Skip to main content

U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments

WASHINGTON, July 27, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the names of individuals who will hold senior staff positions in Washington, D.C.

Ellen Luger has been appointed Minister Counselor of Agriculture in Rome (Italy) for the Foreign Agricultural Service

Luger joins USDA from the General Mills Foundation, where she served as Vice President of Global Philanthropy and Volunteerism. In that role, Ellen worked with the leadership of General Mills and other international food and non-profit organizations to build partnerships that bring increased food production to villages across Africa and communities in India. Luger is also a long-time board member of the Global Foodbanking Network, an organization that collaborates with organizations to defeat hunger. This experience has provided Ellen with invaluable knowledge of some of the most challenging issues facing the world’s food insecure. Ellen is a graduate of Wellesley College and received her juris doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Marissa Perry has been promoted to Press Secretary in the Office of Communications

Most recently, Perry served as the Speechwriter for Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in the Office of Communications. Prior to her time at USDA, Marissa served as Communications Director to former Montana Governor Steve Bullock. She previously has held communications roles on Bullock’s re-election campaign, in the Montana state legislature, and in the Montana Governor’s Office of Community Service where she worked on food security issues and with national service programs. Marissa grew up in Idaho and is a graduate of the University of Montana.

Farah Ahmad has been promoted to Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development

Most recently, Ahmad served as Chief of Staff in the Office of the Under Secretary for Rural Development. Prior to her recent tenure at USDA, Farah served as the Senior Program Coordinator in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Before her tenure at CFPB, Farah served as the Program Manager on the Community and Economic Development team in the Rural Business Cooperative Service at USDA and Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress. She holds a master’s from Princeton University and a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University.

Luke Theriot has been appointed Chief of Staff for the Agricultural Marketing Service

Theriot joins USDA from the House Agriculture Committee, where he served as Professional Staff to the committee chair. Prior to his time on the House Agriculture Committee, Luke served as a Senior Policy Advisor to Congressman Filemon Vela where his portfolio included managing agriculture, financial, trade, disaster response and coastal related issues. In this role, Theriot played a pivotal role securing funding for projects in the congressman’s district. Luke is a graduate of Louisiana State University where he received his bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness and a master of science degree in Agricultural Economics.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.