IN Brief

Lebanon farmer to be state’s new ag chief

By: - March 1, 2023 1:45 pm

Incoming state agriculture chief Don Lamb. (Courtesy Gov. Eric Holcomb Flickr)

A second-generation farmer from Lebanon, Don Lamb, will be the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s next executive director, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Wednesday. He hails from the the site of a proposed innovation district that has some farmers worried.

“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,” Holcomb said in a news release.

“I have worked in the agriculture industry for my whole life and this is the only job I would take off the farm,” Lamb said. “I am excited to work with the great team at ISDA and to become an even better advocate for this industry I love.”

Lamb co-owns and operates Lamb Farms — a corn, popcorn, soybean and wheat producer — with his brother and father.

The family also owns a composting-recycling firm and a soil management business. The brothers additionally lead a Christian missionary-infused nonprofit teaching farming techniques abroad.

Lamb himself is an Indiana Agricultural Law Foundation advisory council member. He’s also vice president on the Boone County Council and a policy for his local Farm Bureau board, but said he’d step down from the roles to take on his new position.

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, agriculture and rural development secretary, said Lamb “has the leadership skills” to lead both the department and the state’s entire agricultural industry “into the future.”

The farmer is set to start his new job on March 13.

Boone is also the same county in which the state hopes to build a massive, and sometimes controversial, innovation district. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation has continued to snap up property there, but some landowners fear the project will swallow up the region’s farmland.

Indiana exported more than $6.6 billion worth of agricultural goods in 2021, making it the country’s eighth-largest exporter according to ISDA‘s website. The industry more broadly adds an estimated $35.1 billion to the state’s economy.

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Leslie Bonilla Muñiz
Leslie Bonilla Muñiz

Leslie covers state government for the Indiana Capital Chronicle with emphases on elections, infrastructure and transportation. She previously covered city-county government for the Indianapolis Business Journal. She has also reported on local, national and international news for the Chicago Tribune, Voice of America and more. She holds an undergraduate degree in journalism from Northwestern University.