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The Department of Agriculture celebrated its 150th anniversary Thursday with a panel featuring the past nine Secretaries of Agriculture at the department’s 2012 Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, Va.

Secretary Tom Vilsack moderated a panel discussion with former Secretaries of Agriculture Ed Schafer, Mike Johanns, Ann Veneman, Dan Glickman, Mike Espy, Clayton Yeutter, John Block and Bob Bergland.

“Nine Secretaries of Agriculture, representing 35 years of service, in one place at the same time was an incredible opportunity to learn about USDA’s contributions to the strength and health of this nation with an eye for the impact the department can have in the future,” said Vilsack. “As we reflect on the department’s 150 years, this historic gathering will help us guide how we transform USDA into a more modern and efficient service provider.”

USDA introduced a short film titled “Secretaries of Agriculture – 30 Leaders, 150 Years,” which you can view above, that tells the story of USDA from the viewpoints of its nine most recent Secretaries. Each Secretary shared reflections on his or her time at USDA and then presents ideas and challenges to the future of American agriculture. The film explores the history and role of USDA in American life, and why it continues to be known by the name given it by its founder, President Abraham Lincoln, “The Peoples Department.”