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U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments

WASHINGTON, February 8, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the names of individuals who will hold senior staff positions in Washington, D.C.

Cathy Cochran has been appointed Director of the Office of Communications

Cochran previously served as Press Secretary at USDA during the Obama-Biden Administration, and she also held roles in the public affairs office of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. Most recently, Cochran was a Senior Vice President on Teneo’s Strategy & Communications team, based in Washington, DC. Prior to that, she spent five years at the Glover Park Group (now FGS Global), helping to lead the firm’s food and agriculture practice. Cochran holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Sewanee.

Mia Mayberry has been promoted to Chief of Staff to the Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs

Mayberry has served at USDA since July 2021, starting as Deputy Director of External and Intergovernmental Affairs and, most recently, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration. Before joining the Department, she held roles with U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar as Director of Outreach and Deputy National Political Director for her presidential campaign. Before that, Mayberry was the Iowa Deputy Political Director for Vice President Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign, Vice Chairwoman and County Supervisor for the Rock Island County Board, and she worked as an attorney, practicing employment law. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University and a Juris Doctor from Valparaiso University School of Law. Mayberry is also a proud native of Rock Island, Illinois.

Michele Altemus has been appointed Senior Advisor for External Communications with the Natural Resources Conservation Service

Altemus comes to USDA from Jacobson Strategic Communications in Philadelphia, PA, where she has served as a Senior Communications Consultant since March 2018. She previously served in the Obama-Biden Administration for four years as a Senior Advisor at USDA and as the Chief of Staff at the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement at the Department of the Interior. Previously, Altemus represented PA Governor Rendell’s Washington, DC office for six years on environmental and agricultural issues. She served in the Clinton Administration for eight years in several senior positions including at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the White House Women’s Office, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of the Interior. Altemus holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism/Public Relations from the University of Southern California and a Juris Doctor from The American University, Washington College of Law.


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