News Release

Contact: Sue King, (202) 690-8122

Online Scavenger Hunt is a Fun Way to Explore the History of U.S. Agricultural Statistics

Washington, May 24, 2012 - In recognition of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 150th Anniversary, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) launched an online historical timeline at  The history provides important information about the advancement of agricultural statistics as well as the background of NASS itself. Agricultural statistics in the United States is documented in NASS's timeline as far back as President George Washington. As an early compiler of U.S. agricultural information, Washington corresponded with land holders asking for information on farmland prices, commodity prices and crop yields. 

"We are pleased to make this part of America's agricultural heritage more widely available on the occasion of USDA's 150th anniversary," said NASS Administrator Cynthia Clark.  "'Collecting, arranging, publishing, and disseminating, for the benefit of the nation, statistical and other useful information in regard to agriculture' was central to President Abraham Lincoln's purpose for establishing the department. Today, NASS proudly carries forth this responsibility."

As a fun way to explore its history online, NASS is conducting a web-based scavenger hunt for the remainder of May.  Participants can dive into the timeline as well as the NASS website to find interesting historical and current facts.  Did you know that the first Census of Agriculture was conducted in 1840?

To view the timeline and to participate in the online scavenger hunt, visit


NASS is the federal statistical agency responsible for producing official data about U.S. agriculture and is committed to providing timely, accurate and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture.

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