U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Maine State Director Rhiannon Hampson has recently added two members to her staff. Leigh Hallett is the Public Information Officer, joining the State Director’s Communications team in mid-July. Community Outreach Coordinator, Morgan Hotham, accepted her newly created position in February. Both will be working out of the State Office in Bangor, where the directors of many of Rural Development’s programs also serve.
The work of USDA Rural Development is woven into the fabric of towns and cities across the state. Projects include funding affordable housing for Maine families, helping businesses access renewable energy and innovative technology, and investing in community facilities like schools, fire departments, hospitals, and libraries. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring all rural residents have equitable access to these vital opportunities, making communication increasingly important.
“With the addition of these two team members it is my hope that no one, in even the most rural pockets of Maine, will feel left behind during such a time of opportunity,” said State Director Hampson. “We intend to reach each and every Maine community and to expand our availability for thought partnership and program delivery.”
Hallett joins USDA RD with experience in the Maine agriculture sector. Formerly director of the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets, she later became Director of Agricultural Resource Development for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. In these roles, she worked directly with farmers and food producers to provide technical assistance, grant opportunities, and marketing support. Earlier in her career, she also worked in education and with libraries and museums, and this community-based experience will continue to inform her work with RD.
Hotham has been with the agency for three years, and prior to starting her new role as Community Outreach Coordinator, was the State Housing Specialist for the Single-Family Housing Direct program. She has more than 10 years of experience in employee and community engagement, networking and outreach, and event planning. She is passionate about helping people and connecting them to the resources they need most and is committed to making a positive impact on rural communities.
With increased capacity, the Communications team will collaborate closely to help more people access USDA resources. They regularly provide information, share announcements with the press, participate in events, and post updates and resources to social media (Twitter). All media inquiries, interview and statement requests, and requests for program information should be directed to Public Information Officer Leigh Hallett. Requests for attendance, speaking engagements, event participation, and other stakeholder engagement opportunities should be directed to Community Outreach Coordinator Morgan Hotham.