The Kentucky State Board of Agriculture (SBOA) unanimously approved Dr. Katie Flynn to serve as the new State Veterinarian at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) in late November 2020. Flynn had joined KDA as the Deputy State Veterinarian earlier in 2020.
Dr. Alex Hagan, a veterinarian in Shelbyville, Kentucky, was approved by the SBOA to serve as Deputy State Veterinarian, taking Flynn’s vacated post.
“This announcement is the result of the most transparent and thorough hiring process the State Board of Agriculture has ever undertaken,” said Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles, who serves as SBOA chairman. “With Dr. Flynn’s regulatory animal health background and Dr. Hagan’s on-the-farm experience, we have a top-notch team to lead our Office of State Veterinarian.”
The State Veterinarian and Deputy State Veterinarian are the chief executive officers of the State Board of Agriculture and lead 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.
A search committee approved by the board recommended Flynn and Hagan to the State Board of Agriculture. Flynn replaces Dr. Robert Stout, who had announced his intention to retire from the department. Prior to joining the KDA as the Homeland Security Coordinator in 2003, Stout had served as an equine and large animal veterinarian since 1973. He was appointed Kentucky State Veterinarian by the SBOA in February 2004.
“I am humbled and honored to build on the foundation established by Dr. Stout at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture,” Flynn said. “I thank the State Board of Agriculture for all their efforts in advancing the health of Kentucky’s animal agriculture industry and continued work on promoting opportunities for Kentucky’s thriving agricultural sector.”
Prior to coming to the KDA, Flynn served as the Veterinary Specialist for the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Animal Health Branch. Flynn received her Bachelor of Science degree in animal science from the University of Massachusetts in 1995, and her veterinary degree from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, in 2001. Throughout her 18 years of regulatory animal health experience, Flynn has developed awareness of animal disease prevention through enhanced biosecurity and has authored educational materials that have been distributed to all 50 states and 12 countries. She has been a licensed veterinarian in Kentucky for three years.
“This announcement also makes history as Dr. Flynn is the first woman to serve in this office, something that should make all of Kentucky proud,” Commissioner Quarles said. “In fact, for the first time in KDA history, more of the Department’s offices are led by women than ever before.”
Hagan currently serves as large animal veterinarian at Wonderlich Veterinary Services, where he has experience in preventative and emergency animal medicine. Hagan studied animal science and biology at Morehead State University and received his doctorate of veterinary medicine from Auburn University in 2011. He holds a category II accreditation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Program.
“I have enjoyed my time in private practice and cherish the relationships with the farmers I have worked for,” Hagan said. “I am very excited to work alongside Commissioner Quarles, Dr. Flynn and KDA to continue to serve and support our animal industries in Kentucky.”