DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - Agribusiness Reporter David Geiger sits down for a Q&A with newly elected Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig.
David Geiger: What is your message for Iowans now that you are the official Iowa Secretary of Agriculture?
Mike Naig: "Right, well I tell you, first of all it's just a tremendous honor to have a chance to serve as Secretary of Agriculture. What an amazing experience to get a chance to represent the greatest farmers, businesses in the world and I've just enjoyed the opportunity over the last eight months to serve in the role, to travel to all 99 counties. And then layer on top of that a chance to campaign for the office to seek election for a full four year term. Just again, a tremendous honor. I've had a great experience, enjoyed connecting to Iowans and now we're excited to get to work."
David Geiger: Speaking of that, you do have a four year term ahead of you. What are your goals and hopes for the next four years?
Mike Naig: "You know, we talked a lot about in this campaign and really these issues come directly from going out, visiting with Iowans, hearing what's on their minds. You know, we talked a lot about the need to really focus on the future and making sure we've got the conditions that allow our businesses and our farmers a chance to thrive and grow. So, to be successful in the future we've got to have markets for our products. Both international and domestic. Talk a lot about trade and the need to make sure we're playing offense on trade. The need to hold our trading partners accountable like China. We're seeing some momentum here, we need to see more progress. Making sure that domestic markets for our products. Livestock, renewable fuels. These are important domestic markets for it. Then also thinking about making sure we're taking care of our natural resources. I've spent a lot of time in my time at the department here. You know, thinking about natural resources, soil health, water quality. You know, it's really the basis of agriculture and agriculture's the basis of our economy. So, we've got to make sure we're doing that to be productive. And then the final piece is really talking a lot about and hearing from farmers and business about the challenge of finding the work force they need. To feel the jobs that are available today. Then we also need to think about the jobs that will be available tomorrow. Those are the things we need to stay focused on and I'm excited about the chance to now have a full four year term to try and make some progress on those areas."
David Geiger: Now, to help you along with that, you do have a Republican governor, House, and Senate. Do you think the party together is going to be able to push for more of those goals that you mentioned in agriculture?
Mike Naig: "Absolutely, you know, again, regardless of who controls congress, or who's in the variety of places in government, we have a job to do and that's to represent Iowa agriculture and so, I am very, very happy that I get the chance to work alongside Governor Reynolds, and with the Republican majorities in the House and Senate. But we'll work across our congressional delegation again, to make sure we're on the mission of representing Iowa agriculture. Trying to move us in the right direction. So I'm excited to, and committed to working with whoever we need to here in the state level, also in the federal level to accomplish those goals."