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3/6/2017 - Indiana State Department of Agriculture fills key positions - Click here to print this information

INDIANAPOLIS (March 6, 2017) The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) announced today the hiring of three new employees to fill key positions, including a Hoosier Homestead Award Program Manager, Deputy Communications Director and Field Auditor.

Above all, our mission is to grow Indiana agriculture and serve as a resource for the industry, said Ted McKinney, ISDA Director. "By filling these positions, we will be able to carry out our mission more effectively and continue to move agriculture forward in Indiana."

Linda Forler, Hoosier Homestead Award Program Manager

As the Hoosier Homestead Award Program Manager, Forler will oversee all portions of the program, which was created to honor Indiana's longstanding farming families. She will be responsible for processing the applications, communicating with applicants and planning award ceremonies twice a year, among other duties.

Forler joins ISDA with 20 years of corporate and non-profit communications, marketing and planning experience. She began her career in corporate communication with OneAmerica and later moved into sales at National Insurance Services. Forler currently works in various leadership roles with several non-profit organizations, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Zionsville Presbyterian Church. She graduated from Purdue University with a bachelors degree in Advertising and Public Relations and lives in Zionsville, Ind.

Ian Connor, Deputy Communications Director

As Deputy Communications Director, Connor will assist the Communications Director with promoting the agencys mission (to support growth in Indiana agriculture) through various communications channels, such as news releases, social media and the website, to name a few.

Connor began his career in public relations working as a public information officer for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. In that role, he served as a media liaison and multimedia specialist, coordinating social media messages and managing the agencys website. In addition to working for the state, Connor worked in public relations for Harrison College and in the television industry with WEHT in Evansville. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a bachelors degree in Radio/Television and lives in Indianapolis, Ind.

Dakota Shepard, Field Auditor

As a Field Auditor for the Indiana Grain Buyers and Warehouse Licensing Agency, Shepard will perform discovery audits of agricultural businesses with the primary goal being to ensure compliance with state regulations pertaining to the marketing and storage of producer grain.

Prior to joining ISDA, Shepard worked with the USDAs Farm Service Agency as a program technician, assisting producers with farm programs and records management. She graduated from The Ohio State University with an associates degree in Agricultural Business and lives in Eaton, Ohio.

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