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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

ARS Research Timeline - Legislation

Title: ARS Timeline...144 Years of Ag Research

Legislative history of laws
important to agriculture, food
safety, nutrition, and the environment

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History of Research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Agricultural Research Service
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1860s and before

1839
Library of the USDA established.

1862
USDA created.

Morrill Land-Grant College Act authorized public land grants for colleges to teach agriculture and mechanic arts. (more)

Homestead Act passed.

1864
Deficiency Act provided first statutory provision for employment of women.

1865
Slavery abolished by 13th amendment to the Constitution.

1868
Division of Botany created to preserve herbarium material collected in government expeditions.
(more)

1870s

1871
Illinois Warehouse Act regulated grain elevators.

1877
Desert Land Act encouraged development of irrigation in arid lands; offered land at 25 cents per acre if irrigated and cultivated for 3 years.

United States Entomological Commission established to study grasshoppers.

1880s

1884
First Federal animal quarantine law enacted.

Bureau of Animal Industry established.

1887
Hatch Experiment Station Act provided Federal grants to states for agricultural experimentation.

1888
Office of Experiment Stations established.

1889
Department of Agriculture given cabinet status.

1890s

1890
Sherman Antitrust Act passed.

McKinley Tariff Act passed with a tariff on some agricultural products.

The second Morrill Land-Grant College Act authorized separate land-grant colleges for Negroes—17 were established. (more)

Meat Inspection Act authorized inspection of salted pork, bacon, and live animals intended for export, and the quarantine of imported animals.

1894
Carey Land Grant Act granted land to western states after irrigation provided by the states.

1897
Tea Importation Act passed, the first U.S. law regulating food products.

1898
Congress authorized testing of seeds purchased on open market.

First funds officially appropriated to collect, test, and prepare foreign plant materials. (more)

1900s

1900
Lacey Act prohibited importation of injurious animals, birds, and fish.

1901
Bureau of Plant Industry established.

1902
Reclamation Act passed.

1905
Insect Pest Act prohibited importation or mailing of live, injurious insects.
(more)

Livestock Quarantine Act passed.

1906
Pure Food and Drug Act passed.
(more)

28-hour law required humane care of livestock in interstate shipment.

Meat Inspection Act passed.

1910s

1910
Insecticide and Fungicide Act passed.

1912
Plant Quarantine Act passed.

Seed Importation Act prohibited entry into the U.S. of certain adulterated grains and seeds unfit for seeding purposes.

Federal Plant Quarantine Act passed.

1913
Virus-Serum Toxin Act passed.

1914
Smith-Lever Act formalized cooperative agricultural extension work.

1916
United States Grain Standards Act passed.

Federal Farm Loan Act passed.

Standard Container Act passed.

Federal Highway Act provided for cooperation with states in construction of rural post roads.

1920s

1922
Capper-Volstead Act provided legal status for agricultural cooperatives.

Honeybee Act prohibited the importation of adult honeybees.

Congressional distribution of seeds discontinued.

1924
President Coolidge appointed a nine-man President's agricultural conference.

1925
Tennessee outlawed teaching evolution in school; Scopes trial held in Dayton, TN.

Purnell Act authorized funds for research by agricultural experiment stations on economic and social problems of agriculture.

1927
U.S. National Arboretum established by Congress.

Federal beef grading initiated.

1928
Capper-Ketcham Act provided extension work in agriculture and home economics for men, women, boys, and girls.

Buchanan Amendment provided first Congressional appropriation for soil erosion research by USDA. (more)

Wool Standards Act passed.

1930s

1930
Plant Patent Act passed, enabling the patenting of new plant varieties, excluding sexual and tuber-propagated plants.

Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act passed.

Tariff Act prohibited imports of meat and animals from countries infected with foot-and-mouth disease.(more)

1933
Tennessee Valley Authority Act passed.

Farm Credit Administration established by Executive Order 6084.

Soil Erosion Service established, later known as Soil Conservation Service, and today as Natural Resources Conservation Service. (more)

1934
Jones-Costigan Sugar Act passed; replaced by Sugar Act in 1937.

Bankhead Cotton Control Act passed.

Taylor Grazing Act gave U.S. Department of the Interior power to regulate grazing on public lands in the West.

Jones-Connally Act authorized appropriations for research to eliminate disease from beef and dairy herds.

Kerr-Smith Tobacco Control Act approved.

1935
Bankhead-Jones Act provided for expansion of agricultural research.

De Rouen Rice Act passed.

