Series V, USDA History Collection

USDA History Collection
Series V. Press Releases and News Clippings, 1940-1996 (bulk 1968-1996). 48 cubic ft.

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This series includes printed press releases from the USDA, press release summaries, clippings from newspapers and magazines, and other items. The materials date from 1940-1996 (bulk 1968-1996), and cover all topics of agriculture, both U.S. and international. The series is arranged alphabetically by publication title, and then chronologically within each title. Most of the series consists of three publications: ASCS Clippings, AG a.m./AG News, and the departmental press releases issued under the headings News and News Daily Summary. A complete list of titles in this series is included below.

ASCS Clippings, issued daily by the Agricultural Stabilization & Conservation Service, is a daily compilation of photocopied news clippings of stories related to agriculture from major daily newspapers. This title has more of an emphasis on international agriculture than the other publications in the series. ASCS Clippings in the file dates from 1968 until 1996. These papers make up about three-quarters of the volume of this series.

AG a.m. is a collection of agricultural news summaries, intended for use by USDA policy makers. The agricultural subject matter is predominantly American. In March 1994, this compilation began to be issued in both morning and afternoon editions, and the name was changed from AG a.m. to AG News.

The contents of News and News Daily Summary are press releases from the USDA Office of Public Affairs. The actual press releases are issued under the heading News while News Daily Summary consists of short summaries of daily press releases and reports recently released by USDA. In this collection, there is a greater volume of the Daily Summary, which begins in 1940, than of the actual press releases, which start to appear in 1980. From that date, the two are interfiled, so that a folder of News is followed by a folder of News Daily Summary.

Both titles focus on recent developments in agriculture, such as prices, trade, and farming innovations. In format and content, News Daily Summary is similar to AG a.m., but it refers specifically to USDA press releases rather than general newspaper stories.

Most of the News press releases are filed strictly by date, but in the period 1980-1982, there are a number of folders that have been sorted according to subject. The subject headings generally refer to commodities, e.g., Cotton, Peanuts, Tobacco, along with a few topics such as Nutrition or Weather. These folders may also include titles other than News, such as Situation and Outlook Reports. The folders usually cover only one year each, and are filed alphabetically by subject, after the other folders of press releases from that year.

Other titles of note in Series V include: Congressional Activity Report, issued to inform Economic Research Service executives of current activities in Congress; and SEA Today, published by the Science and Education Administration of USDA, which compiles AG a.m., News, and stories from major newspapers and magazines.

Many titles were not systematically collected, and are represented by only a small number of items. Such publications provide a sample of the variety of information released by USDA agencies.

This series of Press Releases and News Clippings provides the larger context for USDA programs, and for policies and decisions made by USDA, providing the researcher with a sense of the most prominent and controversial issues in agriculture during this time period. Although the contents of these materials are available elsewhere, the USDA History Collection gathers in one place news stories from many disparate sources. The news clippings, taken from both American and international newspapers, are unique in the USDA History Collection in offering the perspectives of people and organizations outside of USDA. The clippings gather agriculture-related news stories from major newspapers, and from lesser-known sources such as wire services, and rural and other low-circulation newspapers.

Related Materials

Many clippings and press releases will be found among the Documentary Files, Series I. Prior to 1949, the Division of Statistical and Historical Research, which created this collection, filed newspaper clippings (cut and glued to pieces of paper) and departmental press releases by subject in appropriate sections of the Documentary Files. For the period 1949-1956 (Series I, subseries 3), clippings were housed in separate file folders in a separate cabinet, arranged according to the subject outline. (During processing, these clippings folders were interfiled with other folders at the appropriate place in the outline for subseries 3.)

After 1956 clippings were again filed by subject in the folders of the Documentary Files. In 1968, the Agricultural and Rural History Section (ARH) of the Economic Research Service began collecting the daily ASCS Clippings that form the backbone of this series. They were filed separately from the Documentary Files until about 1986, when ARH staff began selecting certain clippings for interfiling within the Documentary Files, while still keeping many clippings as a separate file. This continued until 1994, when the ARH was closed.

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List of Titles

The following list gives the titles of the press releases (considered as a published series) or of the clipping or news summary service. Each title is followed by the name of the agency that published it ("creator"), along with span dates, other titles used, other creator names, and additional information. In some cases an actual title cannot be cited and the item is filed by name of the issuing agency.

Details of the contents and dates of materials on file, are included in the container list.

  • AG a.m./AG News. News Division, Office of Public Affairs/Governmental & Public Affairs; Office of Communications. 1980-1996. "Agricultural News Summary for USDA Executives."
  • AG Magazine Watch. Office of Governmental & Public Affairs, USDA Media Liaison Center. 1980.
  • APHIS News. Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service. 1980-1984.
  • ASCS Clippings. Agricultural Stabilization & Conservation Service. 1968-1996.
  • ASCS Commodity Fact Sheet. Agricultural Stabilization & Conservation Service. 1983-1984.
  • ASCS press releases (no uniform title). Agricultural Stabilization & Conservation Service. 1980-1991.
  • Congressional Activity Report. Economic Research Service, US Agricultural Policy Branch. 1987-1992.
  • Crop Reporting Board, Statistical Reporting Service. Planting & production reports (issued under several titles). (other creator names: Agricultural Statistics Board.) 1982-1987.
  • ERS Morning News. Economic Research Service, Food and Agricultural Policy Branch. 1984.
  • FAS Report. Foreign Agricultural Service. Other title: FAS Release. 1980-1985 (bulk: 1982).
  • FCA News Release. Farm Credit Administration. 1981-1982.
  • Food Purchase Report. Agricultural Marketing Service, Food Safety and Quality Service. 1980-1982.
  • Marketing Order Actions. Agricultural Marketing Service. 1982.
  • NEWS (press releases) and News Daily Summary. Office of Communications (other creator names: Office of Public Affairs, Office of Press & Media Relations, News Division, Press Service, Office of War Information.) Other titles: The Daily Summary, Weekly Summary, USDA Summary, Information for the Press, Backgrounder, News Features, Program Announcements, USDA Program Announcements, etc. 1940-1996.
  • Regional News. Various agencies: Agricultural Marketing Service, Food Safety and Quality Service, Packers & Stockyards Administration, etc. 1980-1982 and n.d.
  • SEA Today. Science and Education Administration. (compilation of other press releases or clippings services, including AG a.m., News, ASCS Clippings.) 1980-1981
  • Situation and Outlook Summary. Economic Research Service, approved by World Agricultural Outlook Board. Other title: Outlook and Situation Summary. 1980-1984.
  • Summary of Circular. Foreign Agricultural Service. 1984-1985.
  • Summary of Report. Economic Research Service. 1982-1987.
  • World Agricultural Outlook Board, weather reports. ca. 1980.

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