Marie Wheat is the Director of the Office of External Affairs (OEA) for USDA Rural Development (RD). In this role, she coordinates all public and legislative affairs, as well as communications, messaging, and branding. She oversees RD’s external website www.rd.usda.gov, all social media platforms, printed publications, reports, executive correspondence, multimedia/video production, and internal communications. She works with state directors, administrators, and other senior leaders in Washington, D.C. to ensure effective communication through media training, speech coaching, and other press assistance. She oversees congressional relations for RD, coordinating technical assistance on issues from the Farm Bill to appropriations to housing. Additionally, she ensures congressional testimony, correspondence, and casework is consistent, timely, and accurate.
Ms. Wheat previously served as an Industry Economist for USDA and was responsible for worldwide interactions with regulators, key stakeholders, and industry associations to advance the market for biobased chemicals and consumer products made from agricultural commodities. Before coming to USDA, Ms. Wheat served as Chief Operating Officer for the Peace Corps, overseeing global operations for the world’s largest international volunteer service organization.
She graduated from Clemson University with a degree in Economics and Political Science and serves on the Clemson University Alumni Board of Directors.