Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig Announces Fifty-Member Campaign Advisory Committee

(DES MOINES, Iowa) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced a robust statewide advisory committee consisting of fifty agriculture leaders from all corners of Iowa. This advisory committee joins former Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey who endorsed Naig’s campaign earlier this year.

“We have built an extraordinary team with extensive experience, proven leadership and passion for Iowa agriculture,” said Naig. “Our message of protecting water and soil heath, expanding markets for Iowa products, and attracting and retaining young Iowans into careers in ag is resonating across the state.” 

“Mike Naig’s experience effectively leading on the job makes me confident he is the right individual to continue leading as Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture,” said Wayne Northey, State Chairman of Mike Naig’s campaign.

Naig’s advisory committee has broad representation from leaders in Iowa’s corn, cattle, pork, soybean, turkey, and agribusiness industries.

“One of my core missions is to attract and retain young talent in agriculture. We have high tech, high paying jobs in rural Iowa available for our young people today. That is why I am so pleased to have several incredibly talented and driven young producers on our team,” said Secretary Naig.

“I have gotten to know Secretary Naig while chairing Iowa Farm Bureau’s Young Famer Committee,” said Jacob Handsaker of Hardin County. “My wife Mindy and I are impressed with Mike’s vision, experience, and focus on the future of Iowa agriculture.”

“Secretary Naig understands that by working together to expand our international markets, embracing innovation and new technologies, and engaging and educating our youth in opportunities in ag, we can secure a prosperous future for the next generation of Iowa farmers.” Said Barbara Determan, former President of National Pork Producers Council.

The committee is made up of volunteers and has been established to serve as advisors to Secretary Naig’s campaign in the lead up to the June 5thRepublican Primary Election and beyond.

Campaign Advisory Committee

Wayne & Margaret Northey – Campaign Co-Chairs (Dickinson County): Wayne and Margaret are longtime family farmers in Dickinson County. 

Cindy Northey (Dickinson County)

State Representative Dave Deyoe (Story County):Representative Deyoe operates a family farm and has previously been actively involved in the Iowa Farm Bureau organization.

State Representative Megan Jones (Clay County): Representative Jones is Assistant Majority Leader in the Iowa House and is involved in her family farming operation.

Willard Jenkins (Black Hawk County): Willard Jenkins served ten years in the Iowa legislature and retired from public service in 2006. Jenkins chaired the House Commerce Committee and the International Relations Committee.

Glen Keppy (Scott County): Glen is a Scott County famer and has served as a past President of the National Pork Producers Council. Glen also served as Former Associate Administrator of the Iowa USDA Farm Service Agency.

Kurt Hora (Washington County): Kurt is the Iowa Corn Growers Association Chairman. Kurt raises corn and soybeans, and wean-to-finish hogs.

Gordon Wassenaar (Jasper County): Gordon farms near Prairie City, IA. Gordon served as past President of the Iowa Soybean Association, past President of the U.S. Grains Council, and past Chairman of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board. Gordon continues to host many foreign delegations at his operation to educate people from around the world about Iowa agriculture. 

Bill Couser (Story County): Bill actively farms in Story County and raises cattle. Time Magazine recognized Bill as one of ten “people that matter” in 2006 for his leadership in renewable fuels. Bill is a recipient of the Wallaces Farmer Iowa Master Farmer award, and is former president of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

Dean Taylor (Jasper County):Dean is a corn and soybean grower from Prairie City, IA. Dean is past President of the Iowa Corn Growers Association. 

Barbara Campbell Determan (Sac County): Barbara Determan served as past President of National Pork Council and has been inducted into the Pork Industry’s Hall of Fame

Joan and John Maxwell (Scott County): The Maxwell’s operate a dairy and row-crop operation. Each year, they welcome thousands of local, national and international visitors to Cinnamon Ridge Farms near Donahue to showcase Iowa agriculture. 

Thomas Dorr (Cherokee County): Thomas Dorr served as former USDA Undersecretary for Rural Development and as past President of the U.S. Grains Council. Mr. Dorr actively raises corn and soybeans as he has done for over 30 years. 

Keith Heffernan (Black Hawk County): Keith served as former Sr. vice president of operations and industry relations of U.S. Grains Council, past chief of staff for the Farm Credit Administration, former chief of staff for USDA's Rural Development Agency, and past executive director of Iowa Corn Growers Association.

Jim and Nancy Pellet (Cass County): Jim Pellet is past President of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association. Nancy Pellett is former Chair of the Farm Credit Administration, as well as the former Chair of the Iowa Beef Industry Council. Mr. and Mrs. Pellett currently raise cattle. Their farm operation also includes corn and soybeans.

