Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan Will Serve Through April

      Posted On: March 22, 2013

Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan is stepping down from her position as second in command at USDA. During her term, Merrigan championed local and sustainable farming, and spearheaded numerous projects supporting small, beginning, and minority farmers. The USDA has released this quote from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsak, saying, “Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan has helped USDA achieve record results over the past four years. She has played a vital role in the Department-wide focus on the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, as well as our efforts to achieve budget efficiencies and savings during an uncertain budget time. Deputy Secretary Merrigan has led USDA’s efforts to implement important regulations, and she has been an important advocate for a strong National Organic Program. I deeply appreciate her service, and I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

FMC is grateful for Merrigan’s hard work to ensure that the USDA serves interests beyond big agriculture. FMC Project Director, Stacy Miller was quoted in Mother Jones, stating, “I’m still shocked by her resignation, knowing how the hundreds of thousands of farmers, managers, and volunteers that make farmers markets possible across the US have benefited from her commitment to truly viable food systems that both grow rural economies and get the freshest most nutritious food possible onto more plates.”

Merrigan’s term will end in April, and no announcement has been made regarding her successor. Merrgian has released the following statement: “Today I am announcing that I will be leaving USDA. I am grateful to President Obama for the opportunity to serve as Deputy Secretary and be part of his leadership team.  I also want to thank the US Senate for its unanimous confirmation and the many members of Congress, particularly Chairman Leahy, with whom I have worked closely to ensure support for USDA programs.

It has been an ambitious first term. From implementing the 2008 farm bill, improving school meals, expanding opportunities for American farmers, spending countless hours in the White House situation room, to shepherding USDA budgets through challenging times, it has been an honor to play a small part in history. I hope that during my tenure, I was able to help open USDA’s doors a little wider, inviting new and discouraged constituencies to participate in USDA programs.

With Secretary Vilsack at the helm, aided by very talented and dedicated USDA employees, I am able to leave fully confident that, even in these difficult budget times, USDA will thrive and continue to improve its service to the American people.”