INDIANAPOLIS — When asked what aspect of his new job he is most excited about, Myel Reed is quick to say one word — learning.

Reed recently began his job as the executive assistant to Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Gina Sheets. He replaced Libby Fritz, who held the position for three years.

“We have a lot of great people who have already been here and have paved the way for a new guy like me to come in and learn as much as possible,” Reed said. “I look forward to being an advocate for those in the ag industry.”

Prior to his new job with the ISDA, Reed went to Vincennes University. In 2011, he earned a degree in agricultural business.

Reed said that his college journey is what drove him toward a career in agriculture.

“I didn’t grow up on a farm, so a lot of my experience branched off from Vincennes,” he said. “I had internships and got directly involved. My classes gave me hands-on experience.”

Reed also noted that he was inspired by his pastor and the farm work he did at his pastor’s farm.

“Right before I went to Vincennes, my pastor acquired a farm,” he said. “That’s where I began to learn that I love livestock. I’m passionate about ag, but working with animals and that aspect of agriculture, I really like that.”

Reed held several internships during his time as a student. His first agriculture-related internship was at Dow AgroSciences.

“I worked there for a summer internship, where I learned about corn breeding and plant genetics,” he said. “I also detasseled corn — it was hot out there. That experience is where I found that I really love the scientific side of agriculture.”

From there, Reed went on to work at the Joshua School farm. He experienced many different angles of agriculture, ranging from livestock management to operating tractors.

Reed said he tries to go back and help on the farm as much as possible.

His most recent internship gave him a political perspective on agriculture.

“I did an internship with the House of Representatives,” he said. “That showed me a side of business and government relations and how everybody is involved in agriculture.”

Reed now is looking forward to being involved with ag through the ISDA. He noted that the industry is a huge part of the state’s economy and emphasized that agriculture touches everyone in one way or another.

“Our industry has 103,000 jobs directly related to agriculture,” he said. “On top of that, there are 43,000 more jobs from the people that we get our products from. That’s just an amazing statistic. Ag touches everything.

“I’m looking forward to learning all about the industry and how we all fit in to make Indiana a great state. It’s been a very good journey so far, very informative.

“I’m learning a lot and seeing agriculture from a different perspective. From out in the fields, actually working with animals and livestock, to the office where we advocate for the agricultural industry, it’s a great experience.”