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Northey: Win is chance to expand ag biz

By Staff | Nov 5, 2010

DES?MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Nothey, was given another four years in office by Iowa voters.

Northey, who completes his first term in the post at the end of this year, withstood a challenge from Democrat Francis Thicke, a dairy farmer from southern Iowa.

The Secretary of State’s official election results website on Wednesday afternoon showed Northey earned 62.8 percent voter approval, or 669,477 votes, over Thicke’s 37.1 percent, or 395,506 votes.

Northey focused his campaign on renewable energy in Iowa and protecting Iowa’s natural resources.

Iowa is ranked second in the amount of wind power production among U.S. states, and Northey said he wants to keep this green movement going by producing more sustainable energy sources, such as turbines and stands, and reducing the environmental impact of farming.

Keep exports growing

Northey told Farm News that he sees an opportunity to work with the new governor to take the good news of Iowa agrculture and spur new export growth of ag products.

“Iowa enjoys a great reputation around the world,”?Northey said, “but we still to go where they are and to bring them here.

“Commercial agriculture is still important here.”

At the same time, he said he understands that Iowans still wants a diversified agriculture including the growth of farmers markets and local foods initiatives.

Another issues he hopes to see changed now is the reinvestment into ag businesses, including renewable fuels and wind energy.

He said ag producers and businessmen in general have been concerned over an overall feeling of “regulation first” mentality from both Washington and Des Moines.

Conceding that “we do need regulations,” Northey added, “but they need to be fair and predictable.

With the wholesale changes in the complection of both state and national legislatures, Northey said he thinks those in legislative command “will be slower in taking a regulation first stance.”

Clean campaign

Northey complimented his opponent for maintaining a clean campaign through the year.

“We certainly came at things from different angles,”?Northey said of thicke, “but it didn’t get personal and nasty as other races in the state.

“I’ve had people say they appreciated that and I’m sure that he (Thicke) has heard the same things.”

Thicke focused on sustainability, specifically alternative energy and soil retention.

Acknowledging the election results, Thicke said that he was glad the campaign brought awareness to sustainable farming issues.

“I didn’t win the election, but the dialogue will continue,” Thicke told news organizations. “I’ll be a part of the dialogue about agriculture in the future.”

Contact Larry Kershner at (515) 573-2141, Ext. 453 or at kersh@farm-news.com.

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