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ISDA welcomes new deputy directorISDA welcomes new deputy director

Hoosier Perspectives: A shift in leadership is announced at the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.

Tom J. Bechman

July 6, 2023

2 Min Read
 Katie Nelson, deputy director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture
NEW DEPUTY DIRECTOR: Katie Nelson is now the deputy director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. She was named after Jordan Seeger resigned to return home to his family business. ISDA

Don Lamb, Lebanon, Ind., became the new director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture in January after Bruce Kettler resigned to take the leadership position at the Agribusiness Council of Indiana. Now, ISDA has a new deputy director too. Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch officially appointed Katie Nelson to the position in mid-June. She takes over for Jordan Seeger, who resigned earlier this year to return home to Jasper, Ind., to his family meat-processing business.

“We are so excited to promote a long-standing public servant like Katie to second-in-command for the Indiana State Department of Agriculture,” says Crouch, who is also secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. “I have worked alongside Katie for over six years now, and she has been a strong advocate for farmers and agriculture in Indiana. I am sure that she will continue to push this industry forward in the coming years. Congratulations, Katie.”

Nelson, Franklin, Ind., began with ISDA in 2017. She was previously director of legislative affairs within the department, a role she has held since 2020. Prior to that she was the program manager of policy and regulatory affairs at ISDA.

Nelson’s past work at ISDA includes evaluating the legislative and regulatory landscape at all levels of government while positioning the department to support the state’s agriculture industry. She also served as executive director of the Indiana Land Resources Council, which was created to assist state and local decision-makers with land-use tools and policies.

In her new role, Nelson will support the director in achieving ISDA’s mission and strategies. Among many responsibilities, she will oversee day-to-day operations, represent ISDA at events, engage with producer organizations and identify opportunities to grow the state’s agriculture sector. She will continue to serve as a liaison among agricultural businesses, state agencies and local units of government.

Longtime servant

Seeger, who returned home to assist in the family business, joined the Division of Soil Conservation within ISDA as a technician in 2011, and moved up quickly into leadership roles. He served as director of soil conservation for several years before being named deputy director of ISDA in 2018.

Jordan Seeger

As head of the Division of Soil Conservation, Seeger played a key role in reaffirming the partnership among ISDA, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and Purdue Extension, forming a cohesive Indiana Conservation Partnership. It remains strong to this day.

One of Seeger’s accomplishments was helping promote the soil health movement within Indiana. He attended as many field days as possible, especially those held on working farms, learning about soil health himself and signaling ISDA’s support for soil conservation at the same time.

Information from an ISDA press release was used to compile this report.

About the Author(s)

Tom J. Bechman

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer, Farm Progress

Tom J. Bechman is editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer. He joined Farm Progress in 1981 as a field editor, first writing stories to help farmers adjust to a difficult harvest after a tough weather year. His goal today is the same — writing stories that help farmers adjust to a changing environment in a profitable manner.

Bechman knows about Indiana agriculture because he grew up on a small dairy farm and worked with young farmers as a vocational agriculture teacher and FFA advisor before joining Farm Progress. He works closely with Purdue University specialists, Indiana Farm Bureau and commodity groups to cover cutting-edge issues affecting farmers. He specializes in writing crop stories with a focus on obtaining the highest and most economical yields possible.

Tom and his wife, Carla, have four children: Allison, Ashley, Daniel and Kayla, plus eight grandchildren. They raise produce for the food pantry and house 4-H animals for the grandkids on their small acreage near Franklin, Ind.

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