Secretary of Agriculture Sue Elspermann Wednesday introduced Ted McKinney as the next Director of ISDA. He will assume his duties in January.
Previous director, Gina Sheets, will resign her post on Jan. 3 to pursue personal interests, assisting her husband with mission work in Liberia.
Ellspermann made the announcement at the conclusion of the Indiana Leadership Institute luncheon in downtown Indianapolis. McKinney was a graduate of class four of that leadership program many years ago.
The director-to-be grew up on a hog and crop farm near Kempton in Tipton County. His brother and father still maintain the farm operation, and his father operates a seed dealership. McKinney graduated from Purdue in Ag Economics, and has spent his career working at Dow AgroSciences, and most recently as a global marketing manager for Elanco, based in Greenfield.
McKinney also served on the Indiana State Fair Commission, and played a vital role in bringing both the National FFA Center and the National FFA Convention to Indianapolis.
"It's a great week for Indiana agriculture," Ellspermann said, with McKinney at her side. "We opened a new turkey processing facility for Farbest Foods in Vincennes on Monday, bringing 600 jobs to the area. Then we announced a new BioCrossroads food and nutrition initiative on Tuesday. Today, we follow that with naming Ted to be the next director of ISDA."
For his part, McKinney said he was honored to be asked, and took the job after thinking it over. There were three key reasons why he thinks it's the right role for him at this time in his life and in the history of Indiana agriculture.
"I'm ready to do service in the public service sector," he says. "I always saw myself as someday being a public servant.
"I also know I can only work with people I like and respect. I have great respect for Gov. Mike Pence and Lt. Gov. Ellspermann, and that part of the decision was easy."
Pence actually made the selection, although Ellspermann introduced Kinney to the media and Leadership Institute crowd.
"Finally, agriculture is my passion. I like where we are in Indiana agriculture right now. I want to help put the pieces of the puzzle together so that Indiana can be a global leader in agriculture."