Merrigan Leaving USDA

Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan has announced she is leaving USDA. Exactly when she will leave and her future plans are not known at this time. Merrigan said she is hopeful that she was able to open USDA's doors a little wider during her tenure - inviting new and discouraged constituencies to participate in USDA programs. With Secretary Tom Vilsack at the helm - aided by very talented and dedicated USDA employees - Merrigan said she can leave fully confident that USDA will thrive and continue to improve its service to the American people - even during these difficult budget times. Secretary Vilsack said Merrigan helped USDA achieve record results over the past four years. He noted the vital role she played in the department-wide focus on the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative and efforts to achieve budget efficiencies and savings during an uncertain budget time. In addition - Vilsack said Merrigan led USDA's efforts to implement important regulations and was an important advocate for a strong National Organic Program. Stating that he deeply appreciates her service - Vilsack wished Merrigan well in her future endeavors.

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