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Industry Leader Northey Passes

Bill Northey, a long-time agriculture industry figure, and former USDA official in the Trump administration, has died.

The 64- year-old was serving as the CEO of the Agribusiness Association of Iowa. Northey grew up on an Iowa family farm. He has served as President of the National Corn Growers Association, three terms as the Iowa Agriculture Secretary, and as USDA Farm Production and Conservation undersecretary during the Trump administration.

Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, commented, “Today the Iowa farm community lost a giant. Bill Northey was a dear friend and fierce advocate for the family farmer.” Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds added, “Bill understood well our responsibility to be good stewards of the land and exemplified that calling throughout his career.” Reynolds has ordered all flags in Iowa to be lowered to half-staff immediately and remain at half-staff until sunset on the day of Northey’s funeral and interment.

Agriculture of America and Market Talk host, Jesse Allen, had this to share about the passing of Northey as well:

“Bill Northey was such an amazing advocate for agriculture in Iowa and around the world. I had the pleasure of knowing Bill and working with him many times as I started my farm broadcasting career in Iowa. He was always kind, insightful and down to Earth when talking with me. Bill would always ask me how life was outside of radio and agriculture and I believe that was a sign of the kind of man he was. Our thoughts and prayers to his wife and family on Bill’s unexpected passing. Agriculture has truly lost a fierce champion.”



WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – February 5, 2024 – The Iowa Farm Bureau is saddened to learn of the passing of Bill Northey – a tireless champion, defender and promoter of farmers and agriculture at both the state and federal levels. His steadfast dedication and life’s work to ensuring agriculture thrives will continue to impact farm families here in Iowa and across the nation for years to come. On behalf of Farm Bureau members across the state, we extend our sincerest condolences to Bill’s family during this difficult time.


Secretary Naig Releases Statement on the Passing of Former Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey

DES MOINES, Iowa (Feb. 5, 2024) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig released the following statement today following news of the passing of former Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey:

“I am in shock at the news of Bill’s unexpected passing. Jaime and I send our deepest and sincerest condolences to Cindy and the entire Northey family.

Bill was a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a farmer. He loved Iowa and he loved Iowa agriculture. His curiosity, care for others, and love of learning made him a leader that everyone could admire. Bill brought a farmer’s work ethic to every aspect of his life, and he was tireless in promoting our state, its people and our agriculture.

As Secretary, he had a tremendously positive impact on our state and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, but his influence went well beyond our borders. Whether it was on issues like soil conservation, water quality, renewable energy, foreign animal disease preparedness or trade, Bill was respected nationally and internationally. Bill was smart and people looked toward his leadership on every issue he focused on.

Bill was a friend and mentor to so many people here in Iowa and across the country, including me. This is an incredible loss for our state, for agriculture, and for everybody who knew and loved Bill.”


In 2022, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig awarded Bill Northey with an Iowa Ag Leader Award for his outstanding and distinguished service to Iowa agriculture. A video, which includes interviews by both Secretary Naig and Secretary Northey, can be viewed here. The video is available for full distribution.

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