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Deputy Secretary of USDA to visit Alcorn State University

Dr. Merrigan USDA

Dr. Kathleen A. Merrigan.

Dr. Kathleen A. Merrigan, deputy secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), will visit the School of Agriculture, Research, Extension and Applied Sciences (AREAS) at Alcorn State University on Friday, March 25, 2011, from 9:00 a.m. to noon, according to Dr. Barry Bequette, dean and director of land-grant programs.

“Dr. Merrigan will talk to high school and college students about the important role the USDA plays in the food and fiber system and encourage them to explore the many exciting and rewarding careers with USDA and in the agriculture industry,” Bequette said. “This visit will provide students an opportunity to talk to personnel officers about career opportunities to help them make informed decisions about their career choices.”

During her visit, Dr. Merrigan will also meet with university administrative officials and other staff.

Working alongside Secretary Tom Vilsack, Merrigan oversees the day-to-day operation of USDA’s many programs and spearheads the $149 billion USDA budget process.

She serves on the President’s Management Council, working with other Cabinet Deputies to improve accountability and performance across the federal government. Merrigan brings a wealth of knowledge to USDA from a decades-long career in policy, legislation, and research related to the many missions of USDA.

Deputy Secretary Merrigan has managed the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food effort to highlight the critical connection between farmers and consumers and support local and regional food systems that increase economic opportunity in Rural America.

In November 2009 she made history as the first woman to chair the Ministerial Conference of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the Unites States. Time Magazine also recognized the history and scope of her work by naming her among the “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2010.