Agribusiness Insights: Bruce Kettler on Education, Leadership and Policy - Taranis

Agribusiness Insights: Bruce Kettler on Education, Leadership and Policy

A Conversation with Agribusiness Council of Indiana’s Bruce Kettler

This week’s AcreForward Podcast offers a look at the Agribusiness Council of Indiana (ACI) with CEO and President, Bruce Kettler. Hosted by our own, Katie Staton, Director of Customer Success, Bruce shares his perspectives on the evolving landscape of agribusiness and technology. 

“One of the things that really set me on a path to be involved in agriculture is the fact that we all have to eat, we all need to be clothed, we all need things that agriculture provides. That doesn’t go away and it’s a great challenge for the industry to continue to improve,” Kettler told us. “We’re producing more with fewer inputs and that’s because companies like Taranis are helping us become more efficient and do better with the resources we have. Agriculture is such a great industry!”

Agriculture Roots 

Kettler’s love of agriculture came long before his service to ACI. Both of his parents had strong ties to the dairy industry, growing up on small, local dairies in west central Ohio. In addition, his dad supported their family with his ag retail position where he served local farmers – a role Kettler credits with helping to shape his own thoughts of ag retail. In high school, Kettler, himself, worked on a dairy farm and found a calling for agronomy through his involvement with the school’s FFA (then Future Farmers of America) chapter.  Kettler would settle into The Ohio State University for a degree in agronomy before entering the workforce.  

“I’m an agronomist by training, and I think that seeing what my dad did, working on the dairy farm and for the coop, built my interest in agronomy. And even though I don’t use those skills on a daily basis, I know what agronomists do and I appreciate it,” he says. 

After college, Kettler served the industry in various roles within leading agriculture organizations for 17 years, including a five-year appointment as the Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. 

“Our (Indiana) Department of Agriculture is a little different than some other states. It’s not primarily a regulatory entity, so we were able to do a lot of promotion of the industry: big farms, small farms, agribusiness – it is really a different role and one that I appreciated and really enjoyed,” Kettler says. “It also led me to the ACI about 18-months ago.” 

Coming Home to Agribusiness Council of Indiana

Kettler says that his current role fits like a glove. 

“This role is kind of like coming back home. I understand the function of what the retail industry and grain industry and the feed mills do,” he says. “A lot of times I get the question, “What is ACI? Who are your members?” I can boil it down to (our customers) service, sell, supply and buy from farmers. Any of us involved in this industry understand that none of us can stand alone.”

As the CEO and President of the Agribusiness Council of Indiana, Kettler leads an organization that plays a critical role in representing and supporting various sectors of the agricultural industry. ACI’s members span from retail facilities and grain elevators to feed mills and ag technology companies, and his diverse background has uniquely positioned him to understand and address the needs of a wide-ranging membership.

Under Kettler’s leadership, ACI focuses on several key areas:

Policy and Legislation:

ACI actively engages with state and federal policymakers to ensure that agricultural interests are well-represented in legislative decisions.

Education and Leadership Development:

The organization runs programs like the Emerging Professionals Leadership Program, which aims to nurture the next generation of agricultural leaders.

Industry Standards and Best Practices:

ACI administers programs like the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification, which promotes responsible use of fertilizers and other crop inputs.

An Eye to the Future 

“When I think about the space that Taranis is in – what I would call ag tech – the sky’s the limit,” Kettler beams. “I mentioned that I’m an agronomist by training and thin the last six to eight years, that we haven’t even scratched the surface in terms of understanding the interaction between a plan and the soil. And that’s what I really appreciate about companies like Taranis, we’re getting more data and more information to unlock what is there.” 

Kettler believes that embracing new technologies and perspectives will help to continually improve production agriculture. He shares that he sees companies like Taranis helping to address long-standing challenges in agriculture. 

The conversation also touched on the potential policy implications of emerging ag technologies. Kettler shares that as new technologies like autonomous vehicles and drones become more prevalent in agriculture, thoughtful policy development will be needed to ensure their safe and effective use.

Join Kettler and Katie for the rest of the conversation in the full episode to learn more about his thoughts on the policies and implications that could serve the industry well and the current policy discussion.

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