In 2012, USDA commemorated and celebrated its 150th anniversary. Founded in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law an act of Congress establishing the United States Department of Agriculture.
Two and one-half years later, in what would be his final annual message to the Congress; Lincoln called USDA "The People's Department." At that time, about half of all Americans lived on farms, compared with about 2 percent today. But through our work on food, agriculture, economic development, science, natural resource conservation and a host of issues, USDA still fulfills Lincoln's vision - touching the lives of every American, every day.