Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey officially nominated to join USDA

If confirmed, he would serve as under secretary of Farm Production and Conservation

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey asks a question before a tour at Wapsie Valley Creamery in Independence on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey asks a question before a tour at Wapsie Valley Creamery in Independence on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

After months of speculation, Iowa’s agriculture secretary has been nominated for a post with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

President Donald Trump has selected Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey to serve as Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) with the federal agency, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Friday night. The position requires confirmation from the U.S. Senate.

“I am honored to be nominated by the President, and I so appreciate the support and encouragement from Secretary Perdue. I look forward to serving, if confirmed,” Northey said in an emailed statement.

The FPAC under secretary oversees three USDA agencies: the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Risk Management Agency, according to a news release.

“Bill Northey will continue his honorable record of public service in leading FPAC,” Perdue said in a statement. “Having served the people of Iowa for the last 10 years as their Secretary of Agriculture, and as a fourth generation corn and soybean farmer, Bill has a unique understanding of issues facing farmers across the nation. He will be an invaluable member of the team.”

Northey, a Republican, is in his third term as Iowa’s agriculture secretary. He was among the agriculture advisers for President Donald Trump during his presidential campaign.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will be able to appoint a replacement to serve the rest of Northey’s term, once he resigns. The post is up for election in 2018.


U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, praised Northey’s selection on Twitter, posting “The Voice of IA Ag will now be Voice of American Ag.”

Northey is “an Iowa farmer with dirt under his fingernails who knows firsthand what goes into running a family farm,” Grassley said in a statement Friday night.

“I look forward to working with Bill in his new role. I’ve no doubt he will be an asset to the farmers who utilize USDA programs to ensure the most affordable, safest food supply in the world is available every year for all Americans,” Grassley said.

Northey, 58, grows corn and soybeans on his farm near Spirit Lake, according to his biography on the Iowa Department of Agriculture website.

He has been active in agriculture groups at the county, state and national levels, including the Iowa Farm Bureau. He served as president of the National Corn Growers Association from 1995-96 and as chairman from 1996-97, according to his bio.

He graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in agricultural business and received a master’s in business administration from Southwest Minnesota State University.

He and his wife, Cindy, have three children.


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