Robert Bergland

Robert Bergland

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 Cooperatives 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 convert|600|acre|km2|sing=on farm in Minnesota. He is married to Helen (Grahn) and they are the parents of 7 children (Dianne, Linda, Stevan, Jon, Allan, William, and Franklyn), 15 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren and 2 step-grandchildren. He is also a guitarist for the Highway 11 Ramblers.

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