Montana State University

USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan to speak at MSU on Feb. 8

February 2, 2010 -- MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan will speak at Montana State University on Feb. 8 as part of the sustainable food and bioenergy systems program seminar series and the 4th annual Local Food Fair.

Merrigan will speak about the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, a USDA-wide effort to create new economic opportunities by better connecting consumers with local producers. She will be discussing the importance of understanding where food comes from and how it gets to the consumer's plate. She will also be encouraging college students to consider careers in agriculture and food production.

"The mission of MSU's new SFBS degree program is very much aligned with the U.S.D.A.'s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative," said Mary Stein, program coordinator for the SFBS program. "Because of this, we thought the Deputy Secretary would be an appropriate speaker for the seminar series."

Merrigan's visit is a collaborative event between the 4th annual Local Food Fair and the sustainable food and bioenergy systems program at MSU. The fair, which brings together more than 35 local food producers, processors and organizations from across Montana, is intended to increase awareness on campus and within the Gallatin Valley of the abundance of food Montana offers. It is also intended to support efforts to improve a community-based food system throughout the state. The Fair takes place from 1:30-3 p.m. in the SUB Ballrooms at MSU.

Merrigan's keynote address will run from 5:15- 6 p.m. in the SUB ballrooms, to be followed by a roundtable discussion with students from 6:15- 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

Mary Stein at 406-994-5640 or