State Representative Pat Grassley, the grandson of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, has announced he plans to seek reelection to the Iowa House.

The move ends speculation the younger Grassley is hoping the governor named him state ag secretary whenever current Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey leaves for a job in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has for months been blocking a confirmation vote for Northey in the U.S. Senate.

Two other Republicans already have announced they plan to run for state ag secretary in 2018. Ray Gaesser, a farmer from Corning who’s a former president of the American Soybean Association, launched his bid last week.

“Strong family farms build a strong, healthy community and grow a strong, healthy Iowa,” Gaesser said during an interview. “And I will work with farmers, with legislators, with citizens to share that message that we’re all in this together and we all have responsibilities that we can share.”

According to Gaesser, the goal should be a “responsible, but profitable” agricultural sector. Gaesser Farms has been nearly 100 percent no-till since 1991 and Gaesser says his family plants cover crops on about half of their corn and soybean ground.

“Our goal on our farm is to have 100 percent,” Gaesser said. “We just see real value in conserving the soil, giving that blanket of protection for Mother Nature in our soil that is needed and building organic matter, sequestering nutrients, all those things of being a benefit from the practice.”

In late October, former Iowa Farm Bureau president Craig Lang announced he’s running for the Republican Party’s 2018 nomination for state ag secretary. Lang is a farmer from Brooklyn who also has served as president of the Iowa Board of Regents.

No Democrat has stepped forward to announce plans to seek the elected post of state ag secretary.

(Additional reporting by Ken Anderson of Brownfield Ag News)