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ARS Launches Historical Timeline on the Web

By Kathryn Barry Stelljes
February 24, 2000

Researchers, history buffs and others interested in how U. S. Department of Agriculture research fits into their lives can now view a chronological timeline on the World Wide Web at:


The introduction of the navel orange in the 1870s, domestication of the wild blueberry in the 1910s, inventions allowing mass-production of penicillin in the 1940s and the first biodegradable plastics developed from cornstarch in the 1990s are just some of the accomplishments listed in the timeline.

Initially, the web timeline closely follows the printed version that appears in the December 1999 issue of Agricultural Research, the monthly magazine published by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. The printed timeline contains more than 80 key accomplishments by USDA researchers since the department was formed in 1862. Also included for historical perspective are many important administrative and legislative dates, as well as non-USDA scientific milestones crucial to agricultural research.

Over the next few months, hundreds more items will be added. Links will take readers to expanded stories on key successes--like discovery of the viroid, the smallest known agent of plant disease, by ARS’ Theodore O. Diener in 1971. The site also highlights dozens of photographs relating to the timeline.

Contact: Kathryn Barry Stelljes, ARS Information Staff, Albany, Calif., phone (510) 559-6069, fax (510) 559-5882,

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