JASI), and the employment of a managing director, Shizuka Hayashi, to be in charge of Tokyo operations (Soybean Digest. 1956. April, p. 7; 1956. July, p. 12-13).
      Each September Mr. Hayashi attends ASA’s annual meeting in the United States to report on JASI’s activities during the past year.
1956 Aug. 22 – The Soybean Council of America (a new organization headed by Howard Roach of Iowa and cooperating with ASA) and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) sign a European market development program. To “be implemented with over one-half million dollars in P.L. 480 and soybean industry funds, it will be the first undertaking of the new Soybean Council of America.
      “The Council is an industry-wide organization formed this past summer for the purpose of research, education and promotion of the nation's soybean crop” (Soybean Digest, 1956. Sept., p. 26-27).
      One of the reasons for these overseas market development programs is to ensure that the ever-expanding production of U.S. soybeans is sold rather than stockpiled (Soybean Digest, 1956. Sept., p. 34, 36-37).
1957 March – Successful soybean market programs, sponsored by FAS and the Soybean Council of America, are now under way in Spain and Italy. The Council soon has offices in Madrid and Rome. Soy oil is used to supplement olive oil (Soybean Digest. 1957, March p. 20-21; 1957, July, p. 6).
      By September George Strayer of ASA is able to write an article titled “We are on the threshold of big things” (Soybean Digest, Sept., p. 19+).
1957 – “ASA and FAS sponsored Dr. A.K. Smith of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to visit Japan to study soybean utilization. He found that only a limited amount of U.S. soybeans were used to produce soy foods. The following year, under a cooperative agreement between FAS, ARS and ASA, two Japanese scientists went to work with Dr. Smith at USDA's Peoria Labs for ten months to determine which U.S. soybean varieties were good for tofu and miso. The scientists identified two varieties, Hawkeye and Harosoy, and the Japanese industries started using these varieties of soybeans for food products. By the late 1950s, the image of soy foods changed to ‘wholesome and nutritious’” (Conlon 2009, p. 9).
1960 Jan. – Soybean Council of America and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) sign first global contract for any commodity – soybeans. “Considered a major breakthrough for the soybean industry, the agreement designates over 40 countries for market development work utilizing foreign currencies acquired by USDA (Soybean Digest. 1960. Jan. p. 24-25. Cover story).
      During the 1960s cooperative agreements between the soybean industry and USDA continued, and record levels of soybeans and soybean products were topped again and again.
1961 Jan. 21 – Orville L. Freeman (D), Minnesota, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President John F. Kennedy (1961-1963) and then under President Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969).
1961 Oct. – An article by Robert W. Howell and Richard L. Bernard, in the Sept/Oct. issue of Crop Science (p. 311-13), states: This is: “Publication No. 351 of the U.S. Regional Soybean Laboratory, Urbana, Illinois.” Both authors are soybean scientists at this very important laboratory.
1961 – The Economic Research Service (ERS) is established as an agency of USDA, principally under the authority of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946.
1962 – USDA’s library is first designated as the “National Agricultural Library” by Secretary of Agriculture Orville L. Freeman.
1962 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture celebrates its centennial with an excellent book: Century of Service: The first 100 Years of the United States Department of Agriculture, by Gladys L. Baker. et al. (xv + 350 p. 300+ references. Published in 1963).
1963 Jan.Foreign Agriculture begins to be published by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service
1963 – The USDA soybean research program expands. Funds are used to hire three new scientists including Dr. Billy E. Caldwell as a soybean breeder and Dr. Ray E. Johnson as a plant physiologist (Johnson 1963).
1964 – Twenty USDA scientists are now located in 8 states engaged in soybean production investigations. Dr. Robert W. Howell (Urbana, Illinois) has been named leader of soybean investigations for the Crops Research Division, of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service; a plant physiologist, he succeeds Herbert W. Johnson.
1965 Nov. 4 – Food and Agriculture Act of 1965 (Farm Bill) becomes effective.
1967 – Soybeans are now the No. 1 U.S. cash crop. This could never have happened without ongoing help from the USDA, and State agricultural colleges and their experiment stations (Simerl 1967, p. 12-13).
1967 on – Many states now have multiple experiment stations located strategically throughout the states. See graphics of Arkansas in 1967 and Oklahoma in 1984.
