Mike Naig

Governor Kim Reynolds has signaled she will appoint the deputy state ag secretary to replace current Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey.

After months of waiting, Northey was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a top USDA post this week. The details of Northey’s transition from Des Moines to D.C. aren’t final yet. For the past four-and-a-half years, Northey’s deputy at the state ag department has been Mike Naig. The governor has just announced Naig will take over the Iowa Department of Agriculture when Northey leaves.

Naig grew up on a farm near Cylinder. He got degrees in political science and biology from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake.

Naig released a statement, saying he’s excited about the opportunity to work with Governor Reynolds “to support our state’s dynamic agriculture industry.”

Naig has taken a more prominent public role since Northey was nominated in September for that U.S.D.A. post. And Naig already announced he’s running for state ag secretary in 2018. Naig will face as many as five other Republicans in this June’s Primary.

There’s one Democrat who has announced he’s running for the job, too.

This fall, there was speculation the governor might appoint State Representative Pat Grassley — the grandson of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley — to replace Northey. Grassley announced several weeks ago he is seeking re-election to the Iowa House.