Fred Dailey- a Name from the Past

Former Hoosier leader retires in Ohio.

Published on: Jan 18, 2007

Here's a story with enough twists and turns to make it a 'made-for-TV- movie'- well, maybe. It's a success story for a former Hoosier leader, who make it good in politics…but in Ohio, not Indiana!

Fred Dailey is back in the news because he recently left the Ohio Department of Agriculture, where he served as director for 16 years! Such a long stint of service is almost unheard of in such a political environment, observers say. Dailey was first appointed by Ohio Governor George Voinovich in 1991. He left ODA as Ohio Governor-elect Ted Strickland was sworn in on January 8.

Dailey moved to the top spot at ODA after serving the Ohio beef cattle industry for nine years. From 1982 until 1991 he was executive vice president of the Ohio Beef Council and executive secretary of the Ohio Cattleman's Association.

Where the twists and turns become more obvious is Dailey's resume before 1982. From 1975 until 1981, he was director of the Indiana Division of Agriculture. Indiana did not have a state department of agriculture at the time. It would be more than 20 years before Indiana would create ISDA. That happened in '05, under the careful eye of newly-elected Republican governor Mitch Daniels and lt. governor Becky Skillman. Andy Miller was the first and remains the only director of ISDA.

During his career Dailey was named Outstanding State Agriculture Executive by the Biotechnology Industry Organization in 1998, and 'Man of the Year' by Progressive Farmer magazine in 1999. He's past president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, and received the FFA Honorary State Farmer degree from both the Indiana and Ohio FFAs.

Today, Dailey continues to reside in Ohio on his own working farm, raising Angus cattle. He's a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation, where he became chairman in 2002.

So where's the twist? Common wisdom in 1981 was that Dailey was forced out of the Division of Ag in Indiana because he was vocal about, of all things, the need for creating a state department of agriculture in Indiana! History says he was only about 25 years ahead of his time. But his zeal for the change did not set well with ag and political leaders at the time.

So he left his most lasting mark on Ohio agriculture, not Hoosierland. Says Ohio ODA deputy director, Fred Shimp, "When it comes to advocating for this industry, he's an absolute bulldog."