Shefali Mehta, PhD


Ex-Officio
Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics
US Department of Agriculture

Dr. Shefali Mehta is the Deputy Under Secretary for the Research, Education, and Economics mission area, which is comprised of the Agricultural Research Service, Economic Research Service, National Agricultural Statistics Service, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Office of the Chief Scientist. Together these organizations cut across every USDA department and have a unique responsibility to advance agricultural research, extension, and education.

As an environmental and agricultural economist and statistician, Mehta comes to USDA from Open Rivers Consulting Associates, a science, technology and management consulting firm she founded and led. In her role as founder and principal, she helped clients intertwine innovation, data and science, compassion, diversity of perspectives and the importance of the environment for overall health into their skills and values.

Over the course of her career, she has worked in roles across private, public and non-profit sectors including McKinsey, Syngenta, the Soil Health Partnership, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, St. Olaf College and the American Cancer Society. She has also served as a board or advisory council member of several organizations: the conservation organization Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever (also served as vice chair of the board, the first woman to hold this position), Bountifield, Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pest Center, the School of Statistics at University of Minnesota, The Gates Scholar Advisory Council and others.

Originally from New England, Mehta received her doctorate in agricultural and applied economics and her master’s degree in statistics from the University of Minnesota, her Master of Philosophy in economics from Cambridge University and her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from New York University.

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