Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has filled several key staff positions, naming a new director of intergovernmental affairs and a staff director for the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

AIysia Peters, a former director of the Office of Gifts and Grants Management for the Peace Corps, will be the director of intergovernmental affairs in USDA's Office of External and Intergovernmental Affairs. Before working for the Peace Corps, Peters was the legislative and policy director for Nevada Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall.

Alexandra Lawrence, a former senior adviser in the Office of Global Operations at the Peace Corps, is the new chief of staff for NRCS. While at the Peace Corps, Lawrence led the development of the agency’s “Strategy to Secure a Resilient Global Future," according to a USDA release. She previously held posts at the Ocean Conservancy, where she was vice president of conservation, and for The Wilderness Society.

She has a bachelor's degree in biology from Howard University, a master’s in wildlife and fisheries sciences from Texas A&M University, and a doctorate from Duke University.

The other new staff:

  • Ethan Holmes, a former senior ag policy adviser for U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, is a senior policy adviser for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
  • Sakeenah Shabazz, former policy director for the Berkeley Food Institute, is a new senior policy adviser for the Food and Nutrition Service
  • Maya Cohn, who was director of policy and programs for the Rachel Carson Council, and Maya Johnson, a former aide to the Senate Ag Committee, are now policy advisers for NRCS.

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