1969 Jan. 21 – Clifford M. Hardin (R), Nebraska, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Richard Nixon (1966-1974).
1969 Aug. 8 – USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is established (Gunderson 1971).
1969 – The National Agricultural Library’s huge new building opens in Beltsville, Maryland. Construction had begun in 1965.
1970 Nov. 30 – Agricultural Act of 1970 (Farm Bill) becomes effective.
1970 – USDA’s National Agricultural Library begins compiling AGRICOLA: Bibliography of Agriculture – a computerized bibliographic database. Originally called CAIN, AGRICOLA is an acronym for AGRICultural OnLine Access. It is the online version of the Bibliography of Agriculture.
1971 Dec. 2 – Earl L. Butz (R), Indiana (Purdue Univ.), becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Richard Nixon (1966-1974).
1973 Aug. 10 – Agricultural and Consumer Protection Act of 1973 (Farm Bill) becomes effective.
1976 Nov. 4 – John A. Knebel (R), Oklahoma, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Gerald Ford (1974-1977).
1977 Jan. 23 – Robert S. Bergland (D), Minnesota, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981).
1977 Sept. 29 – Food and Agriculture Act of 1977 (Farm Bill) becomes effective.
1978 Jan. 24 – Four USDA agencies – Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Cooperative State Research Service (CSRS), Extension Service (ES), and the National Agricultural Library (NAL) – merge to become a new organization, the Science and Education Administration (SEA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (Justice and Bass. 1978. Agriculture Handbook No. 506, title page).
1980s early – At about this time the U.S. Regional Soybean Industrial Products Laboratory (Urbana, Illinois) ceased to exist, but it was never formally closed. Much of the work was transferred to the University of Ohio. At this time, Dr. Richard Bernard salvaged many of the files, and stored them (Bernard 1997, interview).
1981 Jan. 23 – John R. Block (R), Illinois, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989).
1981 Dec. 22 – Agriculture and Food Act of 1981 (Farm Bill) becomes effective.
1981 – The Food Safety and Inspection Service is given responsibility for inspecting meat and poultry products.
Note: This and many of the following entries are from: USDA Timeline HighRes.pdf – owned by Special Collections at the USDA National Agricultural Library.
1982 – U.S. agricultural exports begin rapid decline from peak of $43.8 billion in 1981. Subsequent lower prices coupled with high farm debt from expansion of 1970s leads to a farm financial crisis by mid-decade.
1983 – Secretary of Agriculture John Block announces the Payment-In-Kind (PIK) program to reduce surplus stocks of price-supported commodities as global markets contract. The PIK and other programs contribute to the largest acreage reduction program in U.S. history.
1985 Dec. 23 – Food Security Act of 1985 (Farm Bill) becomes effective.
1985 – The Food Security Act of 1985 is the first farm bill to contain a conservation title. With its Sodbuster and Swampbuster provisions, the 1985 Farm Bill makes conservation compliance a prerequisite for participation in USDA programs.  The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is also established. By providing rental payments to farmers in exchange for putting cropland into grass or trees, CRP protects topsoil, enhances water quality, and provides wildlife habitat, among other environmental benefits, on millions of acres of privately owned land in the United States.
1986 March 7 – Richard E. Lyng (R), California, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989).
1986 April 17 – The Crop Reporting Service is renamed the National Agricultural Statistics Service and the Crop Reporting Board is formally changed to the Agricultural Statistics Board.
1986 Sept – USDA’s Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) revises soybean grading standards in response to complaints from overseas buyers (Soybean Digest. 1986. Oct., p. 8).
1987 – The Agricultural Credit Act of 1987 provides funds to agricultural lending institutions to bolster their financial stability and help resolve the farm financial crisis of the mid-1980s. Farmland values bottom out in 1987, indicating a turnaround in the farm economy.
1987 – The U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement is signed, removing all tariffs and non-tariff barriers to the trade of all commodities, including agricultural products over a 10-year phase-in period.
1988 May – “History of the National Agricultural Library,” by Alan E. Fusonie is published in Agricultural History (spring, p. 189-207).
1988 – The first meeting of the Agricultural Biotechnology Research Advisory Committee (ABRAC), attended by participants from within and outside USDA, is held at USDA headquarters in Washington, DC, to evaluate federally sponsored biotechnology research in agriculture.
