Kathleen Merrigan (current Deputy Secretary, US Department of Agriculture)

Thu January 21st 2010, 7:00pm
Event Sponsor
Center for Ethics in Society
Annenberg Auditorium
Kathleen Merrigan (current Deputy Secretary, US Department of Agriculture)

"Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" -- The "Know Your Farmer" initiative was launched by Deputy Secretary Merrigan and Secretary Vilsack in the Summer of 2009. It seeks to reinvigorate the connection between consumers and agricultural producers, and leverage the power of these food communities to enhance the healthfulness and security of the food we eat, create new opportunities for producers, and create wealth in rural communities. Before rejoining USDA in 2009, Kathleen Merrigan served as an Assistant Professor and Director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment Program at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston. In 2008 she was an expert consultant to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in Rome. Merrigan served as Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service from 1999-2001. From 1994-99 she worked as a Senior Analyst for the Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture, a Washington, DC-based organization which promotes research and education in sustainable agriculture. She was a Senior Staff Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry from 1987-92, where she worked as the Chief Science and Technology Advisor to [then] Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT). During that time she helped develop the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. She worked on pesticide issues as a Special Assistant to the Chief of Regulatory Affairs for the Texas Department of Agriculture, based in Austin, from 1986-87. Merrigan served on USDA's National Organic Standards Board from 1995-99 and on the Department's Facilities Reform Commission from 1997-99. Merrigan holds a Ph.D. degree in environmental planning and policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Master of Public Affairs degree from the University of Texas, and a B.A. degree from Williams College.