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New director of Indiana Ag moving from Beck's Jan. 8

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Bruce Kettler has been named head of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA). He’ll begin his duties on Jan. 8, 2018.

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch made the announcement last Friday. Kettler will replace Interim Director Melissa Rekeweg, who recently succeeded Ted McKinney, confirmed by the U.S. Senate in October to be USDA undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs.

Kettler is director of public relations with Atlanta, Ind.-based Beck’s Hybrids and has been with the company 11 years, said Scott Beck, company president. He’s also served as field sales manager, area team leader and sales consultant for Beck’s. He previously worked for Dow AgroSciences, based in Indianapolis. He has a bachelor of science in agriculture degree from The Ohio State University.

Kettler told Farm World he’s looking forward to helping the state’s agricultural industry prosper. Indiana was recently named the 10th best state for business by Forbes, he noted.

“For businesses in agriculture, if they’re already here, I want to help to find ways for them to grow and expand,” he explained. “If they’re looking to come to Indiana, I want to share the very positive components available in the state. There are all kinds of opportunities to help those businesses grow.”

Kettler said he wants to work to end any hurdles to business expansion in Indiana. “Is there anything the state can do to improve infrastructure? Broadband infrastructure is a concern, especially in rural areas. There are challenges to making (improvement) happen. It would be good for farmers and for the agriculture business.”

Crouch said Kettler will assure that ISDA continues to provide good government service to constituents and partners. “I look forward to seeing what Bruce does in maintaining food and agriculture as a driving force in Indiana’s economy,” she noted. “Agriculture leaders across the state developed the Indiana Agriculture Strategic Plan to take our state to the next level, and I am excited to work with him on bringing inventive ideas to further the plan.”

Kettler’s experience makes him a strong choice for ISDA director, she said. “Bruce has proven over the last few decades that he is committed to the agriculture industry and knows what innovations and strides we can make to keep ensuring Indiana is at the forefront of the field.”

During his tenure at Beck’s, Kettler helped the company connect with various agriculture and other organizations, Beck said to Farm World.

“We think the state of Indiana is getting a great asset in Bruce, and we’ll miss him and his public relations abilities,” he explained. “He has the ability to work with a variety of people and will be a good leader. He steps into a role already at a fast pace and with a lot of contacts.”

Josh Trenary, executive director of Indiana Pork, said his organization is pleased with Kettler’s appointment. “Kettler brings a wealth of experience in agriculture to the department. He is an outstanding leader, and Indiana’s 3,000 pig farmers look forward to working with him to continue to move Indiana to the forefront of the pork industry.”