Ted McKinney announces his new role as Indiana State Department of Agriculture director. McKinney said that he believes in Indiana agriculture, and he especially looks forward to being involved with 4-H and FFA on a statewide level.
Ted McKinney announces his new role as Indiana State Department of Agriculture director. McKinney said that he believes in Indiana agriculture, and he especially looks forward to being involved with 4-H and FFA on a statewide level.
INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Mike Pence announced that Ted McKinney, currently the director of global and corporate affairs at Elanco, will replace Gina Sheets as director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, effective Jan. 7.

Sheets resigned from the position in order to pursue missionary and agricultural work with her husband in Liberia.

McKinney appeared elated to begin his new career in public service. He said there are three reasons why now is the right time for him to serve.

“First of all, it’s my love of history and my desire at some point in time to be in public service,” he said. “I’ve been able to do that in an informal capacity with groups like 4-H, AgrIInstitute and FFA, but it seems like it’s time ... to step in and do that public service.”

The second reason, McKinney said, is that he respects the current government leaders and would like to work alongside them.

“The third reason is where we are in Indiana agriculture,” he noted. “I love agriculture. It is my passion. I wake up with a click in my heels because of this world of agriculture and the opportunity to feed people.”

McKinney got his start in agriculture on his family farm in Tipton County. His path continued at Purdue University, where he graduated with a degree in agricultural economics.

As a student, he served as Purdue’s famous mascot, Purdue Pete, at the same time that Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann was in marching band.

“Ted’s credentials for and love of agriculture are truly unbounded,” Ellspermann said. “Governor Pence and I could not have found a stronger agricultural leader, and we greatly appreciate Ted’s willingness to serve the state of Indiana in this new capacity.”

McKinney has experienced Indiana agriculture at a local level, as president of his family farm and leader at several Indiana agribusinesses, and at a global level.

He emphasized the importance of technology in producing enough food to feed the growing population.

“In these past few years, I’ve had a chance to do a lot of global traveling,” he said. “So I see Indiana not just as Indiana, which is great, but Indiana in perspective with what’s going on in China ... with Europe. We are so poised to break out in so many ways here in Indiana agriculture.”

McKinney played a large role in bringing the National FFA Conference to Indianapolis and in developing the National FFA Center. He looks forward to leading FFA while serving as ISDA director.

“I’m doubly pleased that youth development and FFA is a part (of my job),” he said. “I will not lose, at all, my passion for 4-H. It’s where I got my start. I’ll not lose my support for AgrIInstitute, who hosted this wonderful event. But to have FFA be there and to help take it to new heights, I think is something that will last in our legacy for my kids and my grandkids.”