Bill Northey 2012
BS Agricultural Business ’81
Bill Northey was elected Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture in 2006 and re-elected in 2010 thanks to his dedication to protecting the role of Iowa in feeding the world, expanding opportunities in renewable energy, and promoting conservation. He is a lifelong farmer from Spirit Lake who has always been passionate about agriculture, conservation, and his home state. Today, as the chief agricultural officer in a state known for its agricultural production, his job carries billions of dollars’ worth of responsibility and sends him around the world as an international spokesperson for Iowa agriculture.
Northey is one of the nation’s most respected secretaries of agriculture. He has consistently run campaigns free of mud-slinging and filled with honest debate that have gained him support across party lines. Each year he visits all 99 counties to talk to citizens about their challenges and concerns. He has partnered with Iowa State University on research and outreach initiatives, and he has served on numerous boards and commissions to advance agriculture. During 2012, he has served as president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.
Before being elected Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Northey served as a Dickinson County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner, where he worked with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to improve water quality in the Iowa Great Lakes watershed area.
Northey is the former president of the National Corn Growers Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association, and the Dickinson County Farm Bureau. In 1999, he was appointed by Sen. Richard Lugar to the 11-member Commission on 21st Century Production Agriculture. He has also been actively involved with such organizations as Rotary, the Iowa Farm Bureau, ISU Dickinson County Extension, Future Farmers of America, Ag Ventures Alliance, the Wallace Institute, and the Pew Foundation Committee for Food and Biotechnology, among others.
Northey, who earned an MBA from Southwest Minnesota in 2004, currently lives in Urbandale, Iowa, with his wife, Cindy. The couple has three daughters: Jessica Northey Meierotto (’07 accounting & poli sci, MA ’08), Emily Northey Brown (’08 hotel, restaurant, and instit mgmt), and Katie Northey. He is a life member of the ISU Alumni Association.