Bill Northey is finally getting his seat on the USDA. On Tuesday evening, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue administered the oath of office to Northey at the Annual Iowa Ag Leaders Dinner. Until yesterday, Northey had served as Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, a position he had held for more than eleven years. Northey will now serve as the Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service (FFAS) at the USDA.
“After months of waiting, I’m thrilled to finally have Bill on board at USDA,” Secretary Perdue said. “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 underway, 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, Secretary Perdue has created, the President appointed, and the Senate confirmed a new Under Secretary 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 Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC), 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.