Lt. Governor elect Sue Ellspermann outlined her vision for rural Indiana at this week’s Rural Summit. She wants to make living in rural Indiana “cool” again. Ellspermann is no stranger to small town Indiana and wants to make our rural communities places where people want to live and work, “Revitalize, refresh, renew, rebrand, rural Indiana to be the kind of cool places that many of us grew up in.” She told the Rural Summit, taking place in Indianapolis, that rural Indiana can be a dynamic place which can provide education and employment to those who live there and those who may want to live there. In an exclusive interview with HAT, she said the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) will take a leadership role in fostering economic development in rural Indiana and that includes strong support for agriculture.
Ellspermann, who will oversee both OCRA and the State Department of Agriculture, said agriculture is the underpinning of the rural economy, “It is so important that in Indiana we continue to support agriculture of all sizes: small, medium, and large.” She added it is important that state government support the locally grown movements as well as large commercial agriculture. She discussed the Agriculture Innovation Corridor which was a centerpiece of the Pence campaign, “Agriculture is a key industry and we want to support it and help it innovate and thrive in Indiana.” This public/private partnership will bring new tools, new processes, and new hybrids to agriculture.
As for who will be leading the ISDA, Ellsperman was noncommittal, “We are absolutely appreciative of the work that current director Joe Kelsay has done and, we will have lots of conversations about the future of ISDA.” She promised a strong leadership team would be in place by January.[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/11/elspermanwrap.mp3|titles=Ellspermann Outlines Rural Vision for Indiana]
Ellspermann outlined her top agriculture priorities for 2013. That story will be published here on Monday, November, 19.