(Washington, DC) Today, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing to consider the nomination of Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm Production and Conservation at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The White House announced Northey’s appointment on September 2, after the news leaked several weeks prior to that.
“Bill Northey will continue his honorable record of public service in leading FPAC. Having served the people of Iowa for the last ten 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,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a released statement at the time.
U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Chairman of the Subcommittee for Rural Development and Energy for the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, questioned Northey about his experience, and how it has prepared him to take on this role.
Ernst then asked Mr. Northey to expand on his experience implementing the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, which has promoted voluntary, incentive-based conservation efforts in Iowa.
Additionally, Ernst and Northey discussed the important role of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) in leveraging private sector dollars and creating partnerships between the federal government and local organizations.
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced Northey at the start of the hearing. Watch below:
Here’s the transcript of his remarks:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.It is my honor to introduce Bill Northey, Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, to this committee.He has been nominated to serve as Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation at the Department of Agriculture.Bill has served as Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture since 2006.During his tenure, he has focused on soil conservation and helping develop the robust renewable energy industry we have in Iowa today. He has also dealt with crises such as the outbreak of High Path Avian Influenza, which occurred in 2015.Secretary Northey understands agriculture. He is a fourth generation farmer from Spirt Lake, Iowa, where he raises corn and soybeans. He appreciates the ins and outs of farming and what it’s like to put your life savings on the line every year to grow a crop in rural America that will feed and fuel the world.Secretary Northey has served on the Iowa Farm Service Agency committee and was president of the National Corn Growers Association from 1996-1997.He has also travelled the world visiting over fifteen countries to promote U.S. agriculture.Secretary Northey graduated from Iowa State in 1981 with a degree in Agribusiness and has an MBA from Southwest Minnesota State University.Perhaps his most important quality is the vision he has shown leading the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. As an example, Bill was focused on water quality issues in Iowa years before many farmers and press outlets became engaged.I cannot think of anyone better equipped to ensure our nation’s farm programs are properly administered than Secretary Northey.We’re lucky to have someone of his capability ready to lead the agencies he will be responsible for.Secretary Northey, welcome to the Senate Agriculture Committee.