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Tim Gannon, candidate for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture

Name: Tim Gannon

Party: Democrat

Residence: Des Moines

Age: 42

Occupation: Farmer and crop insurance agent

Education: University of Iowa, bachelor’s in global studies

Website: gannonforiowa.com

What are the most important issues you think need to be addressed if you are elected?

• Farm profitability: We need to demand better policy from Washington, D.C.; opening export markets rather than closing them, and reallocating the billions of gallons of demand for biofuels destroyed by Environmental Protection Agency waivers for oil refiners.

• Rural population: To reverse recent population loss in rural Iowa we need to create new bio-based industries that add value to our crops and invest in the amenities that people want in their communities — broadband, good schools, and a health care system that works for all.

• Soil health and water quality: We need to spread conservation practices that improve soil health. In order to continue as an ag power, we must protect our most precious natural resources for future generations.

Tell voters why you are running for this position. What makes you most qualified?

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Growing up, my dad owned a John Deere store. I remember from the farm crisis that when farmers struggle, so does everyone in town, and from Main Street to the factory floor, Iowans suffer, which is why we must increase farm profits. My family’s farmed in Jasper County since the 1880s. For eight years, I worked for Secretary Vilsack at USDA overseeing rural job creation programs, traveling to established and emerging export markets, and helping lead the Risk Management Agency, overseeing crop insurance.

What should voters know about you before going to the polls?

Our farmers face tough times. Farm income declined five out of the last six years. The next Secretary of Agriculture needs to be a strong advocate for farmers, and a leader in revitalizing our rural economy. As a fifth-generation family farmer, with a background in ag and rural policy from eight years at USDA, I’m ready to fight for rural Iowa. I appreciate the tradition of providing for your family in small town Iowa. I want kids like my newborn daughter, Lucy, to be able to follow in our footsteps.

What other issues related to your platform do you think voters should be aware of before they vote?

Invest in research: Investing in public research will help us remain a leader in agriculture. I’ve called for a 17.11 percent increase in research funding at Iowa State University to discover the crops and conservation practices of the future and drive economic innovation.

Fund the trust: I stand with 62 percent of Iowans who voted in 2010 for the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust. Republican failure to fund the trust means lost conservation opportunities.

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