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President Obama Announces Intent to Nominate LBJ School Alumna Kathleen A. Merrigan to Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Post

Kathleen A. MerriganWASHINGTON, February 23, 2009 -- President Barack Obama has announced his intent to nominate LBJ School of Public Affairs Alumna Kathleen A. Merrigan, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

Responding to the news of Merrigan as President Obama's USDA deputy pick, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said in a release, "We at the U.S. Department of Agriculture welcome the President's intention to nominate Dr. Merrigan. She will bring to USDA extensive expertise in agricultural marketing and nutrition and in legislative affairs and will provide excellent, experienced leadership as we move President Obama's agricultural and nutritional agenda forward."

Merrigan currently is an assistant professor and Director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment M.S. and Ph.D. Program at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, Boston.

In 1999, she was appointed administrator of USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service by then-President Clinton. Prior to that, Merrigan was a senior analyst at the Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture and an expert consultant at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome.

From 1987 to 1992 she was a staff member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry where she helped develop the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 which mandated national organic standards and a program of federal accreditation.

Merrigan holds a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in environmental planning and policy, a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs and a B.A. from Williams College.

Press Coverage

FarmPolicy.com - The New Deputy Secretary - February 25, 2009

ThePacker.com - Former AMS head named for No. 2 USDA Spot - February 25, 2009

The Wall Street Journal - Merrigan nominated for deputy ag secretary - February 24, 2009

The Washington Post - Selection of Organic Food Policy Expert at Ag. Hailed by Advocates - February 24, 2009

Consumer Reports - Top pick for deputy secretary of USDA developed organic foods act - February 24, 2009

Treehugger - Score One For Sustainable Agriculture: Obama to Nominated Kathleen Merrigan to be Deputy Secretary of USDA - February 24, 2009

The Los Angeles Times - Praise for Obama's USDA deputy choice - February 24, 2009

Foodfirst.org - Change is Coming: Kathleen Merrigan Named Deputy Secretary of USDA - February 24, 2009

La Vida Locavore - Hooray! Obama Nominates Kathleen Merrigan (One of the 'Sustainable Dozen') as Deputy Sec. of Ag. - February 23, 2009