Ted McKinney

Indiana’s top agricultural official will become the nation’s first undersecretary for foreign agricultural trade.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Ted McKinney to the newly-created Department of Agriculture post Tuesday.

In a statement, USDA secretary Sonny Perdue says McKinney will “wake up every morning seeking to sell more American agricultural products in foreign markets.”

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue wrapped up a Midwest road trip at the Indiana State Fair Tuesday.

Perdue met in private with state lawmakers about their goals for the 2018 Farm Bill reauthorization.

That’s the $800 billion package of laws governing the nation’s agricultural and nutritional assistance programs.

Indiana’s top agriculture official has been tapped to oversee global farm trade for the Trump administration.

Indiana Department of Agriculture director Ted McKinney now faces a Senate confirmation to become the USDA’s first-ever trade undersecretary.

He says he’s grateful for the support he’s received since getting the news.

“I am so honored to be nominated by the president, and I look forward to serving if confirmed,” McKinney says.

 

Generations of farmers, agronomists, lawmakers and other alumni of Purdue’s College of Agriculture met for their annual Fish Fry, amid a lot of political and economic uncertainty for the farm industry.

That fact wasn’t lost on the hundreds of Purdue agriculture alumni who flocked to the Indiana State Fairgrounds Saturday.

Most of them rely on farm exports to Mexico, China and other countries where President Donald Trump has pledged to reform trade deals. And Indiana Agriculture Secretary Ted McKinney says it’s on people’s minds.

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.

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A new milk bottling plant outside Fort Wayne will be among the largest in the nation, and the state is hoping it's just the beginning of much-needed growth for Indiana's dairy industry.

The state made dairy processing a priority almost exactly a year ago. The goal? Use more of the milk that’s produced, and increase its value before it's shipped away. A first step -- the 250 thousand-square-foot Walmart plant, announced last week and set to open in 2017.

Officials aren't saying yet just how much raw milk it'll turn into bottles of white and chocolate.

Indiana Grown

More than 200 producers have signed up to become members of the new Indiana Grown program, and Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann notes they span all of Indiana agriculture – everything from hardwood to poultry, produce to bath and body products. 

State Department of Agriculture Director Ted McKinney says Indiana Grown encompasses all aspects of the food chain.

“It’s the retailers that have been pressing, pressing, pressing for this and I hope we’ve delivered a good product.  Same with restaurants,” McKinney says.

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Indiana Agriculture Commissioner Ted McKinney predicts a recent egg price spike will also raise the cost of products that use liquid eggs, like salad dressings or breakfast sandwiches. He says the flu epidemic is not the only reason prices have gone up, but it’s certainly played a role.

He hopes the flu outbreak will raise awareness about the importance of keeping food supplies secure and livestock safe from contamination.

"Keeping one’s birds contained, isolated, looked after, is probably the biggest thing," McKinney says.

Corey Templeton / https://www.flickr.com/photos/coreytempleton/

The creation of food hubs, which connect local producers and buyers, could help boost Indiana’s economy and fulfill demand for local food products, according to an Indiana State Department of Agriculture a study released Monday.

Food hubs can be a broad term, but Agriculture Department Director Ted McKinney says people should think of the word “aggregation.”

It’s a way for farmers and food producers, often via a website, to connect with buyers.

State Dairy Plan Calls For More Processing

Mar 16, 2015
Judy Baxter / https://www.flickr.com/photos/judybaxter/

Indiana is shifting gears when it comes to dairy.

Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann announced a new "dairy strategy" for the state dairy industry today.

Indiana Department of Agriculture Director Ted McKinney says Indiana produces and ships four million pounds of milk out-of-state on a daily basis.

He says the state‘s status as "Crossroads of America" positions Indiana to be an even greater presence in the dairy industry.

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