Iowa’s race for secretary of agriculture and land stewardship has gotten strong attention this year for several reasons, including:

  • a trade war with China affecting the sale of soybeans to that country,
  • dropping commodity prices,
  • a need for farm labor, and
  • the fact that neither the Republican nor Democrat seeking the seat held it at the beginning of this year.

Incumbent Republican Mike Naig ascended to the seat earlier this year after Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Bill Northey resigned to become an undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Naig had worked since 2013 as a deputy in Northey’s office before Gov. Kim Reynolds appointed him to complete Northey’s term.

“I bring all of that experience. I bring all of the, having traveled the state now for the last seven, eight months as the secretary interacting with Iowans. I bring all of that to this job, and a passion to deliver results,” Naig said.

Meanwhile, Democrat Tim Gannon, who worked for former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack when Vilsack was U.S. secretary of agriculture, said he wants to give agriculture a boost it needs while in the state office.

“Every town does better when farmers are doing better, our manufacturing does better when farmers are doing better and our state budget is stronger when farmers are doing better,” Gannon said.

Michael Libbee, of the Insight on Business podcast, contributed to this podcast of the Nov. 2-4, 2018, IowaWatch Connection radio report.

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