Bob Bergland, 90, who was agriculture secretary in the Jimmy Carter Administration, died Sunday. Bergland farmed at Roseau, Minnesota, served in Congress from 1971-to-1977 and was a member of the cabinet during Carter’s four years in office. That was a difficult time in agriculture with the Russian grain embargo and the farm crisis. During an interview with RRFN nearly 20 years ago, spoke about the 1979 tractorcade in Washington, D.C. “I was chairing a Commodity Credit Corporation meeting when they (activists) were milling around the atrium at USDA and bang, bang, bang,” said Bergland. “It turned out to be firecrackers, but they weren’t sure if it was gunfire or if my life was in danger, the police came in and ushered me down to the basement, the took off a screen on a basement window and I went through it and into a squad car and we went off to the White House compound.” That would be an unnerving situation for most people, but Bergland said nothing compared to the emotions he faced after death of his son in a car accident. In addition to his time at USDA, Bergland managed the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and was a regent at the University of Minnesota. Funeral services will be held Saturday in Roseau.
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