For example, not long after Clinton took office, tragedy struck when 700 children became sick and four died after eating hamburger contaminated with E.coli. America was among the safest nation for food but this showed more needed to be done. The first move was to overhaul a meat and poultry inspection system that had stayed the same for 100 years. They moved to more scientific methods and stopped relying on the sight-touch-and smell system. By doing so, they can now stop contamination before it ever happens versus simply finding out about it later. This has resulted in reduced foodborne illness and saved lives.
The Department also worked hard to redo the farm safety net. More than 200,000 family farms disappeared in the 1990s and the USDA wanted to put a halt to it. They made crop insurance available to more people. They managed to reverse the course of small family farms disappearing and in 1999 saw the number of small farms increase after years of decline. The Clinton administration also fought for a more aggressive trade agenda that delivered the most open world agricultural markets to America’s farmers and ranchers.
These are just two examples of what United States Department of Agriculture did during this time period. This document is full of all that went on. They created programs to bring clean water to rural areas. They took action to increase diversity and work on the multiple claims of discrimination against the department. The USDA improved the nutritional value of school meals and began nutrition education programs in schools. They increased the breakfast programs to reach more children in need. There was a lot of work done during the 8 years Clinton was President and Harvest of Hope illustrates all of the time and effort this department put into making life in America better.