Former Deputy Ag Secretary Merrigan joins AGree as co-chair

By Agri-Pulse staff

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WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2015 - Kathleen Merrigan, a former deputy secretary of agriculture, is joining Agree as one of four co-chairs. Merrigan, currently the executive director of sustainability at the George Washington University, will replace Gary Hirshberg, co-founder and chairman of Stonyfield Farm, who is stepping down after four years.

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The other co-chairs of AGree, an agriculture advocacy group, are former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, Jim Moseley another former deputy secretary of agriculture, and Emmy Simmons, a former assistant administrator at USAID, all of whom have been with AGree since 2011.

“Kathleen is a bridge builder in the food and ag policy space  - she is equally at ease among CEOs, policy wonks, farmers, ranchers, senators and members of Congress, heads of state, academics and students,” Hirshberg said in a news release. “She is an ideal choice as AGree works to implement its recommendations.”

Merrigan, who holds doctorate in environmental planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, served as deputy secretary of agriculture from April 2009 to March 2013. She also ran USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service from 1999-2001, helping to develop the department's organic labeling rules.

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On its website, Agree says its goal is to “drive positive change in the food and agriculture system by connecting and challenging leaders from diverse communities to catalyze action and elevate food and agriculture as a national priority.”

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