Bill Northey

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Bill Northey
Bill Northey by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture
Assumed office
January 2, 2007
Preceded by Patty Judge
Personal details
Born (1959-05-27) May 27, 1959 (age 57)
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Cindy
Children Three children
Residence Spirit Lake, Iowa
Alma mater

Iowa State University

Southwest Minnesota State University
Religion Evangelical Free
Website [4]

William Howard "Bill" Northey (born May 27, 1959)[1][2] is an Iowan politician, a member of the Republican Party, and the current Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. He was elected on November 7, 2006 and was sworn in on January 2, 2007. As Secretary of Agriculture he leads the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

Education and family[edit]

He graduated from Iowa State University with an undergraduate degree in Agricultural Business in 1981 and was a member of the FarmHouse Fraternity, serving as its president during his senior year. Northey received a Master in Business Administration degree from Southwest Minnesota State University in 2004.

Bill and his wife Cindy have three daughters, three granddaughters and one grandson.

Career in agriculture[edit]

Throughout his career in agriculture, Northey has been a leader in a variety of farm groups. From 1995-96, he served as president of the National Corn Growers Association and was chairman of the group in 1996-97. He also has led a number of committees for the Corn Growers.

Like his grandfather, E. Howard Hill, who served as president of the Iowa Farm Bureau from 1947–1963, Northey has been active in the Iowa Farm Bureau. He was named a “Friend of Agriculture” by the Iowa Farm Bureau Political Action Committee in 2006 and has served in a number of Farm Bureau offices at the county and state level, including serving as president, vice president and committee chairman of the Dickinson County Farm Bureau.

Northey has also served on the Iowa USDA Farm Service Agency State Committee, was a Dickinson County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner and was a board member of Ag Ventures Alliance.

As a result of his involvement in these organizations, he has traveled around the world to view agriculture.[clarification needed] He has traveled to Taiwan, Japan (five times), Indonesia and Singapore (to the WTO Secretariat) representing Iowa farmers. He has also traveled to another 12 countries studying agriculture production and policy.

Northey was also co-founder and president of Innovative Growers, LLC, which is an organization hatched from ISU Extension Leadership. Innovative Growers is a farmer-owned and farmer-managed group designed to capitalize on demand for the production of specialty grain products. On his farm, Northey employs the farming practices of reduced tillage, GPS, grid soil sampling and identity preserved production. He raises crops of corn, soybeans, and alfalfa and has raised hogs in the past.

2006 election[edit]

Northey ran for Secretary of Agriculture on a platform of expanding opportunities in renewable energy, promoting conservation and stewardship, and telling the story of Iowa agriculture. He ran against Democrat Denise O'Brien. He won the election 50% to 48%. In 2010, he was reelected by a margin of 60% to 35% against Democrat Francis Thicke.[3]

Northey has committed to traveling to each of Iowa's 99 counties to hear from farmers and rural residents who have a stake in the future of Iowa agriculture.

Electoral history[edit]

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Republican Primary Election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bill Northey 32,911 46.75
Republican Mark Leonard 28,315 40.22
Republican Karey Claghorn 9,089 12.91
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bill Northey 523,539 50.23
Democratic Denise O'Brien 495,873 47.57
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bill Northey (inc.) 674,572 59.52
Democratic Francis Thicke 398,428 35.15
Write-ins Write-ins 849 0.07
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bill Northey (inc.) 675,781 59.17
Democratic Sherrie Taha 370,209 32.41
New Independent Levi Benning 39,349 3.45
Write-ins Write-ins 891 0.08


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ [3] Retrieved December 21, 2008

External links[edit]