Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey this morning told Iowa reporters there’s no formal signal from the Trump Administration that he’s been chosen to serve as an “undersecretary” in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Certainly very interested in being able to work with them whether it’s from here or from there,” Northey said.
Speculation ramped up over the weekend after D.C.-based “AgriPulse” reported Northey was in line to be the U.S.D.A.’s Undersecretary of Farm Production and Conservation. Northey would have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate if he’s nominated to that job. Northey posted a note on his Facebook page Saturday, saying doesn’t want to be “overly presumptive” about landing a leadership role in the U.S.D.A. Northey also said be loved his current job.
“Whichever way, I’m around for quite a while,” Northey said today, “whether that’s another year and a half or several months.”
Northey, though, has had “several conversations” with newly-confirmed U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, including a face-to-face when Perdue was in Iowa last week.
“I know he’s had that with lots and lots of folks as he’s trying to put his puzzle pieces together of where all the strengths are and who he needs in different positions,” Northey said. “You know he just announced the reorganization of U.S.D.A., so some of these positions are even new to what they’ve had and the way that they’re formed.”
Northey said it would be an “amazing experience” to be part of the U.S.D.A.
“If it comes about, there are some real things that I could do that benefit Iowans and certainly things that I could learn,” Northey said.
Northey suggested that by learning about the inner workings of the U.S.D.A, he could return to Iowa and advise ag groups about how best to influence federal policymakers. Northey, who is 57 years old, is serving in his third term as state ag secretary. He runs his family farm near Spirit Lake, where corn has been planted so far this season, but no beans.