WASHINGTON, D.C. - Outgoing Indiana Department of Agriculture Director Ted McKinney has been confirmed for a newly-created position within the Trump administration. Ted McKinney will serve as the U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue says McKinney will "wake up every morning seeking to sell more American agricultural products in foreign markets."

During a Senate confirmation hearing last month, McKinney gave a snapshot of what he expects to face on the job. "l anticipate investing significant time in many foreign countries," he said, "building trust, opening doors for farmers and processors, removing trade barriers, and otherwise being what I hope to be known as: a high-trust and high-delivery person of our ag portfolio."

McKinney, who was appointed in 2014 by then-Governor Mike Pence and was retained by Governor Eric Holcomb, was confirmed along with new U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Steve Censky in a vote Monday by the Senate.

In a statement, Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, who is the state's Secretary of Agriculture, said:

Ted McKinney brings decades of experience and expertise to his new role at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We are proud and excited for this opportunity for Ted. He has been a tireless advocate for Hoosier agriculture in his exemplary service to our state, and I know he'll be an effective voice promoting American agriculture around the world.

Crouch says ISDA Deputy Director Melissa Rekeweg will succeed McKinney on an interim basis.