News Release

Release No. 0104.09

Contact:Jean Daniel (703) 305-2281


WASHINGTON, April 10, 2009—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the appointment of Janey Thornton as Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services (FNCS).

In this position, Dr. Thornton will provide policy direction for the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP). FNS administers the nation's food assistance programs. The CNPP develops and promotes dietary guidance that links scientific research to the nutrition needs of consumers.

The FNCS mission area has an annual budget that represents about two-thirds of USDA's total budget of more than $120 billion.

The work of FNS is built on the belief that no one should go hungry in America. The agency helps one in five people by providing children and those most in need access to food, a healthful diet, and nutrition education. The CNPP's programs, including those to reduce obesity, are aimed at improving the health of all Americans.

"Dr. Thornton has an outstanding, hands-on background in childhood nutrition. She is a leader in this area and experienced in public policy and legislation," said Vilsack. "President Obama has made the health and welfare of America's children, and their access to nutritious food, one of USDA's key goals. I look forward to working with Dr. Thornton as we tackle challenges of childhood obesity, childhood hunger, and school-focused nutrition."

Thornton was School Nutrition Director for Hardin County Schools in Elizabethtown, Ky., for over 25 years. During this time the district doubled in size to more than 15,000 students.

"Dr. Thornton transformed the Hardin County school food service program during her tenure as nutrition director," said Vilsack. "She brings broad understanding of nutrition assistance and a history of innovative stewardship in school foodservice programs to this position."

Thornton was President of the 55,000-member School Nutrition Association (SNA) during the 2006-2007 school year. She also served as President of the School Nutrition Foundation and was an active member of the Global Child Nutrition Foundation. She has held leadership roles in the Kentucky School Nutrition Association and was Chairwoman of the SNA Public Policy and Legislative Committee.

A native of Kentucky, Thornton has a B.S. in home economics from Western Kentucky University and an M.S. in vocational education and school administration from the University of Kentucky. She received her Ph.D. in hotel and restaurant management from Iowa State University in 2007. 

Contact: Jean Daniel (703) 305-2281
Terms: HES