Ellspermann is the Republican candidate for Indiana Lt. Governor, running with Mike
Pence, candidate for governor. If elected, Ellspermann would be Indiana's Secretary of
IPF sat down with Representative Ellspermann and the Democratic candidate, Senator Vi Simpson, to ask them similar questions about Indiana agriculture. This is part of our series interviewing the two ladies vying for the position, which includes the title of Secretary of Agriculture. Look for the rest of the series today and tomorrow on the Indiana Prairie Farmer website.
Ellspermann represents District 74 in the House, covering parts of Dubois, Spencer, Warrick and Perry Counties. She served one term in the House. Previously, she spent 20 years helping groups complete strategic planning. Her career includes stints doing projects for the University of Southern Indiana and the Lt. Governor's office. She is trained as an industrial engineer.
is the first portion of our exclusive interview. (See Simpson's interview here.)
IPF: How important do you view being secretary of agriculture as well as lt. governor in your list of responsibilities?
ELLSPERMANN: Agriculture and rural development would be my two top priorities. You almost can't separate one from the other. They are the underpinnings of our economy.
IPF: How important is agriculture to the overall state economy? Is there room for economic growth due to agriculture?
ELLSPERMANN: Agriculture is a $25 billion industry in Indiana, with about 20% of the jobs connected to agriculture. Agriculture is very important. It produces the food, fuel, feed and fiber we need, and helps support the world.
IPF: How would you rate the value and performance of the new Indiana State Department of Agriculture so far?
ELLSPERMANN: I believe ISDA got off to a good start. It hit the track running. Indiana has reaped about $4 billion in investment over time from some of the things ISDA started. These include overseas mission trips. Like any new agency, I'm sure there are ways to strengthen it.