Indiana Farm Leaders In Running To Be Trump's Agriculture Chief

Nov 22, 2016

There are at least four Indiana names rumored to be on President-Elect Donald Trump’s short list for Secretary of Agriculture.

Most of the Hoosier prospects to run the U.S. Department of Agriculture were on the Trump campaign’s agricultural advisory team.

Those prospects include Indiana State Agriculture Secretary Ted McKinney, seed corn farmer and former Congressional hopeful Kip Tom and Fair Oaks Farms CEO Mike McCloskey.

Also rumored to be on the list is former Indiana Farm Bureau President Don Villwock.

Farm Bureau public policy director Katrina Hall couldn’t confirm anyone’s place on the list. But she says she’s hopeful Vice President-Elect Mike Pence will get Indiana farmers a seat at the table.

“It definitely would make sure that Midwest interests were represented, and ours are somewhat unique,” Hall says.

That’s because of Indiana’s emphasis on large-scale grain farming. Under President Obama, the USDA broadened its view from just traditional commodities to urban farming, organics and more. Hall agrees diversification is important, but challenging.

“It would take a lot to replace the reliance that especially Indiana’s farm economy has on corn and soybeans,” she says.

Trump has about two more months to make appointments before being sworn in.