INDIANAPOLIS — During his first month as the new director of
the Indiana Department of Agriculture, Ted McKinney has hit the ground
At the recent Indiana Pork annual meeting, McKinney
addressed pork producers and leaders about his plans for agriculture and the
pork industry in Indiana.
He said he took the job as director because he grew up with
farming and feels now is the time to repay that history.
Now is a unique time in Indiana history, McKinney said,
adding that the Hoosier state is viewed by others as one that can do business
and get things done.
One of those areas where Indiana shines is in water quality
and soil conservation.
There is a window of limited time to get issues concerning
water quality right before what is happening on the coast and Chesapeake Bay, he
stressed, catches up with Indiana agriculture.
Another bright spot of the agriculture industry in the
state, McKinney said, is its youth organizations.
“Some states’ 4-H is not on an increase, but on a decline,”
he said, adding that 4-H in Indiana is growing steadily.
Also setting record membership numbers is the Indiana FFA
whose biggest limitation, the director said, is that there aren’t enough
McKinney said that in the 2014-2015 school year there will
be 30 agriculture teacher openings throughout the state and only enough
agriculture education majors graduating from Purdue to fill 10 spots.
The best way to lead the state’s agriculture industry, he
said, is to take a common-sense approach and give a voice to the state
Whether it helps or hinders, McKinney said, he is going to
introduce his colleagues, including the Department of Natural Resources and the
Indiana Department of Environmental Management, to the Indiana agriculture