Don Lamb is the new director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture

Photo provided by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture

Second-Generation Farmer Don Lamb is the new director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.

He tells Brownfield he’s looking forward to working with the ISDA team to advocate for the state’s agriculture industry.

“The thing that I’ve learned so far is there is a really good team here (at the Indiana State Department of Agriculture),” he says. “There is a lot of really great work being done in a lot of different areas and right now my first priority is to learn and support what’s currently happening. My main job is going to be to support those who are already here at ISDA doing good work in several different areas. My short-term goal is to empower the people that are already here.”

Lamb is the co-owner and operator of Lamb Farms Inc. in Lebanon with his brother and father. They raise popcorn, corn, soybeans, and wheat. The family also owns AgRecycle, a composting and recycling business, and Lamb Farms Agronomy, providing soil management and crop production products to surrounding farms.

Lamb has worked in the ag industry his entire life and says this is the only position he would take off the farm.

“When my wife and I were young farmers we were on the state young farmer committee with Indiana Farm Bureau, so we started learning about leadership. Around 2000 I was in the Indiana Agricultural Leadership Program by AgrIInstitute and that was really influential on me and motivated me to want to be involved in leadership. I didn’t know exactly how and what that would look like in the future, but if you think about the history of the ISDA, it started in 2005. So, not long after that time it was established as a new department. For me personally I think there was something there that clicked. It was at a time when you’re thinking about leadership and what you might do in the future, and it’s always maybe been in the back of my mind that it would be a role that would be great to have. I never took it seriously until now. The idea that I get the opportunity to do it is exciting and gratifying and I’m humbled to do it.”

He says he’s looking forward to highlighting Indiana’s diverse agricultural sector.

“When I think about the hardwoods industry, all the livestock sectors, and all the agricultural things in a different geographical areas of the state than what I’m used to, part of my learning process is to make sure I really get to know and support those industries,” he says. “(Agriculture) is a huge part of our economy and it’s extremely varied. I’ll be looking to other people within the industry to help me know what I need to know so that I can support them best.”

Lamb succeeds Bruce Kettler, who stepped down from the role in January to become president and CEO of the Agribusiness Council of Indiana. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb appointed Lamb to the position.

“Don is not only a second-generation farmer, but also a successful agribusinessman who understands the significant and leading role the ag industry plays in Indiana,” he said. “In looking for a new executive director for the Indiana Department of Agriculture, it was important to find someone who would be a strong steward of our land and all that it produces. Don truly cares about the Hoosier ag community and securing Indiana’s place as a global leader in the agricultural industry for generations to come.”

Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, the state secretary of agriculture and rural development, says she looks forward to working with Lamb.  

“Indiana is now the 8th-ranked agricultural product producing state in the country, this industry contributes more than $35 billion dollar to our economy,” she said. “Don engrained himself in the agricultural community at an early age, not just focusing on his own operation. He has the leadership skills to not only lead the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, but to the state’s ag industry into the future.”

Lamb credits his brother, nephews, and wife for the ability to take on the new role. He has four daughters and one granddaughter.

Lamb is a member of the Advisory Council for the Indiana Agricultural Law Foundation. He will be stepping down as Vice President of the Boone County Council and policy chair of his local Farm Bureau Board to assume his position with the ISDA. 

He graduated from Purdue University in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics. He was named the Agricultural Professional of the Year in 2014 by the Boone County Chamber of Commerce.

His main priorities are leading ISDA’s 5 divisions, which include, agricultural advocacy, economic development, youth development, and environmental stewardship. 

He will begin the new role on March 13.

Audio: Don Lamb

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  • Looking forward to the innovation and diversification Don will bring to Indiana Agriculture.

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