Indiana Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann announced on Wednesday that Ted McKinney, head of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, will be taking on a new role as director of Agribusiness development at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. Lt. Governor Ellspermann noted that the agriculture industry already adds $25 billion to Indiana’s economy and directly employs almost 200,000 Hoosiers. She added, “Over the past two years, we have experienced continued growth across the agriculture industry, including significant expansion in the food processing segment. With programs like AgriNovus Indiana, which is our initiative to support food and agriculture innovation, and our new dairy strategy that focuses on increasing processing capacity, we are fully leveraging Ted’s expertise and stature in the world of agriculture to spearhead our efforts to grow Indiana’s agri-business. Furthermore, we have an outstanding team at ISDA which will maintain the highest levels of service and support to Indiana agriculture under his direction.”
McKinney was quick to point out to HAT that he is not leaving ISDA, “I am not walking away from the Department of Agriculture. It is my job and my passion.” He will, however, also now be working with IEDC to develop new business opportunities for agriculture both for farmers and businesses within the state, as well as those from outside of Indiana who want to relocate here. He said Indiana has a lot going for it including low taxes, ideal geographical location, and zoning laws that are favorable for agriculture and agribusiness. McKinney said dairy processing is a top priority, “We have a need for dairy processing. We have not landed anything yet but we are talking to several firms that can turn milk into a variety of products.”
Victor Smith, director of IEDC, explained that Indiana’s competitive business environment with business-friendly tax and regulatory policies is as important to agri-businesses as to any other industry. “These companies will make multi-million dollar investments in our state, either in expansion of current operations or in new facilities, which will be important to Indiana’s economic strength. Ted’s successful career in the agri-business world makes him an ideal representative for recruiting and expanding the presence of those companies in our state. We want to take full advantage of and even enhance the current relationship between the IEDC and ISDA in these efforts,” he stated.
Accepting this added responsibility, Ted McKinney commented, “The agriculture industry has always been a vitally important economic engine for our state, but there are even greater opportunities for growth and expansion. Major players in the agriculture industry have already invested in Indiana, and we know that others are looking here. I am looking forward to closing deals and finding new prospects that will invest in Indiana and create jobs for Hoosiers. This is Indiana’s time for agriculture development, and we want to show the world that Indiana is a State that Works for Agriculture.”
Ted McKinney was appointed Director of the State Department of Agriculture and a member of Governor Pence’s cabinet in January 2014. He is also on the Executive Committee of AgriNovus Indiana. McKinney grew up on a family farm in Tipton County. After graduating with a degree in Agriculture Economics from Purdue University where he was named Outstanding Male Graduate, he began a successful career with Elanco Products, DowElanco, and Dow AgroSciences. Most recently he was Director, Global Corporate Affairs for Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly and Company.