1989 Feb. 16 – Clayton K. Yeutter (R), Nebraska, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President George H.W. Bush (1989-1993).
1990 Nov. 28 – Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990 (Farm Bill) becomes effective.
1990 Dec. – The legislation to establish national organic standards is signed into law as part of the 1990 Farm Bill. The legislation gives the USDA 180 days from the bill’s enactment to appoint a 15-member board that will write the organic standards (Natural Foods Merchandiser, Dec. 1990, p. 3).
      The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 requires USDA to develop national standards for organically produced agricultural products (see www.nass.usda.gov/about_nass/Timeline...)
1991 March 8 – Edward R. Madigan (R), Illinois, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President George H.W. Bush (1989-1993).
1991 – NASS responds to the growing interest in environmental statistics related to agriculture by conducting the Chemical Usage on Farms Survey.  This is the first stand-alone survey devoted to environmental issues.
1993 Jan. 22 – Mike Espy (D), Mississippi, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Bill Clinton (1993-2001).
1993 – The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is ratified by the U.S. Congress. The agreement removes all tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade between the U.S. and Canada and the U.S. and Mexico for agricultural products. The provisions are phased in over 15 years, beginning in 1994.
1994 Oct. 3 – USDA starts a major reorganization under the Federal Crop Insurance Reform and Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994. USDA reduces the number of agencies from 43 to 30 and reconfigures them into seven mission areas.
1994 Dec. 1 – The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), an agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is created, to improve the health and well-being of Americans by establishing national dietary guidelines based on the best science available. CNPP promotes dietary guidance by linking scientific research to the nutritional needs of the American public through the function of USDA's Nutrition Evidence Library, which it created and manages. (Note: For an alternative view see The China Study, by Campbell and Campbell (2005).
1995 March 30 – Daniel R. Glickman (D), Kansas, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Bill Clinton (1993-2001).
1996 April 4 – The Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (Farm Bill) ends traditional price support programs based on supply control and deficiency payments. Farmers receive regular annual payments based on their historical production and are given the freedom to plant whatever commodities they believe will be most profitable.
1996 – The Risk Management Agency (RMA) is created to administer the Federal Crop Insurance Program.
1997 – Responsibility for conducting the 1997 Census of Agriculture and subsequent Census of Agriculture is transferred from the Census Bureau in the U.S. Department of Commerce to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) in USDA.
1997 – The 1997 Census of Agriculture counts individual farmers on American Indian reservations for the first time, instead of continuing to count each reservation as a single farm. Efforts are also made to increase the number of small and minority-operated farms included in the Census.
1997 – USDA introduces a new logo, offering a modern alternative to the traditional USDA seal.
1997 – In response to demonstrations by a Black farmers’ organization in front of USDA’s Washington, DC, headquarters, the Department launches a civil rights review of its program delivery and employment practices. The Civil Rights Action Team delivers a report including specific action items to end discrimination in program delivery and employment at all levels and to resolve outstanding complaints and appeals of discriminatory practices.
1998 – Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) systems, the new method of science-based food safety inspection, are required for more than 300 large meat and poultry plants.
1998 – Access to nutrition assistance is expanded by allowing youths aged 13 to 18 to receive nutritious snacks in after-school care programs (See https://www.nal.usda.gov/nal-history).
1998 – AGRICOLA becomes available for free on the internet.
1999 June – Mexico and the U.S. Department of the Interior sign the Wildfire Protection Agreement allowing wildfire protection resources originating in the territory of one country to cross the United States-Mexico border in order to suppress wildland fires. The USDA’s Forest Service firefighters are able to cross borders to protect our natural resources from wildfires.
2000 – USDA unveils new National Organic Standards and an official organic certification seal.
2001 Jan. 20 – Ann M. Veneman (R), California, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President George W. Bush (2001-2009).
2001 Sept. 11 – On September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks killed nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and in a field in rural Pennsylvania, catapulting the U.S. into a global war on terrorism. After the attacks, USDA Forest Service Incident Management Teams restored communications and provided initial incident command of World Trade Center and Pentagon crash sites.
2001 – USDA forms a Homeland Security Council to review its programs to determine what actions the Department should take to protect the Nation’s food and agricultural system from potential terrorist attacks.
