Kathleen A. Merrigan is President Obama’s nominee for deputy secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

Obama, speaking of Merrigan and other nominees, said, “I am grateful these distinguished men and women have chosen to put their unique talents and expertise to work serving our country. Together, I am confident we will be able to tackle the challenges of our time as we work to right our economy and enact policies that give America’s working families the relief they need.”

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition praised the selection of Merrigan. “The farmers and rural constituents of our grassroots member organizations are excited to have a lifelong supporter of family farmers and sustainable and organic agriculture working with the (Obama) administration to reform U.S. food and agriculture policy,” said the coalition in a statement to the press.

“NSAC will strongly encourage the U.S. Senate to confirm Merrigan as quickly as possible and looks forward to working with her and Secretary Vilsack on the pressing farm, food, fuel and rural issues of the day.”

Merrigan is an assistant professor and director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment graduate school programs at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston.

Prior to joining the Friedman School, Merrigan held a variety of policymaking jobs at the state, federal, and international level.

• From 1999 to 2001, she was administrator of Agricultural Marketing Service of the USDA.

• From 1994 to 1999, she worked at the Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture, and served as an expert consultant at the Food Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

• From 1987 to 1992 she was a staff member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, working for the chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy.

• From 1986 to 1987, Merrigan worked in the regulatory division of the Texas Department of Agriculture.

• From 1982 to 1985, she worked for Congressman John Olver during his tenure in the Massachusetts State Senate.

Merrigan holds a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in environmental planning and policy, a Master of Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, and a B.A. in Political Science and English from Williams College.