Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Posts tagged: Deputy Secretary

Georgia On My Mind

Cross-posted from the White House blog

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan

Last fall, the President asked that senior Obama administration officials travel the country to hold a series of roundtables on behalf of the White House Rural Council.  On November 2nd, I joined a roundtable with local farmers, ranchers, and area business leaders at the Athens Technical College in Athens, Ga. If you aren’t familiar with Athens, Ga. the locals are glad to inform you that it is a hotbed of rock n roll and the launching grounds for acts such as the B52s, R.E.M., and Widespread Panic.

Deputy Secretary Celebrates Opening of a Non-Profit Pennsylvania Kitchen for Use by Food Entrepreneurs

The crowd applauded as Deputy Secretary Merrigan, YCEDC and local officials cut the ribbon to signify the official opening of the YorKitchen shared kitchen incubator in downtown York, Pennsylvania.

The crowd applauded as Deputy Secretary Merrigan, YCEDC and local officials cut the ribbon to signify the official opening of the YorKitchen shared kitchen incubator in downtown York, Pennsylvania.

Tucked in the back of York’s historic (circa 1754) downtown Central Market, YorKitchen, a shared commercial kitchen incubator officially opened its doors this morning. The crowd of nearly 40 local supporters applauded as Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, York County Economic Development officials and local officials cut the ribbon at the entrance to the state-of-the-art kitchen.  The kitchen was funded in part through Rural Development. Read more »

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan Meets with Community Leaders to Discuss Lahaina Watershed Project

During her visit to Lahaina, Hawaii Merrigan met with local officials and community members.  The discussions centered on the history of the Lahaina Watershed Project (LWP) and the multiple benefits that programs such as the LWP provide. Community members thanked the Deputy Secretary for the USDA natural resources conservation programs provided to rural communities, expressed their appreciation for these projects, and discussed the overall benefits for citizens of Hawaii and the nation.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan is pictured here with Kiewit Project manager Jeff Fahey and other community leaders on a visit to the Lahaina Watershed project site.
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan is pictured here with Kiewit Project manager Jeff Fahey and other community leaders on a visit to the Lahaina Watershed project site.

USDA Helps Winterize White House Gardens and Provide Tips for Winter Months

USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan recently joined White House Assistant Chef and Food Initiative Coordinator Sam Kass and other USDA officials, staff, and volunteers to help winterize the garden on the White House grounds by establishing tunnels and cover crops. Read more »

Single Mom of Five Enjoys First Time Homeownership Thanks to Recovery Act

Last week, Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan and I had the pleasure of meeting Kelly Hench, a single Mom of five whom, thanks to the recovery act, was able to move her kids to a home in a nice development just outside of Carlisle, PA. Read more »

Merrigan Addresses Global Agricultural Leaders

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan today kicked of the 36th Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations – the first woman to hold this role and the first time the United States has chaired the Conference in 20 years.

As Merrigan welcomed top agricultural officials from throughout the world, she highlighted the Obama Administration’s commitment to advancing global food security and improving agricultural productivity. She also noted her past work for FAO to advance organic agriculture internationally, and urged her fellow leaders to build on past efforts and prioritize organic agriculture as one step to meet global ecological and environmental challenges.

See Merrigan’s opening remarks:

“The conference this year comes at a critical time following the World Summit on Food Security.  President Obama has committed the United States to a whole-of-government approach to tackle the problem of global food security.  The United States will work with Members as we move forward with this important effort.

“My government fully supports the FAO and its mission.  We believe the FAO reform process underway provides a unique opportunity to move the organization into a more relevant, focused, and effective organization and we reaffirm our commitment and dedication to the faithful implementation of the FAO’s Immediate Plan of Action.

This endeavor will greatly enhance FAO’s contribution to agriculture development and global food security.

“The FAO’s mandate to raise levels of nutrition and standards of living, improve agricultural productivity, promote rural development and, ultimately, provide all people at all times with access to the food they need for an active and healthy life, is extremely important to the United States.

“It has been 20 years since the United States last chaired this ministerial conference.  But, I am not a stranger to FAO.  My association with FAO began 10 years ago, when, as an expert consultant, I assisted FAO staff in drafting the Committee on Agriculture paper on organic agriculture, adopted at the 30th session of the Conference.

“Since that time, organic agriculture has grown substantially in my country and around the world. In the United States, more than 2 million hectares and over 10,000 certified producers are involved in organic agriculture.

“There have been some important efforts by FAO on organic agriculture, including the FAO–led organic standards harmonization effort and the 2007 FAO meeting in partnership with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements on organic agriculture and food security.

“However, after 10 years, the organic program is neither mainstreamed in the FAO program of work nor in the FAO budget.  Even the very small amount of central funds given to the interdepartmental working group on organic agriculture may soon disappear.

“As someone with a deep interest in this subject, I would like to see the importance of organic agriculture and its role in agro-ecology elevated within the FAO scope of work.

“The Agenda before us calls for decisions that will have a lasting impact on the future of our Organization. Given that we have only five and a half days to do this, I call on your cooperation and understanding to ensure we make the best use of our time to make wise and forward-looking decisions for the good of this Organization and its mission.”

Deputy Secretary Merrigan

Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan