By DAVE BLOWER JR.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Gov. Mike Pence rounded out his cabinet by promoting from within the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA). Last week, Pence named Gina Sheets as the next ISDA director.
Sheets has spent the past four years as the ISDA’s director of economic development. The ISDA’s top position was among the final spots to fill in Pence’s cabinet.
“During trying times in Indiana, the vitality of Indiana’s agriculture has been this state’s saving grace,” said Pence, explaining the importance of ISDA. He added that there was no timetable for filling this position.
“We are just trying to recruit the best talent we can for Indiana,” Pence said.
Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann supervises the ISDA and was active in the search for the new director. “(ISDA director) is the position in the Lt. Governor’s Office that carried the most discussion,” Ellspermann said. “We wanted to get this right.”
Sheets, who lives on a diversified farm in Clinton County, Ind., believes her experience from the past four years will help her in her new role.
“The governor has said he wants to take the state from good to great,” Sheets said. “I want to add to that for ISDA. I want to take Indiana agriculture from great to greatest.
“We’re excited about the things that we’ve accomplished, and we’re looking forward to carrying those programs forward.”
Sheets is Indiana’s third ISDA director. She replaces Joe Kelsay, who is an dairy farmer in Central Indiana. Andy Miller was Gov. Mitch Daniels first director of the ISDA.