Mike Naig secures executive office of Iowa agriculture

Republican Mike Naig will begin his first full term as Iowa’s head agriculture official after defeating Democrat Tim Gannon.


Lily Smith

Iowa acting Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig sits for a portrait in The Daily Iowan newsroom on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. Naig is running for election, after serving as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture since 2013.

Jordan Prochnow, News Reporter

Republican Mike Naig won the Secretary of Agriculture position on Tuesday night. Naig received 50.48 percent of votes, while Democratic opponent Tim Gannon received 46.48 percent of votes with all counties reporting results.

Naig was appointed as state Secretary of Agriculture in March after former-secretary Bill Northey resigned to assume a position in the USDA. During the Republican primary in June, Naig failed to meet the 35 percent benchmark to secure the nomination amid a crowded field of Republican candidates. He was selected by GOP leaders at the state convention later that month to continue on to the general election.

RELATED: Two candidates seek to be Iowa Secretary of State

“Being the secretary right now, I’m gonna roll up my sleeves and go back to work tomorrow morning and keep us moving on the issues that matter,” Naig said.

Naig beat Gannon, a former USDA official and resident of Des Moines.

In the position, Naig hopes to expand renewable fuel credits and to improve water quality and soil health. Naig also recognizes the importance of trade and tariffs to Iowan farmers, stating that progress is being made due to Trump’s desire for trade deals with China.

“I think that trade continues to be a top of the line issue for our farmers; there’s no doubt about that,” Naig said. “I think there’s momentum that’s building, but we have to do something about China. It’s important for our farmers to see that progress.”

The Department of Agriculture helps to promote a variety of resources for farmers, including farmer’s markets and consumer and agriculture protection programs.

RELATED: Meet the two contenders for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture

According to the department’s website, their goal is to “provide leadership for all aspects of agriculture in Iowa, ensure consumer protection and promote the responsible use of our natural resources.”

Naig currently resides in Des Moines with his wife and sons. The family owns a farm in northeast Iowa, and they are active members of Zion Lutheran Church.