Five problems a Monsanto lobbyist won't help Bill Northey solve

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced yesterday that he has hired Mike Naig as the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s new deputy secretary. In the press release I’ve posted after the jump, Northey praised Naig as a “tremendous asset” and a “natural fit” for IDALS. Naig has spent the last 13 years working for Big Ag companies or trade associations, most recently as a state lobbyist for Monsanto.

While Naig helps the agriculture department be “accessible to Iowans by traveling regularly” to meetings, and assists in managing the IDALS budget and personnel, Northey will continue to ignore some big problems facing Iowa farmers. Research has implicated Monsanto’s genetically-modified “Roundup ready” seeds and/or glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup herbicide, in the following trends:

the accelerated evolution of herbicide-resistant weeds;

“sudden death syndrome,” a crop disease affecting soybeans;

“harmful changes in soil” and possibly a “fungal root disease” in conventional crops;

digestive problems in hogs fed a diet of GM crops;

other diseases and reproductive problems observed in swine and cattle fed a diet containing Roundup ready corn and soybeans.

But never mind all that.

Speaking of government officials with their heads in the sand, you won’t hear anything from the Iowa Department of Public Health about the risks of glyphosate exposure in humans. Nevertheless, research has linked the key ingredient in Roundup herbicide to breast cancer, birth defects, obesity and other “diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet.”  

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship press release, August 21:


DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced that Mike Naig has been hired as the new Deputy Secretary for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.    He will start with the Department on September 4.

“Mike will be a tremendous asset to the Department and I’m glad he agreed to join our team,” Northey said.  “His background and experience make him a natural fit for the Department.”

Naig previously served as Manager of State and Local Government Affairs for Monsanto.  He has been active in the agribusiness industry for over 13 years, also having served in public policy roles for CropLife America based in Washington, DC; the Agribusiness Association of Iowa; and, the Iowa Biotechnology Association.

As Deputy Secretary, Naig will assist in management responsibilities for the Department focused on the areas of personnel and budget.  He will also support the Department’s efforts to be accessible to Iowans by traveling regularly to represent the Department at meetings across the state.

“It is an honor to join Secretary Northey and the team at the Department.  I look forward to supporting the important work of the Department to promote Iowa agriculture, serve Iowans and protect our natural resources,” said Naig.

Naig grew up on a farm near Cylinder in Northwest Iowa and is a graduate of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, with degrees in biology and political science.  He and his wife Jaime have two boys.

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