WASHINGTON, DC — Former US Undersecretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is reflecting on his years spent working in the Trump administration. Northey says one of the biggest successes from his three years in the USDA was the elimination of leadership positions and combining of multiple division.
Northey was confirmed in Congress as the Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Ag Service. However, that changed when the department combined leadership of the National Resources Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency. He became the first Undersecretary of Farm Production and Conservation. One of the main jobs he had was bringing the two agencies to work together under the same leadership.
“It is a really good thing to bring together in that situation and I think it’s going to pay dividends and it certainly makes sense for folks to walk into an office and get help from either side of that office,” says Northey. Among the other successes he claims during his time was setting up the www.farmers.gov website – a tool he says became vital during the pandemic.
As an Iowan going from state government to federal, Northey says he got an even better sense for how important Iowa agriculture is to the nation and the chance to see the scale of agriculture was a great opportunity. Ultimately, he says, many people at the USDA came from agriculture roots from all across the nation – and each brought unique experience.
“Producers’ farms may look different but producers are very much the same,” says Northey, “They’re humble, they’re independent, they’re proud, they are smart as a whip to be able to understand how to manage the weather and production and the complex organization.”