Dairy farmer and free-lance writer
Lorraine Stuart Merrill is a dairy farmer and writer specializing in agriculture, business and the environment. She and her husband John, with their son Nathan and his wife Judy, own and operate a dairy farm on a tidal river in the seacoast region of New Hampshire with a milking herd of 240 registered Holsteins and Brown Swiss. Lorraine writes a column and feature articles for Hoard's Dairyman. She also contributes to Farming: The Journal of Northeast Agriculture, Growing, and Farmland, magazine of the American Farmland Trust. She has contributed chapters to Scribner's Encyclopedia of Food and Culture, The New American Farmer: Profiles in Innovation, and Cross-Grained and Wily Waters: A Guide to the Piscataqua Maritime Region. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Boston Sunday Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Top Producer, Agri-Marketing, and Forest Notes. As a technical writer in the planning and environmental field, Lorraine has written the conservation management plan for the New Hampshire Estuaries Project, and numerous technical bulletins, handbooks and Web sites for community planners, on topics such as preserving rural character, preventing nonpoint source pollution and smart growth. She is frequently invited to speak on a variety of topics related to family farming and agriculture.A founding member of the New Hampshire Coalition for Sustaining Agriculture, Lorraine has served on regional and national committees of the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, and as state committee chair of the USDA Farm Service Agency. She and John received the American Farmland Trust Steward of the Land Award for 2003. Lorraine also has extensive experience in education, as an elementary school teacher earlier in her career, as a local school board member, and more recently completing eight years as a trustee of the University System of New Hampshire.Lorraine was recently appointed and is now serving as Commissioner of Agriculture for the state of New Hampshire.