I began the week with the sad news that former Secretary of Agriuculture Bob Bergland of Minnesota had passed away. As the agricultural advisor to the Presidential campaign of Jimmy Carter I had the opportunity to help Bergland get appointed to the job.
I was in New York at the Democratic Convention when I called Bergland to see if he wanted the job. I called his home number and his wife answered. She said that he was out on the farm hauling gravel. He called me back to say he was interested.
My next contact was when President Carter appointed him to the job. The Senate Agriculture Committee, where I was the General Counsel and Staff Director, had the responsibility to confirm him. We unanimously approved him immediately after the hearing.
Bergland’s tenure as Secretary was marred by President Carter’s Russian grain embargo. Angry farmers demonstrated in Washington. They invaded Congress and the Department of Agriuculture. I hated to see this, as well as the fact that Carter was a one term President. However, both were fine men. Bergland passed away at 90 years of age and President Carter is still alive at age 94.
Michael R. McLeod