Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan is visiting Virginia to meet with farmers and giving a presentation at the University of Virginia.
Merrigan is expected highlight job creation and economic opportunity associated with local and regional production. This is part of the USDA's efforts to grow local farms and connect them with government officials and consumers.
Merrigan is scheduled to visit AgriBerry Farm in Mechanicsville on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. where she will tour the berry fields and newly constructed processing center.
She will deliver a college tour presentation at 5:00 p.m. at Garrett Hall at UVA.
Merrigan is also set to visit Maple Hill Farm in Scottsville Friday morning. She will spend some time checking out the Local Food Hub's education farm and discuss USDA assistance given to the farm to conduct a high tunnel pilot project and producer workshops.
In 2009, the department launched "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" initiative to strengthen those connections. It also leads a national conversation about food and agriculture to stimulate economic opportunities and development for ranchers and farmers and encourages local communities to support local and regional foods.
To learn more about the USDA initiative, click here.