Iowa ag secretary Bill Northey leaving 'best job' for USDA post

BILL NORTHEY

BILL NORTHEY

After more than 11 years in office, Northey cited the 2015 avian influenza outbreak as one of the memorable events of his tenure.

Northey will be sworn in Tuesday evening as an undersecretary in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"It was an extremely challenging time", he said.

"The challenges of managing that are daunting, but we are engaging", Northey said. "I am very proud of the work that's been done".

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue has emphasized the importance of improving customer service and efficiency in federal programs, Northey says, during conversations the two have had.

Iowa has a new secretary of agriculture and will be sending one of its own to Washington, D.C.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, placed a hold on his nomination as leverage in a dispute over the Renewable Fuel Standard and how it affects oil refineries. That was changed in last farm bill. In his new job Northey will oversee the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Risk Management Agency. Naig will serve the remainder of Northey's term, which ends this year.

"Back in 2006 when I was first elected, I think I knew a little about what I was getting into, but I certainly didn't have the appreciation for the great opportunities that I have had as secretary of agriculture".

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