On Thursday, it was confirmed by Governor-elect Mike Pence that Joe Kelsay will not be asked to stay on as director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. In an exclusive interview with HAT, Kelsay said his experience of heading the ISDA has given him a broader vision of Indiana agriculture — what it is and what its potential will be. The Johnson County dairy farmer had high praise for the work of his agency and for the Daniels/Skillman administration, “It has been an experience that has been very rewarding for me. It has been such a pleasure to work with our ag partners around the state, and especially the people here at ISDA who have such a commitment to agricultu
Kelsay has made advocacy a top priority of ISDA, and he feels they have moved the needle in raising awareness about the contribution of agriculture to the state, “While I realize there is still much to do, I do think there is today a real understanding of the role of agriculture in our state.” Kelsay added that more and more farmers understand today how important it is for them to communicate their message to the public. He cited a number of ISDA programs over the past 3 years that have contributed to better understanding by consumers and better communication by producers. He also cited the moving of the FFA office from the Department of Education to ISDA as a real accomplishment of which he is proud.
As for what is next for Joe Kelsay, he plans first of all to return to his family farming operation, “That is if my dad and brother will let me come back.” He said his future plans are uncertain, but he wants to continue to work in agriculture, “This industry has given me so much opportunity and helped make me into the person I am today.” Kelsay was tapped by Lt. Governor Skillman three years ago to head ISDA when then director Anne Hazlett resigned to return to Washington to assume a position with the Senate Agriculture committee.
Governor-elect Pence has made a number of cabinet and senior staff announcements this week, but has not named a new Director of Agriculture. Several more appointments are scheduled to be announced this week, but it unclear if the ISDA position will be among them. In a recent interview with HAT, Lt. Governor-elect Sue Ellspermann praised the work of Kelsay and ISDA, but indicated there were some new areas on which she would like the department to focus. While not specific, she did indicate economic development would be a strong area of focus.[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/12/kelsay-final.mp3|titles=Kelsay will Not Continue as ISDA Director]
Listen to a complete interview with outgoing ISDA director Joe Kelsay.[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/12/Joe-Kelsay-final-interview.mp3|titles=Joe Kelsay final interview]