President Obama today announced his intention to nominate Kathleen Merrigan to be Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. Currently she serves as assistant professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, Boston.

In 1999, Merrigan 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.

"We at the U.S. Department of Agriculture welcome the President's intention to nominate Dr. Merrigan," said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. "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."

From 1987 to 1992 Merrigan 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 University of Texas and a B.A. from Williams College.

Source: USDA