Dr. Ryan F. Quarles serves as Kentucky’s Commissioner of Agriculture. First elected to that position in 2015, he was re-elected in 2019, winning 117 of 120 counties. Under his leadership, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) started several new programs, including initiatives to combat hunger and connect Kentucky farmers to new markets. Quarles’s outspoken advocacy for farmers has been recognized on the regional and national level. He has served as President of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), as President of the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture (SASDA), and as Chairman of the Republican Agriculture Commissioners Committee (RACC).
Quarles graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2006 with three undergraduate majors and two graduate degrees. In 2008, he graduated with a Master’s degree in higher education from Harvard University. He received his law degree from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate in higher education from Vanderbilt University in 2018. From 2010 to 2014, Quarles served as member of the House of Representatives. A native of Scott County, he grew up on his family’s farm in central Kentucky, an area where they have lived and farmed for more than 200 years.