With a $149 billion budget under her purview, USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan has a trail of people vying for her attention. Commercial ag interests, small organic farmers and food industry executives all want to sit at her right hand. A decades-long career in policy and research serves her well as she attends to the needs of the behemoth federal ag department. Merrigan comes from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, where she served as the director of the Center on Agriculture, Food and Environment. She also has worked as head of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, consultant to the United Nations and on the staff of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Merrigan is viewed as the moving force behind the development of federal organic standards, and she’s the author of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. In 2010, Time magazine named Merrigan one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World."