Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced last week that Dr. Dustin Oedekoven* will serve as interim Secretary of Agriculture while the search continues for a full-time replacement for Lucas Lentsch, who announced last month his intention to depart as Ag Secretary.
Oedekoven serves as South Dakota’s state veterinarian and head of the Animal Industry Board. His interim appointment will be effective immediately. March 23 is Lentsch’s last day with the Department of Agriculture.
“I am pleased that Dr. Oedekoven has agreed to serve in this capacity,” Gov. Daugaard said. “Dusty is well-respected throughout the agriculture industry and will do a great job leading the department until we identify a permanent replacement.”
“I’d like to thank the Governor for this opportunity,” Oedekoven said. “It’s an honor and a privilege to serve South Dakota’s No. 1 industry.”
A native of Sturgis, Oedekoven has served as state veterinarian since 2009. He received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science from South Dakota State University and a degree in veterinary medicine from Iowa State University.
After graduation, Oedekoven worked in private practice in Wyoming and then joined the South Dakota Animal Industry Board in 2003. Before becoming state veterinarian, he worked as a staff veterinarian and assistant state veterinarian.
Oedekoven lives in Pierre with his wife, Jennifer, and their five children.