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Bill Northey keeps his promise

By Staff | Apr 2, 2010

Bill Northey, Iowa’s secretary of agriculture, has set out once again to keep faith with his pledge to visit all 99 Iowa counties each year to meet with Iowans “to discuss the future of agriculture.”

The next general election isn’t until November, but Northey regards this commitment to stay in close touch with Hawkeye State residents to be a high priority at all times. Some officials undertake such visits only during campaigns. Northey began these listening trips soon after taking office and is on the road even when no rendezvous with the voters is imminent.

“I’ve enjoyed these meetings and learned a lot from them during the past three years and look forward to seeing what issues are important to farmers across the state,” Northey said in a statement announcing a recent swing through north central Iowa. “I hope farmers and rural residents will come out and share issues, ideas and challenges that are facing Iowa agriculture.”

Iowa agriculture is so diverse that Northey finds it essential to get out of Des Moines to experience directly the richness of this important industry. By visiting each county, Northey is able to gain detailed knowledge about how the needs of agriculture and related industries vary across the Hawkeye State. An appreciation for the complexity of the agricultural economy is vitally important for all state officials, but especially so for anyone who heads the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

Iowa’s secretary of agriculture plays an important role in helping Iowans evolve an agricultural strategy that can keep this state’s rural economy the envy of the world.

Just how huge the agricultural sector in Iowa truly is was underlined by Northey during a recent visit to Webster City.

“From 2002 to 2007, agriculture sales increased by $5 billion – about as much as the entire state budget is,” he told his audience.

Northey’s expertise makes him a valuable advocate for the agricultural community. It is particularly impressive, however, that he chooses to keep in close contact with his constituents. This is a man whose insights into the future of agriculture are well worth pondering. He also is a leader who demonstrates by his actions that he cares what you think.

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