INDIANAPOLIS — AgriNovus Indiana, a nonprofit coalition focused on growing Indiana’s agbioscience economy, announced today that Dr. Karen Plaut, executive vice president of research at Purdue University, will serve as chair of the organization’s board of directors.

The board also unanimously approved Trent Torrance, chief operating officer at United Animal Health, as its vice chair and the appointment of Courtney Kingery, CEO of Indiana Corn Marketing Council and Indiana Soybean Alliance, to the executive committee. Dr. Jose Simas, executive vice president, U.S. Farm Animal Business at Elanco was approved as a succession to replace an outgoing director.

“Indiana’s agbioscience economy continues to record growth and strength thanks to the direction and support of the AgriNovus board of directors,” said Mitch Frazier, president and CEO of AgriNovus Indiana. “The addition of these experts to our Board brings even more leadership and industry context to our team as we work together to build the agbioscience economy of the future.”

Plaut is the executive vice president for research at Purdue University. She previously served as dean of Purdue’s College of Agriculture, overseeing academic programs within the college, the Indiana Agricultural Experiment Station, the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service and several state regulatory services. Plaut was also the senior associate dean for Research and Faculty Affairs in Purdue’s College of Agriculture and held faculty positions at the University of Vermont and Michigan State University, serving as the chair of the Department of Animal Sciences at both institutions. She spent a few years working with NASA as lead scientist for the Space Station Biological Research Project for the International Space Station. Plaut holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Vermont, a master’s degree in animal nutrition from Penn State University and a doctorate in animal science from Cornell University. Her postdoctoral studies were completed at the National Cancer Institute at the National Institute of Health. Plaut was named a Fellow of the American Dairy Science Association in 2020.

Torrance is the chief operating officer and is a member of the board of directors for United Animal Health, a Sheridan, Ind.-based company focused on providing solutions for animal nutrition and health. He has served in various roles for the company since 2001, including research and development, project management and corporate leadership. Torrance holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Western Illinois University and a master’s in animal science from the University of Missouri. He also serves on the board of directors for United Animal Health’s Joint Venture in China, Shandong United Nutrition.

Kingery serves as the CEO of Indiana Corn Marketing Council and Indiana Soybean Alliance, leading the state’s corn and soybean checkoff programs to build domestic and global demand for those crops. She previously worked as global director of health and wellness innovation at Tate and Lyle and was a grain trader and marketing manager for oilseeds and food ingredients for ADM. Kingery has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Hanover College with a master’s of business administration from Kuztown University.

Simas is executive vice president of U.S. Farm Animal at Elanco, bringing more than 20 years of leadership experience in commercial, marketing, R&D and regulatory roles. Previously, he served as president of Trouw Nutrition USA and has also served in key roles within Elanco’s business, including senior director of Latin America and Global Aquaculture, senior director of U.S. Beef Business and area director for Central, Eastern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Simas received a bachelor’s degree from the Federal University of Lavras in Brazil. He also holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in Animal Nutrition and Physiology from the University of Arizona, as well as a post doctorate from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The AgriNovus Indiana board of directors is comprised of leaders from industry, academia and government. All members are listed online at

About AgriNovus Indiana

AgriNovus Indiana is a non-profit coalition of leaders across industry, academia and government focused on growing Indiana’s agbioscience economy across food, animal health, plant science and agtech. AgriNovus Indiana is part of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), an effort dedicated to the region’s continued prosperity and growth. Learn more at