The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens

Palmieri named USDA assistant secretary for congressional relations

President Obama has designated Suzanne Palmieri, the chief of staff to Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, as the acting assistant secretary for congressional relations starting May 2, USDA announced today.

Palmieri, who has worked on Capitol Hill and was at the U.S. Agency for International Development in the Clinton administration, succeeds Krysta Harden, who left the Senate-confirmed post to become chief of staff to Agriculture Secretary Vilsack.

John Berge, who has been acting assistant secretary for congressional relations, will become executive director of USDA’s National Food and Agriculture Council and will be stationed in Nebraska. Berge was state director of the Obama campaign in Nebraska and Vilsack’s first White House liaison before he became deputy assistant secretary for congressional relations.

Monica Wyant, the deputy White House liaison for USDA, will serve as a special assistant in the research, education and economics division of USDA, succeeding Joani Walsh, who will begin a 30-day detail as USDA acting director of communications.

Walsh replaces Chris Mather, who is leaving today to become communications director for Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel.

Toby Osherson, confidential assistant in the Farm Service Agency, will move to the White House liaison office.