Deputy Secretary Merrigan Resigns
March 15th, 2013
In a statement released yesterday, USDA Deputy Secretary Merrigan announced her resignation. She will be leaving USDA in May.
In her statement, Deputy Secretary Merrigan said, “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.”
Her primary responsibilities at USDA included overseeing daily operations and managing the department’s budget during tough fiscal times, as well as improving delivery of government programs. Additionally, she championed several issues and initiatives that were focus areas for USDA, including:
- Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food;
- The National Organic Program and its “age of enforcement”;
- Support for the next generation of agriculture;
- Increased access to healthy nutritious foods for all in coordination with the First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” initiative; and
- Stewardship of natural resources.
About her resignation, Secretary Vilsack said, “USDA 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.”
Deputy Secretary Merrigan has been a lifelong champion of sustainable agriculture. We wish her the very best in the upcoming transition time at USDA and then as she decides where next to serve the sustainable agriculture movement.
NSAC’s statement on Deputy Secretary Merrigan’s departure is available here.