She continues her service to food and agriculture – now on a global scale. Ms Bechdol is responsible for FAO’s Partnership and Outreach work, including Partnerships and UN Collaboration, Resource Mobilization and Private Sector Partnerships, South-South and Triangular Cooperation. She also leads programmes in the area of Plant Production and Protection and oversees FAO’s main technical advisory committee on agriculture, the Committee on Agriculture (COAG) as well as the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat.
Before joining FAO, Ms Bechdol was President and CEO of AgriNovus Indiana, the Midwestern state’s economic development initiative focused on advancing the agbioscience sector and developing 21st century talent. Prior to her leadership of AgriNovus, Ms Bechdol was Director of agribusiness strategies at Indianapolis-based law firm Ice Miller LLP where she helped build the firm’s dedicated legal practice to food and agribusiness clients. She also was the former Deputy Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.
Ms Bechdol’s dedication to public service in agriculture and her extensive trade and farm policy experience started in Washington, D.C. where she served in key roles as Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and as Economist on the Senate Agriculture Committee.
She began her career in the Washington office of Informa Economics. As the first female Vice President in the firm, she assisted clients in understanding critical food and agriculture issues such as global trade negotiations, federal farm policy, technology advancements, farm structure, risk management tools, among other major trends. She also provided market information expertise to several international development projects in Egypt, the Republic of North Macedonia and Ukraine.
Ms Bechdol excels at building unconventional alliances and connecting people. She has had significant roles on boards and commissions, including the National FFA Board of Trustees, the Purdue Research Foundation and the Farm Foundation Round Table.
Ms Bechdol was raised on a multi-generation family grain farm in rural Indiana. She received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in international law and international affairs, and completed her master’s degree at Purdue University in agricultural economics.