POST Online Media Lite Edition


Kentucky State Board of Agriculture searching for new State Veterinarian

Christian Fernsby |
The Kentucky State Board of Agriculture (SBA) has launched a national search for the position of Kentucky State Veterinarian following the announcement of Dr. Katie Flynn that she will step down at the end of February.

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Dr. Flynn joined the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) in 2020 as Deputy State Veterinarian and was promoted later that year to State Veterinarian.

Prior to joining KDA, Dr. Flynn worked 18 years as an animal health official, primarily with the California Department of Food and Agriculture. She leaves KDA to take a position as a staff veterinarian at the United States Equestrian Federation.

“This is a critical position for the safety of our agriculture herds and flocks,” Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles said. “We spent 2022 discussing potential solutions to the large animal vet shortage in Kentucky and across the nation.

"We’re hopeful we can find a solution, but a big portion of that is having a state veterinarian who, like Dr. Flynn, can and will advocate for our farming community. Her shoes will be tough to fill. The State Board of Agriculture and the KDA look forward to casting a broad net to fill this animal health position.”

The Office of the State Veterinarian enforces state and federal regulations on livestock movement, administers animal health programs, responds to disease outbreaks, licenses stockyards and livestock dealers, and performs numerous other duties.

The State Board of Agriculture approved the establishment of a search committee of members from across the agricultural spectrum.

Keith Rogers, Kentucky Department of Agriculture chief of staff will serve as chair; Dean Nancy Cox, University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture Food and Environment as vice chair; other members will include three Kentucky State Board of Agriculture members; and one representative each from the Kentucky Cattlemen Association, the Kentucky Pork Producers Association, the Kentucky Poultry Federation, the Kentucky Dairy Development Council, the Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office, the Kentucky Alternative Livestock Association, the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association, and the state’s equine industry. Dr. Flynn will also serve on the committee as a non-voting member.

The State Veterinarian is an agent of the State Board of Agriculture and leads the KDA’s Office of State Veterinarian in its statutory and regulatory activities to prevent, control, and eradicate communicable diseases in the agricultural animal health sector.

Specific duties of the State Veterinarian include:

• Serve as the Executive Director of the Office of State Veterinarian;
• Oversee all functions of the Office of State Veterinarian;
• Ensure that statutes and regulations are enforced;
• Participate on the Commissioner of Agriculture’s executive team;
• Advise the Commissioner on issues involving animal health and other issues as requested;
• Testify to legislative committees as requested;
• Serve as a liaison to livestock and poultry organizations and leaders; and
• Participate on the Board of Directors of the United States Animal Health Association, the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, Southern Animal Health Association, and other animal health organizations.

State law requires that the successful candidate be a licensed veterinarian with at least five (5) years of experience in the practice of veterinary medicine.

Preference may be given to candidates with regulatory experience in the management of animal health programs, epidemiology, emergency management/response, foreign animal disease investigations, and animal welfare regulations.

Applications will be accepted until January 31, or until the position is filled. Dr. Flynn’s last day with the Department is February 28.

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