Thum to lead Soil Conservation Division

Jennifer Thum has been promoted to Soil Conservation Director for the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA). Thum has worked for the department for over a decade and was most recently deputy soil conservation director.

"Soil conservation and water quality initiatives are critical for Hoosier farmers and our numerous partners across the state, and they need a strong leader to enhance conservation practices," said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. "Jennifer has been a dedicated public servant for over 10 years with ISDA and I am looking forward to her leading the largest division at the department with energy and grace." 

Thum hails from Milford, Mich. and attended Oakland Community College and Eastern Michigan University for her undergraduate degrees and received a Master of Public Administration degree from Northern Michigan University.

Her previous role with ISDA included securing over $50 million in funding for soil conservation projects. She also oversaw the Western Lake Erie Basin Regional Conservation Partnership Program, Kankakee Regional Conservation Partnership Program, a team of six staff and the upcoming iCover project.

“Jennifer has been a tremendous team player for over the past decade,” said Don Lamb, Indiana State Department of Agriculture director. “She has transformed the Western Lake Erie Basin group, secured funding in the millions of dollars and led her staff with tenacity. We are so excited to promote her to role of director and we know she will go above and beyond for farmers, landowners and her staff.”

In her new role as director, she will continue to work with conservation partners, farmers, landowners and all 92 local Indiana Soil and Water Conservation districts. She will oversee the Division of Soil Conservation staff and its various programs like the Indiana Conservation Partnership and data collection, the State Nutrient Reduction Strategy and is Secretary of the State Soil Conservation Board.

“Over the past several years, I have been very fortunate to work with Indiana's incredible agriculture industry, from the commodity groups to the non-for-profits and our 92 SWCDs, and our neighboring states on several projects,” said Thum. “I am looking forward to continuing to work hand-in-hand with our partners across the state to enhance soil health and water quality.”

Thum resides in Fort Wayne with her family. In her spare time she enjoys backpacking and hiking with her family and attending her three sons’ various sporting events.