The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced three executive appointments on Thursday.

USDA announced that food policy expert Stacy Dean has been named Assistant Secretary of State for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services (FNCS). Prior to joining the USDA, Dean was vice president of food policy at the Center for Budget and Political Priorities in Washington, DC. She led the center’s nutrition team, which publishes regular reports on how federal nutrition programs are affecting families and communities and develops guidelines to improve them. She joined the center in 1997 and has extensive experience understanding the delivery of health and personal service programs at the state and local levels. Previously, she worked as a budget analyst at the Office of Management and Budget on policy development, regulation and law review, and budget process and execution for a variety of income support programs. Dean received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public policy from the University of Michigan.

USDA also announced that Justin Maxson, CEO of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, has been named Assistant Secretary of State for Rural Development. Maxson was CEO of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, an organization that works to fight poverty and bring about economic justice in the southern states. Prior to that, he was President of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development for 13 years. Maxson holds a master’s degree in anthropology and development from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Kentucky.

USDA also announced that Mae Wu has been appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. Prior to joining USDA, Wu was a Senior Director at the Natural Resource Defense Council, helping direct the organization’s health and nutritional work. She has also worked with the federal government to revise the Total Coliform Rule and has served on the Environmental Protection Agency’s pesticide program dialogue committee and its National Drinking Water Advisory Board. Wu holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Rice University, a master’s degree in environmental policy from the University of Cambridge, and a doctorate in law from Duke University.

“We are honored to include professionals of the caliber Stacy, Justin and Mae on our team – three experts with extensive knowledge, experience and respect from colleagues and colleagues in the fields of nutrition, economic development and food and environmental safety. Your talents will help us end the impact of the pandemic on our economies, address the urgency of hunger and climate change, and keep our food safe, “said Katharine Ferguson, chief of staff in the secretary’s office.