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Former Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey Remembered

Former Iowa Secretary of Ag Bill Northey has passed away. 

Northey’s death was announced on Monday. He was 64.

Northey served as the state’s Secretary of Agriculture from 2007 to 2018. He was also former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s under secretary for farm production and conservation from 2018 to 2021. Northey had been CEO of the Agribusiness Association of Iowa since last March.

Moments of silence were observed in the Iowa House and Senate this morning to honor Northey, with Speaker Pat Grassley leading the tribute in the House.

State Senator Dan Zumbach of Ryan became emotional as he spoke about his friend.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig says he is in shock at the news of Northey’s unexpected passing. Naig says as Ag Secretary, Northey had a tremendously positive impact on our state and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, but his influence went well beyond our borders. Whether it was on issues like soil conservation, water quality, renewable energy, foreign animal disease preparedness or trade, Bill was respected nationally and internationally. 

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley says the Iowa farm community has lost a giant. Grassley says Northey was a dear friend and fierce advocate for the family farmer. He says the Northey family have been friends of the Grassleys since 1980, for over two generations. 

Governor Kim Reynolds says Northey was a great leader whose work ethic and passion for Iowa agriculture was unmatched. She says Northey understood well our responsibility to be good stewards of the land and exemplified that calling throughout his career. But his life’s greatest role was as a loving husband, father, and grandfather. 

Reynolds has ordered all flags in Iowa to be lowered to half-staff until sunset on the day of Northey’s funeral.


partial story contribution courtesy of Radio Iowa; photo courtesy of Senator Zumbach

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