March 20, 2023

Get to know the new ISDA executive director

Q&A: Don Lamb

INDIANAPOLIS — Don Lamb will start his role as executive director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture with firsthand knowledge of what farmers need.

Lamb is a second-generation farmer in Boone County. His farm responsibilities include crop planning and rotations, input purchasing, agriculture advocacy and field operations.

Ahead of starting his new job, he shared his thoughts with AgriNews.

Q: Tell me about your family farm.

A: I’ve been a part of farm ever since I got out of Purdue with my dad, brother and two nephews near Lebanon. We’re mainly a commodity farm of corn, soybeans and wheat, as well as specialty varieties such as popcorn, waxy corn and seed beans. We have another side business called AgRecycle. We do a lot of composting.

Q: What do you love about farming in Indiana?

A: I love a lot of things about farming in Indiana. One of the best things about farming is the variety of work you get to do. No day is ever the same. For every job that’s a lot of fun, there’s about eight jobs that are less fun. But the variety is what keeps it interesting and fun.

Q: How do you feel about starting your new job at ISDA?

A: I’m excited. I feel like it’s a good time for me, personally. I feel like there’s so much good going on in agriculture in Indiana right now. And there’s a really good team at the state Department of Agriculture. That makes it easy to join something that is already working well. I also feel like there are challenges we’re going to have to face in the next couple of years. I look forward to those, as well.

Q: When you think about the future of ag in Indiana, what would you like that to look like?

A: We have so much potential, with biotechnology and companies like AgriNovus and the focus on the future. Doing more with less. Doing better with conservation. There’s so many opportunities to improve on what’s already a really good system. That’s a big part of it — to keep doing the things we’ve been doing — and doing them really well.

Q: Indiana has so many organizations that work together. How does that effect Indiana’s ag industry?

A: There are so many great organizations. I think about Farm Bureau, which has impacted how I think about farm policy, how it’s done from a grass roots level. I think about AgrIInstitute being a strong advocate for agriculture in the fact that they develop leaders. I’ve been a beneficiary of that program. Farm Bureau and AgrIInstitute are just two great examples of why Indiana has such a strong ag industry.

Q: Any final thoughts?

A: I want to say thank you to Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the governor for putting a farmer in this position. We’ve had great leadership in the past. The system is really good. When there came an opportunity to put somebody new in, they chose a farmer. That shows their commitment to agriculture. I think it shows that, from a grassroots level, ISDA has farmers’ hearts in mind. That says a lot for our state.

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor