October 9, 2017
Ted McKinney was recently confirmed to his post as a deputy director with USDA. His role is to promote ag trade in a new position. McKinney heading to Washington, D.C., leaves a hole in leadership for the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. McKinney was previously appointed to that role by then Indiana governor and now Vice President Mike Pence.
Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture, moved quickly to name Melissa Rekeweg as interim director of ISDA. Rekeweg has served as deputy director of ISDA since 2014, working directly with McKinney.
Originally from a Carroll County, Ind., farm, Rekeweg graduated from Purdue University and has a strong background in business and education. She and her husband, Matt, reside near Zionsville.
ISDA was established in 2005 under the leadership of Gov. Mitch Daniels and Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman. At the time, Indiana was one of only a handful of states that did not have a state department of agriculture. In most states, the state department of agriculture is the regulatory branch, responsible for functions like regulating pesticides and feed. Since those functions were already being handled through the Office of the Indiana State Chemist at Purdue, Indiana’s ag department took on more advocacy responsibilities for agriculture, helping to promote livestock production and many other agricultural expansions throughout the state.
Today ISDA also houses the Division of Soil Conservation and the Indiana FFA Association. Those groups have specific responsibilities for conservation and leadership development in agriculture, respectively.
No plans were announced about how or when a permanent ISDA director would be selected and named.
ISDA helped craft a strategic plan last year, and Rekeweg, now acting director, was heavily involved in the process.
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