Department of Agriculture Records Guide

Umatilla County grain field

(Enlarge image) Two men examine a grain field near Pendleton in Umatilla County in 1962. The man on the left is probably a Department of Agriculture employee. (OAG379)

Scope and Content Note

The records of the Department of Agriculture document a wide variety of department activities following its creation in 1931. Most of the records begin soon thereafter, when the new department consolidated various state services related to agriculture, and continue into the 1980s. The following records begin before 1931:

Dot State fair records, 1868-1988
Dot Horticulture Society records, 1889-1946
Dot Livestock and sheep records, 1907-1988

The accessions contain records in a variety of formats including photographs and negatives, slides, audio tapes, motion picture films, posters, maps, drawings, and bound volumes. Standard paper-based formats are represented by letters and memos, minutes and agendas, reports and studies, legal documents, publications, and press releases.

The records in these accessions have been arranged by division, board, commission, and office or by program area. All major areas of agriculture activity are represented: administration; animals, livestock, and poultry; food, dairies, and milk; marketing and development; plants, horticulture, and grain; laboratory services; weights and measures; the state fair; commodity commissions; and soil and water conservation.

Records that are arranged by division may reflect frequent organizational change over the years which has resulted in the administration of one function by a succession of similarly named divisions or sections. For example, agricultural development and marketing functions were carried out by the Division of Market Enforcement, Division of Market Development, Division of Agricultural Development, and Division of Agricultural Development and Marketing. Organizational charts have been placed in the Appendix to assist the researcher in tracing the organization of the department.

Administrative Records
The researcher should be aware that records covering similar topics or departmental activities may be found in several different series. The department director has responsibility for a wide variety of program areas and so the Administrative Correspondence and Administrative Program Records, which are comprised mainly of director's records, contain records which complement or overlap with records found in other series. For example, the small collection of agricultural development and marketing records are nicely supplemented by similar records in the Administrative Program Records.

In addition to Administrative Correspondence and Administrative Program Records, other series that contain a variety of records concerning more than one function or program area are Administrative Rules Records, Commodity Commission Records, Horticulture Records, Pacific Northwest Regional Commission Records, and Public Relations Records.

Administrative Rules Records contain information about programs and activities, such as milk marketing, weights and measures, gypsy moth, pesticides, and agricultural chemicals, which are documented in other series.

Program Records
Records dealing with plant disease and blight can be found not only in Plant Industry Division, Plant Pest and Disease Records, but also in Horticulture Records, Pacific Northwest Regional Commission Records, Gypsy Moth Records, and Plant Industry Division Records.

Records relating to milk marketing and price stabilization programs can be found in Administrative Rules Records, Legal Records, Milk and Dairy Records, and Milk Marketing Administration Records. The researcher is advised that the bulk of Archives holdings on milk marketing efforts are contained in the separate Oregon Milk Marketing Administrative Records, 1934-1956, accession 74A-4R, which documents attempts to oversee the production, distribution, manufacture, licensing, and sale of milk.

Commodity Commission Records contain records on dairy products, livestock, and plants which may be represented in other series such as Milk and Dairy Records, Animal Industry Division, Livestock Records, and Plant Industry Division Records.

In 1989 the Soil and Water Conservation Division became the Natural Resources Division. Soil and water conservation district records dating from 1939, when the first district was organized in Tillamook, are now at the Archives, which has custody of a comprehensive collection of records documenting the programs and history of soil and water conservation districts. Records of the Clean Water Act Program and the Oregon Association of Conservation Districts provide additional good documentation of department activities and responsibilities.

The new accession numbers for the Department of Agriculture Records are 92A-25, 98A-007, and 98B-021. The records were originally accessioned into the Archives under accession numbers: 56-3, 56-g, 58-43, 58-84, 59-42, 69; Inv. AA, BB, CC; 60A-52, 63A-10, 65A-42, 65A-93, 66A-16, 67A-80, 68A-7, 68A-76, 71A-112, 72A-4, 79A-17, 88A-21, 90A-8, 90A-29, 90A-33, 91A-89. In 1992 the foregoing accessions were merged into accession 92A-025.

Newer accessions include 94A-004 (1955-1983 Chewing Fescue and Creeping Red Fescue Commission Minutes); 98A-007 (1981-1990 Soil and Water Conservation District Minutes); 98A-017 (Undated Photographs and Certificates); 98B-021 (1956-1996 Soil and Water Conservation District Records); 98B-031 (1985-1992 Oregon Dairy Products Commission Minutes and 1979-1992 Newsletters); 2000A-011 (1978-1994 EPA Annual Agreements and Report Records from the Pesticides Division). Accessions in 2003, 2004 and 2006 added 15.30 cubic feet.

A related accession is 88A-064 (ca. 1980-ca. 1993 Oregon Dairy Council Publications).

The total size of the accessions is 183.65 cubic feet.

Note: Current Department of Agriculture programs and records are described in a records retention schedule produced by the Oregon State Archives.

State Archives • 800 Summer St. NE • Salem, OR 97310

Phone: 503-373-0701 • Fax: 503-378-4118 • reference.archives@state.or.us