Secretary Naig Presents Leadership Awards for Outstanding Contributions to Iowa Agriculture
Cedar Rapids, Country View Dairy, Clear Creek Amana Schools, Field to Family, Mighty Howard County Fair, Craig Hill, Bill Northey honored
DES MOINES, Iowa (March 9, 2022) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig this week recognized organizations and entities making exceptional contributions to the state’s agriculture community. Naig presented the awards to the City of Cedar Rapids, Country View Dairy, Clear Creek Amana Community School District, Field to Family, the Mighty Howard County Fair, Bill Northey and Craig Hill during the 10th annual Iowa Agriculture Leaders dinner held at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny on March 8.
“Over the 10 years of the Iowa Agriculture Leader Awards, we have recognized people and organizations that are making a difference for our farmers and rural communities,” said Secretary Naig. “I am proud to continue that tradition this year by recognizing outstanding leaders who champion conservation, build new markets for Iowa products and engage the next generation of agriculture leaders.”
IOWA AGRICULTURE LEADER AWARD WINNERS
Leadership in Conservation – City of Cedar Rapids
The City of Cedar Rapids has been working alongside the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, farmers and county and local officials to implement conservation practices since 2015 when the Middle Cedar Partnership Projected was launched. These successful partnerships have grown to include the Cedar River Source Water Regional Conservation Partnership Project, the Midwest Ag Water Quality Regional Conservation Project and the recently announced Cedar River Clean Water Partnership. These conservation efforts help prevent soil and nutrient losses to improve water quality for the city and their neighbors downstream.
“When landowners implement conservation practices, not only does their soil health benefit, but our water quality benefits as well,” said Cedar Rapids Mayor Tiffany O’Donnell. “Because agriculture fuels a significant portion of our economy, we are proud to focus on partnership efforts that benefit farmers, local industries and Cedar Rapids residents, all at the same time.”
Leadership in Market Diversification – Country View Dairy, Field to Family, Clear Creek Amana School District
Country View Dairy, Field to Family and the Clear Creek Amana School District are working together to initiate conversations around food production, expand markets for Iowa products, and build effective supply chains for local foods.
Country View Dairy, a 250-cow dairy in Hawkeye produces yogurt that is sourced by Field to Family, an urban food hub serving the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City communities. The Clear Creek Amana School District sources the locally produced yogurt through the food hub for its school lunch program.
“Our partnership with Country View Dairy and the Clear Creek Amana School District enables us to connect the hard work of Iowa farmers with students,” said Michelle Kenyon, executive director of Field to Family. “The ultimate goal of this partnership is to make local foods more accessible to more people.”
Leadership in Community – The Mighty Howard County Fair
The Mighty Howard County Fair in 2015 established the Reicks View Ag Education Center, a 22,900 square foot livestock facility located on the Howard County Fairgrounds in Cresco, Iowa. The Center includes a unique educational facility focused on teaching area youth about swine production while providing them the opportunity to show pigs at the fair. For three months before the Fair, any 4-H & FFA member can raise their pigs in the swine production area of the center, making the opportunity available to more students.
“The industry was changing and our community was changing,” said Sue Barnes, Howard County Extension Service office manager. “As the number of town kids was increasing, the number of farms kids was decreasing. To keep kids engaged in the agriculture industry, we knew we had to do something new and different.”
IOWA AGRICULTURE LEADER AWARDS – OUTSTANDING SERVICE IN AGRICULTURE
Bill Northey and Craig Hill were recognized with Iowa Agriculture Leader Awards for outstanding service in agriculture.
“Craig Hill and Bill Northey embody the spirit of Iowa agriculture,” said Secretary Mike Naig. “As servant leaders, they have championed conservation efforts, driven innovation, and facilitated industry growth opportunities, positioning Iowa agriculture as a global leader in food and ag product production. Their dedication to our agriculture community has enhanced the livelihoods of our farmers and rural communities.”
Outstanding Service in Agriculture – Craig Hill
Craig Hill spent a decade at the helm of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) serving as the organization’s president from 2011-2021. Prior to that, he served in various leadership positions with the Warren Country Farm Bureau, as District 8 representative on the state board and as vice president of IFBF from 2001-2011. During his time of service, Hill prioritized Iowa’s farmers and was instrumental in the development of Revenue Assurance, a revenue-based crop insurance for corn and soybean farmers written into the 1996 Farm Bill.
Hill also served as chairman of Iowa Ag State, board member for America’s Cultivation Corridor, trustee of the Council in Agriculture Science and Technology and appointee to USDA’s Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee on Trade.
Outstanding Service in Agriculture – Bill Northey
Bill Northey served as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture from 2007-2018 before being appointed U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation where he served from 2018-2021. As Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Northey expanded opportunities in renewable energy, promoted conservation and stewardship, and was a champion for all aspects of Iowa agriculture. He continued to positively impact Iowa and U.S. agriculture during his time at USDA enhancing conservation and risk management opportunities available to farmers and landowners.
Northey, a fourth-generation farmer, also served as commissioner of the Dickinson County Soil and Water Conservation District, president and chairman of the National Corn Growers Association and president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.