||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (November 2012)|
|20th United States Secretary of Agriculture|
January 23, 1977 – January 20, 1981
|Preceded by||John A. Knebel|
|Succeeded by||John R. Block|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota's 7th District|
January 3, 1971 – January 22, 1977
|Preceded by||Odin Langen|
|Succeeded by||Arlan Stangeland|
July 22, 1928 |
|Political party||Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party|
Robert Selmer Bergland (born July 22, 1928, in Roseau, Minnesota) is a United States politician. He grew up on a farm (where he still lives) near Roseau, and studied agriculture at the University of Minnesota in a two-year program. He became an official with the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service United States Department of Agriculture from 1963 to 1968.
He was elected to the United States House of Representatives from 1971 to 1977, as a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, entering the House by defeating Republican incumbent Odin Langen in 1970. He was elected to the 92nd, 93rd, 94th, and 95th congresses, and served from January 3, 1971 to January 22, 1977 as a representative from Minnesota. In Congress he served on the House Committee on Agriculture's subcommittees for Conservation and Credit, and Livestock, Grains, Dairy, and Poultry.
In 1977, he resigned from the House shortly after the beginning of a new term, and was appointed Secretary of Agriculture by Jimmy Carter. He served as United States Secretary of Agriculture from January 23, 1977 to January 20, 1981. A minor but much-celebrated struggle between USDA and the GSA occurred during his tenure, resulting in the ironic dedication of the USDA executive cafeteria in honor of Alferd Packer—in order to shame GSA into terminating a Nixon-era cafeteria services contract.
At the end of the Carter administration in 1981, he 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 that capacity he lobbied both congress and regulatory agencies on behalf of Cooperatives in the electricity business. Throughout his life he was widely considered a tireless advocate for working class rural Americans, particularly farmers.
He retired in 1994 only to be elected by the Minnesota State Legislature to serve on the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. He finally retired after one term, and owns a 600-acre (2.4 km2) farm in Minnesota. He is married to Helen (Grahn) and they are the parents of seven children (Dianne, Linda, Stevan, Jon, Allan, William, and Franklyn), 15 grandchildren (Tomas Bergland), five great grandchildren (Megan Klein) and two step-grandchildren. He is also a guitarist for the Highway 11 Ramblers.
- The Bob Bergland Papers, including extensive records of his congressional service, are available for research use at the Minnesota Historical Society.
|United States House of Representatives|
|U.S. Representative from Minnesota's 7th congressional district
1971 – 1977
John A. Knebel
|U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
Served under: Jimmy Carter
John R. Block