Robert Bergland, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

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Robert Selmer Bergland

Birthplace: Roseau, Roseau, Minnesota, United States
Death: December 09, 2018 (90)
Roseau, Roseau County, MN, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Sam Bergland and Mabel Evans Bergland

Managed by: Ragnar Rolf Hegna
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Robert Bergland, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

Robert Selmer Bergland (July 22, 1928 – December 9, 2018) was an American politician. He served as a member of the House of Representatives from Minnesota's 7th congressional district from 1971 to 1977, and he served as United States Secretary of Agriculture from 1977 until 1981, during the administration of President Jimmy Carter.

Early life

Bergland was born near Roseau, Minnesota, the son of Mabel (Evans) and Selmer Bennett Bergland, a garage mechanic. He studied agriculture at the University of Minnesota in a two-year program. A farmer, he became an official of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service for the Department of Agriculture from 1963-68.


U.S. Representative from Minnesota

Bergland was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1971 to 1977 as a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, entering the House by defeating U.S. Republican incumbent Odin Langen in 1970. He was elected to the 92nd, 93rd, 94th, and 95th Congresses. In Congress, he served on the House Committee on Agriculture's subcommittees for Conservation and Credit, and Livestock, Grains, Dairy, and Poultry.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

On January 22, 1977, Bergland resigned from the House shortly after the beginning of a new term, and was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as Secretary of Agriculture and served from January 23, 1977 until January 20, 1981.

A minor but much-celebrated struggle between the United States Department of Agriculture and the General Services Administration occurred during his tenure, resulting in the ironic dedication of the USDA executive cafeteria in honor of Alferd Packer in order to shame the General Services Administration into terminating the Nixon-era cafeteria services contract.

Post-Agricultural career

Following the end of the Carter administration in 1981, Bergland became the chairman of Farmland World Trade until 1982, when he became the vice president and general manager of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. In the latter capacity, Bergland lobbied both Congress and the regulatory agencies on behalf of the Cooperative's electricity business.

After retiring in 1994, Bergland was elected by the Minnesota State Legislature to a term on the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. Bergland retired after the one term and owned a 600-acre (2.4 km2) farm in Minnesota.

Personal life

He married Helen Elaine Grahn in 1950. They had seven children.[10] Bergland died on December 9, 2018 at a nursing home in Roseau at the age of 90.

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Robert Bergland, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture's Timeline

July 22, 1928
Roseau, Roseau, Minnesota, United States
December 9, 2018
Age 90
Roseau, Roseau County, MN, United States