Tobacco Inspection Act passed.

1938
Agricultural Adjustment Act established four regional research centers to develop new uses for farm products. Locations were Wyndmoor, PA; Peoria, Il; Albany, CA; and New Orleans, LA.
(more)

Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act passed.

1939
Federal Seed Act required truthful labeling on vegetable seeds in interstate commerce and prohibited importation of low-quality seed.

1940s

1941
War Powers Act passed.

1942
Emergency Rubber Production Act passed.

1943
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration established.

Office of War Mobilization established.

1944
Organic Act provided for control and eradication of certain animal and plant pests and diseases.

1945
Food and Agriculture Organization formed by the United Nations.

Developed a process for preparing purified grade of oleic acid from inedible animal fats, used in cosmetics and as lubricants in textile mills.

Bankhead-Flanagan Act provided for expansion of county extension work.

1946
National School Lunch Act passed.

Research and Marketing Act passed.

1947
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act passed; replaced Insecticide Act of 1910.

Congress authorized cooperative project with Mexico to eradicate foot-and-mouth disease there. (more)

1950s

1950
National Poultry Improvement Plan authorized.

1953
Agricultural Research Service created.

1954
Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act passed.

Agricultural Trade, Development, and Assistance Act (Public Law 480) passed.

1956
Soil Bank Act passed.

1957
Civil Rights Act passed.

Humane Slaughter Act passed.

Poultry Inspection Act authorized compulsory Federal inspection of poultry sold in interstate commerce.

Federal Plant Pest Act passed.

1958
Food Additives Amendment established.
(more)

1959
Food for Peace Program inaugurated.

1960s

1961
Statistical Reporting Service established.

Feed Grain Act passed

Peace Corps established.

Economic Research Service established.

1962
Library collection of USDA designated as National Agricultural Library.

1963
Virulent-virus hog cholera vaccines outlawed.
(more)

1964
Agricultural Appropriation Act authorized fifth utilization laboratory at Athens, GA.

1966
Laboratory Animal Welfare Act passed; renamed Animal Welfare Act in 1970.

Cotton Research and Promotion Act passed.

Food for Peace program amended to permit the enrichment and fortification of commodities to improve their nutritional quality.

1967
Wholesome Meat Act passed.

1969
Food and Nutrition Service established.
(more)

National Environmental Policy Act passed.

1970s

1970
Plant Variety Protection Act passed.

Council on Environmental Quality established.

Environmental Protection Agency established.

Horse Protection Act passed.

Wheat Research and Promotion Act passed.

Egg Products Inspection Act passed.

1971
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service established; responsible for regulatory and control programs relating to disease and pests of animals and plants that were previously carried out by ARS.

1972
Federal Water Pollution Control Act passed.

Clean Air Act passed.

Consumer Product Safety Act passed.

United States signed 1952 International Plant Protection Convention.

Clean Water Act passed.

1973
Endangered Species Act passed.

Flammable Fabrics Act mandated new standards for fire retardancy. (more)

1974
Safe Drinking Water Act passed.

United States ratified the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).

1975
Federal Noxious Weed Act provided authority for a regulatory system designed to prevent the introduction of noxious weeds into the U.S. from foreign countries.

1976
Beef Research and Information Act passed.

Federal Land Policy and Management Act repealed Homestead Act and many other land laws.

1977
Methods developed to determine exact sequence of DNA.

1978
United States declared free of hog cholera.
(more)

1980s

1980
Supreme Court ruled that microbes created by genetic engineering could be patented.

Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act passed.

1985
Food Security Act established Conservation Reserve Program for highly erodible lands.
(more)

1986
Federal Technology Transfer Act passed.

Sparkleberry holly released.

Created first relatively inexpensive and safe soil monolith collection procedure for 70+ milligram soil monoliths for lysimeters.

1988
1890 Initiative by USDA
(more)

1990s

1990
Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act passed.

Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act passed.

1996
Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act passed.

Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act passed.

1999
Executive Order 13112 on Invasive Species signed.
(more)

2000s

2000
Food Safety Initiative, modified food safety inspections to decrease foodborne illnesses.

Biomass Research and Development Act.

2002
Farm Security and Rural Investment Act passed to address water and other environmental issues. Programs include the Conservation Security Program, which created a reward system for eco-conscientious farmers.

2005
Energy Policy Act increased biofuels research funding.

 

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Send comments or questions about this historical timeline to Sean Adams.

 

Last Modified: 12/12/2013
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