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Former Alltech executive named to head Kentucky ag department's marketing office

FRANKFORT (April 1, 2016) -- A global brand manager for a Kentucky-based multinational corporation is the new executive director of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's marketing office.

Melanie Blandford of Nicholasville assumed her new post today. As the KDA's executive director of marketing, Blandford will be responsible for Kentucky Proud, the official state farm marketing program.

"We were very fortunate to be able to hire someone with Melanie's background for this key position," Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. "Melanie's experience in global marketing fits perfectly with our marketing goals for Kentucky Proud products. Kentucky Proud has made tremendous inroads in Kentucky as well as other states, and Melanie will help us take it to the next level."

Blandford served as global brand manager for Alltech's crop science division since 2011, where she organized the rebrand of the division and managed the brand portfolio for 33 global products. Blandford coordinated the company's participation in national and international events, including the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 2014 in Normandy, France. She joined Alltech in January 2010 as a territory marketing coordinator.

Prior to that, she worked as a marketing assistant for Plant Delights Nursery of North Carolina and education programs coordinator for The Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.

A native of Mississippi, Blandford earned a bachelor's degree in anthropology from James Madison University and a master's degree in plant sciences from the University of Tennessee.

The Kentucky Proud brand represents farm and food products grown, raised, and/or processed in Kentucky. Kentucky Proud generated more than $500 million in sales through its members in 2014. More than 5,400 farmers, processors, retailers, restaurants, farmers' markets, school districts, colleges and universities, Kentucky State Parks, and Kentucky Farm Bureau roadside markets are members of Kentucky Proud.

The KDA's marketing office also assists Kentucky shows and fairs, operates agriculture education programs, gives farm safety demonstrations, provides marketing assistance for Kentucky wineries and agritourism destinations, administers the National Organic Program in Kentucky, and helps Kentucky businesses with international marketing and trade shows.

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