Deborah Atwood joined Meridian Institute in January 2011 and serves as Executive Director of Meridian’s AGree: Transforming Food and Ag Policy. Atwood has more than 30 years of experience in policy and legislative matters regarding food, agriculture, the environment, research, and risk management, including extensive experience working with executives in the private sector, federal government, and nonprofit organizations.
Prior to joining Meridian, Atwood was an Associate for Corporate Affairs and Public Policy at Mars, Incorporated. In this role, she worked closely with lawmakers in Congress and senior officials in the White House, and federal agencies. Previously, she was a Senior Policy Advisor with Crowell & Moring, on behalf of clients in the agricultural, food, environmental, mining, and chemical industries. She served from 2001 to 2003 as a Special Assistant to U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Jim Moseley. From 1995 until 1999 she was Assistant Vice President of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for the National Pork Producers Council, and from 1992 until 1995 served as Vice President for Legislative and Regulatory Affairs at the American Meat Institute. Atwood served from 1989 to 1992 as Deputy Associate Administrator for Congressional and Legislative Affairs at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). She served as head of the Congressional Affairs Office at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration prior to taking the EPA position. Atwood also has U.S. Capitol experience: From 1981 to 1984, she was Professional Staff for the U.S. House of Representatives’ Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee and from 1984 to 1987 was Professional Staff for U.S. Senator Slade Gorton (Wash.).
Atwood serves on the board of ACDI-VOCA, an agriculture development nonprofit organization with many years of experience working in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. She is a marine resource scientist by training.