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Lorraine Merrill

Lorraine Merrill has served as commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food since December 2007. She's a co-owner -- with her husband John, son Nathan and daughter-in-law Judy -- of Stuart Farm, a 270-acre dairy enterprise with 240 milking cows (Holstein and Brown Swiss).  She also writes for agricultural and general-interest publications and is involvement in many civic and professional activities at the local, state and national levels

Following graduation from the University of New Hampshire in 1973, she returned to the family farm and also taught elementary school for seven years. Over the years Stuart Farm has been recognized for its leadership in conservation and environmental management. In 2003, the Merrills were honored by the American Farmland Trust as Stewards of the Land, the organization’s highest honor.

Merrill has served as chair of the USDA Farm Service Agency State Committee for eight years, trustee of the University System of New Hampshire for eight years, founding member of the New Hampshire Coalition for Sustaining Agriculture, director of the New England Dairy and Food Council and member of the New Hampshire Farm Viability Task Force. She has been involved in many other agricultural boards and committees and is a Food and Society Policy Fellow with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Thomas Jefferson Agricultural Institute. She has also served as a local school board member.

Merrill has been a regular contributor since 1983 to Hoard’s Dairyman, the leading dairy farmer trade magazine. She's a field editor, producing features and a column titled "The People Side." Her articles on agriculture, conservation, land use and many other subjects have appeared in newspapers, magazines, encyclopedias, books and on the web.

She's the sixth person to hold the position of commissioner since the department's establishment in 1913.