Robert Bergland

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Bob Bergland
Robert Bergland - USDA portrait.jpg
20th United States Secretary of Agriculture
In office
January 23, 1977 – January 20, 1981
PresidentJimmy Carter
Preceded byJohn Knebel
Succeeded byJohn Block
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 7th district
In office
January 3, 1971 – January 22, 1977
Preceded byOdin Langen
Succeeded byArlan Stangeland
Personal details
Born (1928-07-22) July 22, 1928 (age 90)
Roseau, Minnesota, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Helen Bergland
EducationUniversity of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Robert Selmer Bergland (born July 22, 1928) is 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 and politics[edit]

Bergland grew up on a farm near Roseau, Minnesota. He was the son of Selmer Bennett Bergland, a Minnesota farmer, and his wife Mabel (née Evans). He studied agriculture at University of Minnesota in a two-year program. He became an official of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service for the Department of Agriculture from 1963-68.[1]


U.S. Representative from Minnesota[edit]

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 U.S. Republican incumbent Odin Langen in 1970. He was elected from the 92nd, 93rd, 94th, and 95th Congresses.[2] 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[edit]

In 1977, Bergland resigned from the House shortly after the beginning of a new term, and was appointed by the President Jimmy Carter's Secretary of Agriculture from January 23, 1977 to January 20, 1981.[2] A minor but much-celebrated struggle between USDA 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 the order to shame General Services Administration from a terminating into the Nixon-era cafeteria services contract.

Post-Agricultural and returned farmer[edit]

At the end of President Carter's administration in 1981, and became as the chairman of Farmland World Trade until 1982, when he became as the vice president and general manager of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. In that 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 owns a 600-acre (2.4 km2) farm in Minnesota.

Personal life[edit]

He married Helen Elaine Grahn on June 24, 1950. They had seven children, fifteen grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and two step-grandchildren.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Carter's Farm". The New York Times. 1978-05-14.
  2. ^ a b "Bergland, Robert Selmer". US House of Representatives: History, Art, and Archives. Retrieved 2018-02-02.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Odin Langen
U.S. Representative from Minnesota's 7th congressional district
1971 – 1977
Succeeded by
Arlan Stangeland
Political offices
Preceded by
John A. Knebel
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
Served under: Jimmy Carter

January 23, 1977 – January 20, 1981
Succeeded by
John R. Block