WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has appointed Ann Wright as Deputy Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at USDA.

"Ann has a strong background in trade and she will be a vocal advocate for expanding agriculture markets abroad," Vilsack said. "Her knowledge and understanding of both domestic and international issues will help set a course for future growth in agricultural exports."

Wright most recently served as Senior Policy Advisor to Majority Leader Harry Reid on issues before the Senate Agriculture Committee. Prior to joining the staff of Senator Reid, she was a policy analyst for Consumers Union on energy and trade issues and worked with farmers and non-profit organizations at the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition in Washington, DC.

Wright previously served as a policy advisor on agriculture issues for Senator Paul Simon of Illinois and Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota. She is from central Illinois and earned her Bachelors Degree in Political Science from Illinois State University.

Marketing and Regulatory Programs facilitates domestic and international marketing of U.S. agricultural products and ensures the health and care of animals and plants. The agency also actively participates in setting national and international standards.