U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue administered the oath of office to Bill Northey at the Annual Iowa Ag Leaders Dinner on Tuesday. Northey had served as Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, a position he had held for more than 11 years. Northey will serve as the undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service at the USDA.
“After months of waiting, I’m thrilled to finally have Bill on board at USDA,” Secretary Perdue says. “The patience he displayed throughout this process is an indicator of what kind of steady leader he will be on our team, and we are eager for him to get to work. Bill comes to us at an important time, as farm incomes are down and expected to fall further. Additionally, with work on the 2018 farm bill already under way, Bill will play an integral role in the advice we offer to Congress.”
In addition to his long service as Iowa’s secretary of agriculture, Northey has also held other positions of leadership in agricultural fields. He is a former president of the National Corn Growers Association and served in state and local roles for the Iowa Farm Bureau. A fourth-generation corn and soybean farmer, he and his wife, Cindy, have three daughters and five grandchildren.
As part of a reorganization of USDA, Perdue has created, the president appointed and the Senate confirmed a new undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, as directed by the 2014 farm bill. The creation of the new mission area prompted the realignment of several agencies under a newly named undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation, the position for which Northey is intended. FPAC encompasses the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Risk Management Agency. USDA is working with Congress to formally change the name of the mission area to FPAC.