Bill Northey, who was Iowa’s top agriculture official for more than a decade and a leader at the USDA, died recently at the age of 64. His death was publicly announced Monday by the Agribusiness Association of Iowa (AAI), of which he was CEO. The AAI released the following statement:
“It is with great sadness that the Agribusiness Association of Iowa shares the news of the passing of CEO Bill Northey. The state of Iowa, and all of agriculture, has lost a great leader who has left his mark on future generations and will be greatly missed.
“Bill was a tireless advocate for agriculture and a beloved leader for the entire AAI staff and organization. As we mourn the loss of our close colleague, we also extend our prayers for his family in this difficult time.”
Other organizations also commented on the passing of the agriculture champion. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said:
“Agriculture has lost a champion whose life’s work was dedicated to improving the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers across our great country. Bill Northey was a tireless advocate and insightful leader at the state and national levels. He was also a dear friend whom I’ll miss. I know I’m joined by farmers and ranchers across the country in mourning his passing.”
Todd Barker, CEO of Meridian Institute, which leads the AGree Initiative, released the following statement honoring the life and impact of Bill Northey:
“The impact that Bill Northey had on our farming communities, Iowa, and our country will never be forgotten. A farmer through and through, Bill was a reliable voice for our work at AGree and helped ensure producers were always a priority. Bill was an innovator on and off the farm and he brought this knowledge to bear in every collaboration. AGree is deeply saddened by this news and sends our condolences to his family. The world lost a resolute advocate and a good man today.”
Harold Wolle, president of National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), released the following statement expressing condolences after the passing of Bill, who served as president of the NCGA board from 1995 to 1996.
“We are deeply saddened by Bill Northey’s untimely passing. Our staff and leaders worked very closely with Bill, as did our Iowa corn growers, and we all agree that he was not only an incredibly kind human being but also an effective advocate who worked his way up to some of the highest echelons of government. He made a difference for the agricultural community every step of the way. His loss will be felt deeply from the halls of D.C. to the fields of the Midwest.”
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to GoServ Global or the Bill Northey Memorial Fund in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University. Specific information can be found here.
Many in the agriculture industry and beyond also shared their condolences and reaction to Bill Northey’s passing on X (formerly Twitter):
I am extremely saddened to learn of the unexpected passing of Bill Northey, former Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, who I have known for decades and who has been a lifelong champion, personally and professionally, for Iowa’s and all of America’s farmers.
— Secretary Tom Vilsack (@SecVilsack) February 5, 2024
I am in shock at the news of Bill’s unexpected passing. Jaime and I send our deepest and sincerest condolences to Cindy and the entire Northey family.
Bill was a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a farmer.
He loved Iowa and he loved Iowa agriculture. pic.twitter.com/frokeOjjFV
— Mike Naig (@MikeNaigIA) February 5, 2024
Sometimes life is hard. Yesterday was one of those days. We lost a great one with the passing of Bill Northey. He was an amazing leader and tireless advocate for U.S. agriculture & the State of Iowa. May God bless & comfort his family. RIP Bill
— Ken Isley (@IsleyKen) February 6, 2024
‘Agriculture Has Lost a Champion’: Honoring Former Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey
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Author: Matt Hopkins