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Bill Northey on the road — again

By Staff | Mar 25, 2011

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.

Once election season is over, some politicians seem to disappear. Not Bill Northey. He regards this commitment to stay in close touch with Hawkeye State residents to be a high priority at all times. Northey began these listening trips soon after taking office and is on the road even when no rendezvous with the voters is imminent.

“These meetings are a great opportunity to listen to farmers and learn more about what we need to be working on at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship,” Northey said in a statement released by the department regarding his annual statewide tour. “I have learned a lot from these meetings over the past four years and am looking forward to continuing to get out and hear from rural residents.”

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, he 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 visit to Webster City last year.

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

The importance of foreign markets to the economic success of Iowa’s farmers is often a theme of Northey’s remarks.

“The world needs the things we produce in Iowa,” he told those attending the annual meeting of the Pocahontas Economic Development Commission in late January. “I believe we will have a great market for a long, long time in a lot of places.”

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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