According to the Des Moines Register, Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey has been confirmed as Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation at USDA. Northey's confirmation had been put on hold by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in a dispute revolving around the Renewable Fuels Standard.
“It is good to see one of our own rise through the ranks to this well-deserved appointment,” said Iowa Corn Growers Association President Mark Recker. “Throughout his career in agriculture, Northey has been a leader in a variety of farm groups including serving as Iowa Corn Growers Association president from 1991-92 and as National Corn Growers Association president and chairman in 1995-97.”
"All of us at ASA are very happy for Bill,” said ASA President John Heisdorffer, a farmer from Keota, Iowa, in a media statement. “As an Iowa farmer, I've been fortunate to work collaboratively with him to move Iowa agriculture forward, and I'm excited to see him take his skills to USDA so that farmers can benefit nationwide.”
“While his confirmation is long overdue, I am pleased that Mr. Northey can finally serve our farmers and ranchers at USDA,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, ranking member on the Senate Agriculture Committee. “I strongly supported Mr. Northey’s nomination and I look forward to working with him to strengthen American agriculture.”
“I applaud Bill Northey’s patience over these many months, which demonstrates what a strong leader he will be at USDA,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said. “We thank everyone who worked on his confirmation. Bill will come aboard at a crucial time, as his knowledge and expertise will be immediately put to use as the new Farm Bill is formulated to address the needs of American farmers. In addition, his leadership will be key in the newly-constituted mission area, where the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency will be providing an even better customer experience.”
NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill., said Northey is “coming to USDA at a critical time, with Congress getting down to work on the next Farm Bill, which the livestock industry wants to include a vaccine bank to address a Foot-and-Mouth Disease outbreak.”
In his new role as USDA's Undersecretary of Farm Production and Conservation, Northey will oversee the Farm Service Agency, Risk Management Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation wished Northey well in his new role.
“Secretary Northey’s years of work improving water quality and conservation makes him extremely qualified to lead this new office within the USDA,” said Craig Hill, Iowa Farm Bureau president. “It’s important to have someone who truly understands agriculture in this important role, and Northey’s experience as a farmer, success leading the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and strong work ethic makes him a great fit for the position. We look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role.”
Northey is a fourth-generation Iowa farmer that grows corn and soybeans on his farm near Spirit Lake. In his three-terms as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Northey has promoted science and technology-based solutions to better conserve the state’s soil, water and air, helped to expand ethanol infrastructure and helped tell the story of Iowa agriculture including through his avid use of social media.
The Senate Agriculture Committee reported Northey’s nomination to the floor on Oct. 19 with unanimous bipartisan support.
Source: Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Corn Growers Association, USDA, ASA, Office of Sen. Debbie Stabenow, NPPC