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    USDA Names Former FMI Exec as Undersecretary

    WASHINGTON - Kate Coler, a former lobbyist for the Food Marketing Institute, has been named deputy undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services.

    WASHINGTON - Kate Coler, a former lobbyist for the Food Marketing Institute, has been named deputy undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services.

    As deputy undersecretary, Coler will set policy direction for the nation's food assistance programs, as well as nutrition policy and promotion. Before coming to USDA, Coler was director of government relations for FMI, where she was responsible for developing and implementing legislative strategy for the trade association's interests in agriculture issues, nutrition programs and foreign trade.

    "Kate Coler brings a wealth of knowledge to the office of the under secretary," agriculture secretary Ann Veneman said. "Her experience in food and nutrition issues and programs will be a valuable asset to USDA."

    Coler previously served as the deputy administrator for the Food Stamp Program, where she was responsible for successfully implementing provisions in the 2002 Farm Bill that expanded eligibility for the Food Stamp Program, developing comprehensive outreach initiatives to inform eligible people about the program and oversight of the final conversion from paper-based coupons to electronic benefit transfer (EBT).

    "Kate's efforts to fully implement EBT and ensure that expansion of eligibility requirements were successfully implemented and publicized, have transformed the Food Stamp Program for the better," said Eric Bost, under secretary for food, nutrition and consumer services.

    Coler's previous experience also includes serving as the federal legislative representative for the American Bankers Association and a legislative director for Congressman Tom Latham (R-Iowa).

    A native of Minnesota, Coler received a bachelor's degree in political science and business administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She assumed her new duties on Monday.

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