Orville Freeman


American Secretary of Agriculture



Freeman was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 9, 1918, graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1940. After serving with distinction in the Marine Corps during World War II, he was discharged with the rank of major and obtained a law degree from the University of Minnesota, passing the bar in 1947. Freeman became state chairman of the Democratic-Farmer- Labor Party and managed Hubert H. Humphrey's successful 1948 campaign for the Senate.

Elected governor of Minnesota in 1954, Freeman returned to office two times. His tenure was marked by progressive initiatives mounted despite the opposition of conservative state assemblies.

In 1961, President Kennedy appointed him Secretary of Agriculture, a position he held until the end of the Johnson Administration in 1969. As Secretary of Agriculture, Freeman supported production controls, high price supports for crops and the donation of food surpluses to the needy. According to Freeman, food is "the greatest instrument for peace and freedom which we have yet developed."