Kentucky Ag News
Gov. Bevin taps KDA's Beeler, Branscum for top posts
FRANKFORT, Ky. - Gov. Matt Bevin has appointed two Kentucky Department of Agriculture officials to key positions in his administration.
Gov. Bevin appointed Warren Beeler as executive director of the Governor’s Office of Agriculture Policy and named Kristen Branscum commissioner of the Department of Travel and Toursim.
Beeler worked for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture for 16 years, most recently as director of agriculture policy.
“Warren is a respected agricultural leader known throughout the Commonwealth, and I am excited to have him as executive director of our office of agricultural policy,” Gov. Bevin said. “The Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund is critical to the Commonwealth’s agriculture and rural economic development, and we are excited to have Warren leading this effort.”
Beeler is a graduate of Western Kentucky University, where he majored in animal science. In addition to his role as director of agriculture policy, Beeler served as director of livestock marketing, director of the Shows and Fairs Division, and livestock marketing specialist. Before joining the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Beeler served as an agriculture extension specialist at the University of Kentucky, where he helped develop the first on-farm testing program for swine in Kentucky.
“I applaud Gov. Bevin for appointing Warren Beeler as the Governor’s Office of Ag Policy’s new executive director,” said Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, who announced the appointment at the Jan. 15 meeting of the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board. “His knowledge and expertise in agriculture will make him an invaluable partner in the governor’s office.”
“I believe the link between Agriculture and the Governor’s Office is one of critical importance to our state today,” said Beeler. “I am honored to be part of Gov. Bevin’s team, and I’m proud that he trusts me to serve as his connection to the agriculture community. I look forward to the challenge of researching valued projects to present to the Agricultural Development Board. I’m anxious to convey agriculture’s amazing message on behalf of the Gov. Bevin’s Office of Agricultural Policy.”
Beeler, a graduate of Western Kentucky University, lives in Caneyville with his wife, DeeDee.
Branscum, a native of Russell Springs, served as the head of marketing for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture since 2012.
“Kristen Branscum’s extensive marketing experience and knowledge of Kentucky will be a great benefit for our tourism industry,” Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary Don Parkinson said. “We look forward to working with Kristen to serve and grow our tourism industry to make it even better.”
Tourism had an economic impact of more than $13 billion and was responsible for nearly 180,000 jobs during 2014, according to an annual study conducted by the cabinet. The Department of Travel and Tourism promotes and markets Kentucky to visitors and media, operates eight welcome centers and provides support to the entire local tourism industry.
“Kentucky’s tourism industry has always held a special place in my heart, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside these industry professionals to promote our great commonwealth,” Branscum said. “It is an honor to serve in Gov. Bevin’s administration, and I look forward to working with him, Secretary Parkinson, and the industry to grow this vital sector of Kentucky’s economy.”
Branscum served in various roles in the Department of Agriculture since 2008. As director of marketing, Branscum oversaw 50 employees in the Department of Agriculture and successfully marketed the Kentucky Proud program.
From 2004 to 2008, Branscum was the tourism development director in the Department of Travel and Tourism.