Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today marked the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and highlighted the positive impact that USDA has on the life of Americans each day.

"For 150 years, USDA has supported our nation's economic prosperity and touched the lives of generations of Americans," said Vilsack. "I'm proud of the USDA employees who carry out President Lincoln's legacy throughout the country and around the world, making USDA a truly 'Every Day, Every Way' department.

“Whether improving domestic and international access to food, promoting nutrition and safety of our food supply, conserving our natural resources, advancing agricultural exports, or developing the rural economy, USDA helps Americans to lead better lives."

President Lincoln created USDA in 1862 and in his last address before Congress, called it the "People's Department." President Lincoln established USDA because he understood the importance of agriculture to America's success.

The Department has delivered record amounts of loan assistance; enrolled a record number of acres in conservation programs; provided food assistance to 1 in 4 Americans and helped to upgrade infrastructure, such as electric and broadband Internet service, for millions of people.

Throughout 2012, USDA will continue to recognize important events such as President Lincoln's signing of the Act to establish the Department of Agriculture on May, 15, 1862 and the July 2, 1862 signing of the Morrill Act to establish public land grant universities. Learn more about President Lincoln's agricultural legacy here.

USDA works to support the tremendous growth and continued successes of American agriculture at home and abroad, drive economic growth, conduct groundbreaking research, conserve natural resources, promote healthy families and build stronger communities and a stronger nation.

The Department will remain focused on rebuilding and revitalizing the nation's future while bolstering innovation and supporting economic growth for millions of American families.

In the years to come, USDA will continue to address the changing needs of agriculture and rural America, and will continue to help provide a safe, ample food supply for our nation and the world.

For more information on the 150th anniversary celebration, please visit www.usda.gov/usda150.

Additional information on USDA's work to strengthen the American economy can be found at www.usda.gov/results.

(For an op-ed piece on the USDA from the National Farmers Union, click here).