Dr. Melissa Bailey is Associate Deputy Administrator of the Fruit and Vegetable Program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). As Associate Deputy Administrator, Melissa is responsible for delivering services that enable U.S. agricultural producers and handlers to market perishable produce and other specialty crops in the most efficient manner possible. Prior to this role, Melissa served for over four years as the Director for the Standards Division of the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP). At NOP, Melissa implemented changes to the USDA organic regulations and worked with diverse stakeholders through a federal advisory committee.
Melissa’s past experience includes three years as a senior analyst on "ag-to-energy" projects and specialty crop issues for an agribusiness management consulting firm, four years as assistant director for an international environmental policy center, service as vice-chair for a town agricultural commission, and multiple contract positions for sustainable agriculture projects.
She holds a B.S. in Biology from Northeastern University, a M.S. in Public Policy from Tufts University’s School of Veterinary Medicine, and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Policy from Tufts University’s School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Her dissertation research explored livestock production systems and water quality policies and funding trends of USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). During the course of her PhD work, Melissa was a "Water and Health" doctoral trainee fellow through the National Institute of Health (NIH), a recipient of the Dow Sustainability Innovation Challenge Award and received a certificate from an interdisciplinary program at Tufts in Water: Systems, Science and Society (WSSS). Melissa also initiated Tufts’ farm-to-college program and served as a researcher on a USDA-funded project that assessed the U.S. and international organic and non-organic animal health and welfare standards and the availability of science to inform standards development.