Former Gov. Mitch Daniels' Newsroom

Contact: Jane Jankowski
Phone: 317-232-1622

For Immediate Release: Apr 25, 2005
Governor Daniels signs bill creating Department of Agriculture
INDIANAPOLIS (April 25, 2005) - For the first time, Indiana has a Department of Agriculture

INDIANAPOLIS (April 25, 2005) - For the first time, Indiana has a Department of Agriculture. Governor Mitch Daniels signed HEA 1008 today, creating the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) and separate Office of Rural Affairs, key components in the governor’s initiatives to stimulate economic development.


“Our agriculture department is the vehicle to comeback for Hoosiers in this important sector of our economy. There’s so much more that we can do to develop the untapped potential we have in Indiana agriculture, such as expanding production of bio-based fuels and food processing facilities,” said the governor.


Until now, Indiana has been one of four states without a stand alone Department of Agriculture. Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman will hold the position of Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and Andy Miller has been named as the department’s first director, a cabinet level position. Both joined the governor for the bill signing, with Representative Eric Gutwein, R-Rensselaer, the bill’s author, and Senator Robert Jackman, R-Milroy, the Senate sponsor, as well as a number of representatives of the agriculture community.


“This is more than a name change. It marks a new day for Indiana agriculture,” said Skillman. “Agriculture is an important piece of our state’s heritage and culture. Today we are saying that it needs to have a prominent role in Indiana’s economy and future.”


Skillman and Miller will outline the strategic plan for the Department of Agriculture next month. At its core will be an economic development hub that will enable the department to maximize growth. Currently, commodity production contributes $5.2 billion annually to the state domestic product, and more than 43,000 people earn their living on Indiana farms.


This legislation allows our new agency to be an advocate for Indiana’s farmers and the state’s agriculture industry,” said Miller. “My goal is to work with Governor Daniels and Lt. Governor Skillman to reposition Indiana as a global leader in agriculture.”


HEA 1008 also creates the Office of Rural Affairs. This agency, which will absorb other state government functions focused on rural issues, will be dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Indiana’s smaller cities, towns and rural communities.




Media contact:  Jane Jankowski, Office of the Governor, 317/232-1622,