Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is a fourth-generation Iowa farmer that grows corn and soybeans on his farm near Spirit Lake. He started farming with his grandfather, Sid Northey, after graduating from Iowa State University in 1981.
The people of Iowa elected Northey to be Secretary of Agriculture in November of 2006 and reelected him in 2010 and 2014. Northey ran on a platform of expanding opportunities in renewable energy, promoting science and technology to better conserve our air, soil and water, and telling the story of Iowa agriculture.
As Secretary, Northey has committed to traveling to each of Iowa’s 99 counties to hear from farmers and rural residents with a stake in the future of agriculture. These meetings allow him to listen to their needs and better lead the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship as it seeks to serve the people of the state.
On his farm, Northey uses reduced tillage, GPS, grid soil sampling. Besides raising corn and soybeans, the Northey farm has grown alfalfa and raised hogs and cattle throughout the years.
Throughout his career in agriculture, Northey has been a leader in a variety of farm groups. From 1995-96, he served as President of the National Corn Growers Association and was Chairman of the group in 1996-97. He has led a number of Committees for the Corn Growers, as well.
Following in the footsteps of his grandfather E. Howard Hill, who served as president from 1947 – 1963, Northey has also been active in Iowa Farm Bureau. He was named a “Friend of Agriculture” by the Iowa Farm Bureau Political Action Committee in 2006 and 2010 and has served in a number of Farm Bureau offices at the county and state level, including serving as President, Vice President and committee chairman of the Dickinson County Farm Bureau.
As a result of his involvement in these organizations, Northey has traveled around the world to view agriculture and promote Iowa’s products.
Northey has also served on the Iowa USDA Farm Service Agency State Committee, was a Dickinson County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner and was a board member of Ag Ventures Alliance.
He graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Agricultural Business and was a member of FarmHouse Fraternity, serving as its President his senior year. Northey received a Masters in Business Administration from Southwest Minnesota State University in 2004.
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