Northey confirms third Iowa Ag Secretary bid

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Spirit Lake Republican Bill Northey on Saturday confirmed plans to run for a third term as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture.

The Spirit Lake Republican made the announcement at the seventh "Bill's BBQ Bash," his annual campaign fundraiser at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.

"I love the job that I have," Northey said. "Agriculture in this state is an amazing thing."

Northey said his office has a series of initiatives to accomplish, including volunteer efforts to improve water quality.

"We'd trying to engage producers to a much higher degree in reducing nitrogen and phosphorus," he said. Northey is calling on an expansion of programs that encourage nitrate-removing wetlands.

The ag secretary said he would like to continue a practice of visiting all 99 of Iowa's counties each year as well.

Northey is a fourth-generation corn and soybean farmer who graduated from Iowa State in 1981. He won his first bid to statewide office in 2006. He was reelected in 2010.

He also gave serious consideration to a U.S. Senate campaign earlier this year. Incumbent Democrat Tom Harkin will not seek another six-year term. Northey ruled himself out of a Republican Primary for that office. U.S. Rep. Steve King and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds also hinted at interest, but also decided not to run for Harkin's seat.

"I'm very content with where I'm at," Northey said. "My decision wasn't just based on who else might be interested."

The Green Plains Superior ethanol plant is holding an open house Wednesday (July 17) featuring Northey as the guest speaker. The officeholder said his travels allow him to listen to the needs of Iowa producers and better lead the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

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