2002 May 13 – Farm Security and Rural Investment Act (Farm Bill) becomes effective.
2002 – The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 increases funding for conservation programs by 80 percent over 10 years. Funding increases are concentrated on working-lands programs that help producers farm using more environmentally friendly practices and on increasing land retirements that protect wetlands.
2003 December – USDA identifies the first case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow disease) in a cow in Washington State.
2004 June 30 – President George W. Bush signs the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act, which amends the National School Lunch Act to encourage improved access to local foods in schools.
2005 Jan. 21 – Michael O. Johanns (R), Nebraska, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President George W. Bush (2001-2009).
2007 – The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 establishes specific targets for the production and use of biofuel in the United States. USDA programs for research and development of bioenergy from agricultural sources and for investments in renewable energy production in rural America become increasingly important to meeting these bioenergy policy goals.
2008 Jan. 28 – Ed Schafer (R), North Dakota, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President George W. Bush (2001-2009).
2008 May 22 – Food, Conservation, and Energy Act (Farm Bill) becomes effective.
2008 Sept. – In September 2008, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s begins to influence the U.S. economy. Known as the “Great Recession,” the crisis has worldwide impacts, and its effects on food prices help spur renewed efforts to address global food security.
2008 – The Food Stamp Program is renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), reflecting the program’s greater focus on nutrition.
2009 Jan. 20 – Tom Vilsack (D), Iowa, becomes U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Barack Obama (2009-2017).
2009 Feb. 17 – In an effort to jumpstart the economy and create jobs, President Barack Obama signs the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law. The Recovery Act provided unparalleled investments in rural America to help revitalize the rural economy, including investments in critical infrastructure, such as broadband and water systems, renewable energy, assistance to rural businesses, and critical community facilities, such as medical centers, schools, and public safety facilities.
2009 – USDA launches new initiatives to promote closer links between food production and consumers. The People’s Garden Initiative and “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food,” for example, help develop local and regional food systems, spur economic opportunity, and promote healthy food, people, and communities across
2010 Feb. – Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder witness the successful resolution of the longstanding litigation known as Pigford II, giving relief to African American farmers who had previously been discriminated against and denied assistance from USDA programs. The Cultural Transformation program is subsequently launched at USDA designed to create a diverse, inclusive, and high-performing workforce. Note: For a more detailed discussion of this class action litigation, see Pigford v. Glickman on Wikipedia or elsewhere,
2011 June 2 – First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary Vilsack unveil MyPlate, depicting a place setting with a plate and glass, ending 19 years of food pyramid diagrams.
2011 – Cropscape, a geospatial web portal, is released by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, allowing interactive querying of the national cropland geospatial data system.
2011 – President Barack Obama establishes a White House Rural Council to strengthen rural communities and promote economic growth.
2012 Feb. 23 – Secretary Vilsack kicks off USDA's 150th anniversary during the annual Agricultural Outlook Forum.
2014 July 10 – Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill) becomes effective.
2016 – The National Agricultural Library now holds about 8 million bound volumes and individual documents, and subscribes to about 2,500 electronic serial titles. NAL is one of the largest agricultural libraries in the world – and has contributed thousands of documents to this book and to our SoyaScan database.
2016 – USDA Present status: Approximately 80% of USDA's $140 billion budget goes to the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) program. The largest component of the FNS budget is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as the Food Stamp program), which is the cornerstone of USDA's nutrition assistance (Wikipedia, at U.S. Department of Agriculture).
The leading soybean pioneers at the agricultural (land-grant) colleges and their experiment stations are:
Alabama: J.F. Duggar (from 1902), Ward A. Ostrander (from 1921).
Illinois: W.L. Burlison (from 1905), J.C. Hackleman (1919), C.M. Woodworth (from 1920).
Indiana: Charles S. Plumb (from 1894); W.C. Latta (from 1899), A.T. Wiancko (from 1905); G.I. Christie (from 1911), Keller E. Beeson (from 1925).
Iowa: F.S. Wilkins (from 1920), H.D. Hughes (from 1920).
Kansas: Charles C. Georgeson (from 1890).
Minnesota: R.E. Hodgson (from 1924), J.W. Lambert (from 1947).
Missouri: W.C. Etheridge (from 1917).
North Carolina: Charles William Dabney, Jr, (from 1883); Charles Burgess Williams (from 1910).
Wisconsin: George M. “Soybean” Briggs (from 1920).

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