Varel Bailey and Jackie Bailey (Cass County): Varel is a past president of the National Corn Growers Association.Varel farms with his family near Anita, Iowa specializing in corn, soybeans, grass, cattle and sheep.  His off-farm avocations are agriculture policy, both U. S. and foreign, and the development of farm management systems. 

Dan and Diana Stadtmueller (Jones County): Dan served as past president of Iowa Corn Growers Association. Diana has served as past co-chairperson of the Republican Party of Iowa. Dan and Diana have held active leadership roles in Jones County Farm Bureau. 

Jacob and Mindy Handsaker (Hardin County): Jacob is the immediate past chair of the Iowa Farm Bureau's Young Farmer Advisory Committee. Mindy and Jacob are active in Hardin County Farm Bureau and actively farm in Hardin and Hamilton Counties. 

Alan Koch (Polk County): Al is retired from farming in Franklin County, is former CEO of Henning Construction and is an independent businessman working across agricultural sectors for many years. 

Dr. Howard Hill (Story County): Dr. Hill served as past President of National Pork Producers Council. Dr. Hill also operates a sow farrow-to-finish farm.

Russell Yoder (Henry County): Russell serves as the President of the Iowa Turkey Federation and runs a family turkey operation in Wayland, IA. 

Brett Bell (Story County): Brett Bell serves as COO for Landus Cooperative, a farmer-owned cooperative based in Ames with operations in over 60 communities across Iowa.    

Catherine Miller-Sands (Des Moines County): Catherine actively farms in Des Moines County.

Russ Sanders (Polk County): Russ is the former Chief Executive Officer of the National Pork Producers Council and is a retired pork and seed industry executive. 

Kent Pruismann (Sioux County): Kent is a third-generation farmer and recent recipient of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association Hall of Fame award. Kent has also served as President of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. Kent was appointed by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and served six years on the Cattleman’s Beef Board, and also chaired the audit committee and served on the executive committee.  

Kevin Ross (Pottawattamie County): Kevin is a sixth-generation family farmer, isa recent past President of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and serves on the Corn Board of the National Corn Growers Association. 

Bob Hemesath (Winneshiek County): Bob is a past President of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and farms near Decorah where he raises corn, soybeans and alfalfa and owns a hog finishing operation. Bob has also served as president of the both the Winneshiek County Corn Growers and the Winneshiek Pork Producers. 

Ben Wikner (Clayton County Producer): Ben is a young and active farmer in Clayton County and currently finishing up at Iowa State University. 

Lexi Marek (Polk County): Lexi is a young professional who recently graduated from Iowa State University and is actively engaged in many pursuits related to agriculture. Lexi developed a passion for agriculture on her family farm in Washington County. 

Craig Struve (Dickinson County): Craig Struve is the President of SoilView LLC. Mr. Struve has spent over 40 years in production agriculture businesses including operating an independent agronomy service center providing crop nutrients, seed, chemical, application and crop data management in conjunction with a successful precision program.  Craig is a long time Board member of the Agribusiness Association of Iowa and serves on the Iowa Nutrient Research and Education Council Board of Directors. 

Mark and Julie Kenney (Story County): The Kenneys farm in Story County and are active members of Iowa Corn, Iowa Farm Bureau and Iowa Soybean Association. Julie serves as Iowa’s Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. 

Josh Earll (Kossuth County): Josh grew up in rural NW Iowa and recently attended Iowa State University. Josh currently resides in North Central Iowa, where he works for Asgrow/DEKALB as a Sales Manager.

Terry and Sandra Naig (Palo Alto County): The Naigs actively farm in Palo Alto County. 

Dave Struthers (Story County): Dave farms in Story County and served as the past President of the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

Scott Henry (Story County): Scott is a young and active row crop farmer in Story County.

Mark Calmer (Calhoun County): Mark actively raises corn in Calhoun County.

Paul Dykstra (Ringgold County): Paul operates a farrow-to-finish hog operation and is a member of the Ringgold County Board of Supervisors.

Jim and Julie Christensen (Clay County): Jim and Julie have served in leadership positions with Clay County Cattlemen Association, and actively grow corn and raise cattle in Clay County.

Margaret Stoldorf (Montgomery County): Margaret actively farms in Montgomery County and has served as a member of the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors.

Ryan Kock (Carroll County): Ryan is as a corn, soybean and turkey farmer in Calhoun, Carroll and Greene Counties. He is also a seed dealer and insurance agent.

Gene Gourley (Hamilton County): Gene is active in his family’s farrow-to-finish hog operation and raises corn in Hamilton County. Gene has been active in the Iowa Pork Producers Association and the National Pork Producers Council. 


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