Iowa ag secretary candidates unite in opposition to more livestock rules
10 May 2018
The five candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Iowa secretary of agriculture all said Wednesday evening that they’re opposed to any new regulations on the livestock industry.
“I think Iowa farmers are managing livestock better than we ever have,” said Chad Ingels, a Fayette County farmer and member of the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission. “We’re managing manure better than we ever have.”
During a forum in Fort Dodge, Ingels and his opponents, Ray Gaesser, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, Craig Lang, and state Sen. Dan Zumbach, were also united in opposition to the concept of adding more regulatory power to the state’s Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
No sharp differences of opinion on major issues emerged during the forum at Fort Frenzy, 3232 First Ave. S., that was attended by about 100 people.
The forum was sponsored by the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, The Messenger, the Webster County Pork Producers, the Webster County Farm Bureau and Alpha Media Radio.
Longtime Republican Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey was appointed to a position in the United States Department of Agriculture and was finally confirmed by the Senate earlier this year. Naig, who was Northey’s deputy, was appointed to the post on March 5.
Northey’s appointment cleared the way for a crowded primary election ballot. The winner of the June 5 primary will face Democrat Tim Gannon in the November general election.
In the last year, a number of new hog confinement operations have been proposed and approved in the area as a result of the ongoing construction of the Prestage Foods of Iowa plant near Eagle Grove. The candidates were asked Wednesday if they supported any increased regulation on livestock confinements, including a possible moratorium on their construction.
All of the candidates were opposed to that.
Gaesser, an Adams County farmer who has been president of both the Iowa Soybean Association and the American Soybean Association, described livestock production as “the value-added of Iowa agriculture.”