Quick Takes

Kentucky’s next agriculture commissioner names transition team

By: - November 13, 2023 3:00 pm

Republican Jonathan Shell as seen in one of his campaign ads. (Screenshot)

Kentucky’s next agriculture commissioner has appointed more than two dozen people including farmers and Republican elected officials to a transition team that plans to begin its work at the end of the week. 

Republican Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture-Elect Jonathan Shell named Steve Kelly of Anderson County and Jon Copley of Oldham County as co-chairs of his transition team. Kelly served as deputy commissioner of agriculture under now-Republican Congressman James Comer. Copley, described in a release as “an experienced executive in both government and private sectors,” works as a vice president at Molina Healthcare. 

In a statement Monday, Shell said he intends to make the Kentucky Department of Agriculture a “resource that Kentucky farmers can count on as they feed their neighbors and the entire world.” 

“Agriculture impacts every Kentuckian. With the help of Steve, Jon, and my entire transition team, we will be ready to go on day one to ensure the important business of the department of agriculture continues seamlessly,” Shell said in his statement. 

Other members of Shell’s transition team include:

  • T.J. Comer, the wife of James Comer
  • Warren Beeler, the former executive director of the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy
  • J.D. Chaney, the executive director of the Kentucky League of Cities
  • State Rep. Brandon Reed, R-Hodgenville
  • State Sen. Jared Carpenter, R-Berea
  • Barren County Judge-Executive Jamie Bryd
  • Wayne Hunt, a Christian County farmer and a member of the Kentucky Agricultural Finance Corporation
  • Eddie Melton, a Webster County farmer and first vice president of the Kentucky Farm Bureau
  • Darrell Billings of Powell County
  • Ryan Bivens, a Larue County farmer and member of the Kentucky Soybean Board
  • Mark Bowling of Laurel County
  • Travis Burton of Garrard County, an associate vice president at the Kentucky Hospital Association
  • Barren County Judge-Executive Jamie Byrd
  • Jim Coleman, a Fayette County farmer and former Republican candidate for state representative
  • Rodney Dick, a Pulaski County farmer
  • Tyler Ferguson, a Johnson County farmer and a state director of the Kentucky Farm Bureau
  • Drew Graham of Clark County, the executive vice president of the Kentucky Farm Bureau
  • Daniel Hayden, a Daviess County farmer
  • Adam Hinton of Fleming County, vice president for Hinton Mills farm supply stores
  • Kevin Jefferies, a magistrate on the Oldham County Fiscal Court
  • Cary King, a Mercer County farmer and past president of the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association
  • Bob McIndoo, a Henderson County farmer and a representative on the Kentucky Corn Growers Association board 
  • Brenda Paul, a Bourbon County farmer and a member of the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board. 
  • Al Pedigo, an Allen County farmer
  • Russell Schwenke, a Boone County farmer
  • Jennifer Tucker, a Warren County farmer 

A release from Shell states those interested in working for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture should submit resumes through an online form

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Liam Niemeyer
Liam Niemeyer

Liam covers government and policy in Kentucky and its impacts throughout the Commonwealth for the Kentucky Lantern. He most recently spent four years reporting award-winning stories for WKMS Public Radio in Murray.