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Don Lamb appointed director of ISDA

The Indiana State Department of Agriculture gets a new leader.

Tom J. Bechman, Midwest Crops Editor

March 1, 2023

3 Min Read
Don Lamb appointed as director of Indiana State Department of Agriculture
LEADING ISDA: Don Lamb, a farmer and businessman from Lebanon, Ind., took the reins at the Indiana State Department of Agriculture on March 1. ISDA

The Indiana State Department of Agriculture now has a farmer and businessman at the helm. Gov. Eric Holcomb appointed Don Lamb of Lebanon as the next director. He takes over from Bruce Kettler. Lamb will also serve as director of agribusiness development for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

Lamb farms with his brother and nephews in Boone County. In addition, he and his family own AgRecycle, a composting business. They also operate Lamb Farms Agronomy.

He is no stranger to leadership roles. Lamb currently serves on the advisory council for the Indiana Ag Law Foundation. Previously, he was vice president of the Boone County Council, served on the Western Boone school board and was a member of the Purdue Dean of Agriculture advisory council. He also served as a policy committee member for Boone County Farm Bureau and was on the Recycling and Market Development Board for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Lamb and wife, Jodie, have four daughters and one granddaughter. He has traveled extensively doing agricultural mission work, and his family started Agristewards in 2012, a nonprofit teaching farming practices to subsistence farmers in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Central America.

Meet Don Lamb

Here is a short interview with Lamb, conducted on March 1.

IPF: Can you tell us more about yourself?

Lamb: My dad, Bob, was a first-generation farmer, and I’ve grown up in farming. Today, I farm with my brother, Dean, and nephews Alex and Adam. We raise corn, soybeans and wheat, and are heavy in growing for specialty markets. Our primary business, AgRecycle, started when we began composting manure from Perdue poultry farms in the mid-90s. The business has grown over time.

I’m a farmer at heart, and I’m going from my office three-quarters of a mile down the road to traveling to Indianapolis and wearing a coat and tie. I’m thankful Dean and my wife, Jodie, will keep things going so I can take this position. I also want to thank Gov. Holcomb and Lt. Gov. [Suzanne] Crouch for having faith in me.

IPF: As you view it, what does director of ISDA involve?

Lamb: A big part of it is being an advocate for agriculture. That comes natural to me because I have been advocating for agriculture all my life. Whether it’s working with FFA or promoting soil and water conservation and stewardship, promoting agriculture and the opportunities it offers will be important.

IPF: What makes you qualified for this role?

Lamb: I believe it helps that I am a farmer. The directors before me have done an excellent job, and the staff here and ongoing programs are strong. I am blessed to come in and work with vibrant, highly talented people. Since I am a farmer, I am really working for myself as well as all other farmers. I will bring that perspective of having boots on the ground in agriculture.

IPF: What challenges do you foresee for ISDA?

Lamb: Economic development needs to keep moving forward, and we need to make sure everyone realizes agriculture should be an important part of economic development in Indiana. We need to marry these two ideas together, and I believe we can.

Second, soil conservation, water quality and carbon sequestration are all topics related to the environment that will continue to grow in importance. ISDA has roles to play here now and in the future.

About the Author(s)

Tom J. Bechman

Midwest Crops Editor, Farm Progress

Tom J. Bechman became the Midwest Crops editor at Farm Progress in 2024 after serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer for 23 years. 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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