By Alan Bjerga – Mar 14, 2013 5:19 PM MT
Kathleen Merrigan has resigned as deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agency’s No. 2 job.
Merrigan, an organic-foods expert, “played a vital role in the department’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative,” which focused on locally grown food, as well as the agency’s budget cutting efforts, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today in an e-mail. No reason was given for her departure.
Merrigan, 53, served as chief of the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service under then-President Bill Clinton and was a staff member of the Senate Agriculture Committee from 1987 to 1992. In that position she helped develop the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, which set national standards.