Many were shocked this week to learn of the loss of a founding board member of the Egg Industry Center, Bill Northey. Northey was the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture when the Egg Industry Center was founded in 2008. He served on its board until he left Iowa to join the USDA as Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation in 2017. Northey ensured that he or his staff engaged often through his ex-officio role on the EIC advisory board to provide updates on important on-farm and policy issues affecting farmers locally and nationally.
EIC witnessed Northey's legacy as an endlessly dedicated advocate for all farmers. Comments this week issued by current EIC Board Members include the following:
Daniel J. Robison, Endowed Dean's Chair of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences - "It is with great sadness that I write to let you know about the sudden unexpected passing of our friend, colleague, mentor, alum, CALS-family member, and agricultural leader extraordinaire Bill Northey. Bill touched so many lives, so positively and impactfully..." As a distinguished alumnus and friend of the college, Northey was awarded the Henry A. Wallace Award in October 2022 for his notable professional achievements at the state and national levels.
Dr. Hongwei Xin, former Egg Industry Center Director and Endowed Professor (now Dean, Director, and Professor at UT AgResearch) - "I am profoundly saddened and shocked by the news. A tremendous servant and visionary leader, Bill had done so much for agriculture in Iowa and the nation. He will be truly missed." Xin and Northey worked together and sat beside one another on TV as they faced the state and the nation, explaining the impact and next steps of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreak in 2015.
Kevin Stiles, Iowa Egg Council and North Central Poultry Association Executive Director - " Bill was a thoughtful leader, consensus builder and a great champion of agriculture for many years...Bill continued to engage on issues related to the egg and poultry industry in his current role with the Agribusiness Association of Iowa." Stiles also shared that during Northey's time at USDA, he was a great help to the liquid/processed egg farmers who struggled through the market challenges of COVID in 2020.
EIC will never forget the leadership and service Bill provided for egg farmers across this nation, and we extend our deepest sympathies to Bill's family. Northey's obituary can be found here.