Ted McKinney, one of the best known names in Indiana agriculture, has been named by Governor Pence as the new Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. McKinney has worked in high profile positions with Dow AgroSciences, Elanco Animal Health and was one of the those responsible for bringing the National FFA convention to Indiana. “Ted McKinney is a well-respected industry leader with decades of experience in Hoosier agriculture,” said Pence. “As Indiana strives to grow and be innovative in agriculture, I am confident that Ted’s background, knowledge and passion for the industry will increase Indiana’s competitiveness and serve Hoosiers well.”
Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann first announced the appointment to the AgriInstitute’s Thought Leaders Luncheon on Wednesday, where he received a standing ovation from the gathering of Indiana farm leaders. Ellspermann said McKinney’s experience will serve the Hoosier Ag community well, “Ted’s business experience and life-long passion for agriculture will contribute to the success of Indiana agriculture overall.” McKinney had been approached about the position last December. McKinney said that this time, “Things just came together to make it possible.”
Indiana Farm Bureau President Don Villwock said McKinney was a perfect choice, “Ted brings a vast knowledge of all the ag groups and has worked with many of us, and I think that will be part of the hallmark of his tenure.” McKinney grew up on a family farm in Tipton County where he has continuing interests. After graduating with a degree in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University where he was named Outstanding Male Graduate, he began a successful career with Elanco Products Company, DowElanco, and Dow AgroSciences. Most recently he was Director, Global Corporate Affairs for Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly and Company.
McKinney told HAT his top priority is to have ISDA get the facts out about Indiana agriculture. He said being an advocate means more than just talking to consumers, “Advocacy means making sure people have the facts — a legislator, yes, a policy person, yes, the industry, certainly. We need to reach from farm to fork and everywhere in-between.” He also wants the agency to act as a catalyst to bring the diverse sectors of agriculture together to face some serious challenges, “We have to keep agriculture competitive.” He said most of us in Indiana agriculture are friends, “but we need to get to know each other a lot better.” McKinney stressed, in his remarks at a formal press conference that followed the AgriInstitue’s luncheon, that He wants to use his vast and extensive connections to move Indiana agriculture forward by positioning Indiana as a hub of innovation and agriculture production.
The selection of the AgriInstitute’s event was a perfect place to make the announcement since McKinney has been a strong supporter of the organization and served on its board of directors. In addition, McKinney has served in leadership positions with Indiana FFA, the Indiana 4-H Foundation, and the Purdue Agricultural Alumni Trust Fund. He has also served on the State Fair Commission since 2005 and is Chairman of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity National Convention, scheduled for Indianapolis in late 2014. In the community, Ted has been on the board of directors for the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, WFYI Public Broadcasting, the Leukemia Society, and the Hamilton Southeastern Schools Foundation.
McKinney will assume his responsibilities in January when current Director Gina Sheets leaves to become, along with her husband, a missionary in Liberia.
Listen to the press conference with Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann and new ISDA director Ted McKinney