Statewide Iowa — The Democratic Party’s nominee for state ag secretary says the Iowa Department of Agriculture needs to represent both producers and consumers.
John Norwood is a business consultant and is currently serving as a Soil and Water Commissioner in Polk County. Norwood says Iowa’s ag industry is tremendously productive, but there’s an imbalance and the state’s voluntary approach to reducing farm chemical run-off isn’t working.
Norwood’s first job out of college was at the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, which handled drinking water and wastewater. Norwood has not proposed specific limits on nitrogen and phosphorus application on cropland. He says innovative thinking is needed to improve Iowa’s water quality and reduce top soil loss.
Norwood says if Iowa is to weather more frequent floods and droughts, it needs healthy soil, and more acres planted with cover crops like oats, barley, rye and hay.
Norwood says Iowa needs to dedicate more ag land to crops that aren’t corn and soybeans.
Norwood worked with cattle ranchers, nut growers and other farmers in California before settling in Iowa in 2002. Norwood made his comments on the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair.
Current Iowa Ag Secretary Mike Naig, a Republican, has been in office since the spring of 2018 and in this year’s election he’s seeking a second full term. A spokesman for the Iowa Republican Party says Naig knows Iowa feeds and fuels the world, and he defends our farmers, livestock producers, and promotes our high quality products on the world stage.