Press Releases


State agriculture department promotes four in marketing office


Changes will enhance KDA's farm marketing efforts


For Immediate Release
Thursday, May 4, 2017
For more information contact:
Ted Sloan
(502) 782-0285


FRANKFORT, Ky. — Four Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) employees have been promoted to management positions in the KDA’s marketing office, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has announced.

“These individuals have worked tirelessly to support the KDA’s mission to promote Kentucky agriculture,” Commissioner Quarles said. “In their new positions, they will enable us to enhance our efforts to help Kentucky family farmers and small businesses find new markets for their products.”

Effective April 17:

  • Chris Caudill was named director of the Shows and Fairs Division. Chris’ team provides leadership and support for more than 100 district, state, and national livestock shows and sales. The division awards in excess of $1 million in premiums at these events and also supports more than 100 county fairs.
  • John Chism was named director of the Livestock Division. In addition to Chism’s continued role of leading the Market News services, he will lead a division that helps livestock producers find new marketing opportunities.
  • Tyler Madison was named Grape, Wine and Spirits Program Manager. Along with facilitating grant and promotional efforts on behalf of the Kentucky Grape and Wine Council, Tyler will be a key resource for Kentucky’s craft beer and bourbon industries.
  • Sharon Spencer was named director of the Direct Farm Marketing Division. Spencer will continue to coordinate the KDA’s farmers’ market and CSA (community-supported agriculture) programs and will manage the agritourism program.

The department also hired Chad Smith to serve as director of the Promotion and Development Division and Ben Conner as special projects coordinator.

Elizabeth Gordon will continue as director of the Education & Outreach Division, and Brent Burchett will remain as director of the Plant Division.

The KDA’s marketing office administers Kentucky Proud, the state’s official farm marketing program. The Kentucky Proud brand stands for agricultural products raised, grown, produced, processed, and/or manufactured in Kentucky. The office also operates the Buy Local program to encourage Kentucky restaurants and other food service businesses to buy local foods; compiles prices from Kentucky livestock markets; assists with livestock shows; manages Kentucky’s industrial hemp research pilot program; tests forages for nutritional value; runs grape/wine and aquaculture marketing programs; administers the National Organic Program in Kentucky; certifies ginseng for export and licenses ginseng dealers; and performs numerous other tasks to help Kentucky farmers maximize their profits.