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Mike Naig leads regional ag association

By Staff | Jul 16, 2019

When Mike Naig was appointed by Gov. Kim Reynolds to succeed Bill Northey as Iowa’s secretary of agriculture, it was clear he was accepting a major challenge. Norte’s appointment as under secretary for farm production and conservation at the U.S. Department of Agriculture followed just short of a dozen years heading the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. That tenure was hugely successful and led to his selection for a key USDA role.

Fortunately, in choosing Naig to replace Northey, the governor was promoting an individual whose knowledge of agriculture and five years’ experience as Northey’s deputy at IDALS qualified him superbly for the department’s top job. Iowa voters recognized the wisdom of this appointment and in November 2018 elected Naig to a four-year term.

During his short time in office, Naig has led IDALS with distinction. That he is emerging a major voice for agriculture was underlined last month. The Midwest Association of State Departments of Agriculture chose Naig to serve as its president for 2019-2020. MASDA’s members include the Departments of Agriculture from 13 Midwestern states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The association and its component departments work with agricultural leaders throughout the Midwest to promote the agricultural industry and support the region’s farmers and ranchers.

“I look forward to collaborating with my fellow directors, secretaries and commissioner,” Naig said in a statement released by IDALS concerning his association role. “Our states have some unique specialties and challenges but this group provides a unified voice for farmers and ranchers. We all share common goals, like creating new markets for our producers’ products.”

Naig is well-suited for this leadership role. He is just about as steeped in Iowa farm life as would be humanly possible. He grew up on his family’s farm in near Cylinder. He still plays a role in its operation. Naig also was active in the agribusiness industry for more than a dozen years before joining the IDALS team. He has had public policy roles for state and national trade associations and has also worked in private industry. That diverse background gives him the broad perspective crucial for anyone who heads MASDA.

Additionally, Naig fully understands that exports are important to keeping the Midwest’s rural economy vibrant. That’s why he and his MASDA colleagues are working hard to promote the region’s products and learn how its states can best compete in a rapidly changing world economy.

Farm News congratulates Naig on becoming MASDA’s president. We feel confident that he will be skillful at this new leadership role. His prominence in MASDA should also help advance Iowa’s well-deserved reputation as a trendsetter in American agriculture.

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