Craig Lang, a Poweshiek County dairy farmer who has served as president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Financial during one of its most-challenging eras, said today he will run for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture in 2018 to help lead the state to resolve the pressing issues of water quality, soil loss and a stagnant rural economy.
“We’re all in this together, as Iowans, and I believe our best opportunity for success is by working together to get things done,” said Lang, a former president of the State Board of Regents. “We can be doing a lot more for our state if we bring together the public and private sectors, rural and urban, business and farm interests, our public universities and private colleges to achieve all three goals: cleaner water, healthy soils and a stronger rural economy. “One way to achieve better health in the soil and improve the economy is by working to create more diversity in Iowa agriculture.”
Lang, who has been farming nearly four decades, will seek the Republican nomination for the post held by Bill Northey since January 2007. He will make a formal announcement tour at a later date. Northey, a Republican in his third term as agriculture secretary, received Senate Agriculture Committee confirmation Thursday as a U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary.
The Lang family, which includes Craig’s brother, father and two sons, who are the family’s sixth generation of farmers, milk 650 cows, farm 1,200 acres and run a cow/calf beef operation.
While vowing to bring together diverse groups to bolster Iowa’s agriculture sector, Lang also promised to encourage and stand up for all farmers and agribusinesses. “The fact is, there are groups that want to attack production agriculture, particularly our livestock and poultry growers, and I’ll be a strong and supporting voice to make sure we set the record straight.”
Lang was one of the longest serving leaders of both the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, where he served as president from 2001 through 2011, and the FBL Financial Group, where he served as chairman of the board for a concurrent term. He also was chairman of the Grow Iowa Values Fund and, under Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, vice chair of the Iowa Economic Development Board.
In addition to being a family farmer, Lang is president of The Prairie Strategy Group, a company engaged in identifying and solving complex challenges in food production, policy and logistics. Lang is recognized nationally and internationally as a consultant for rural economic development, consensus and opportunity building. While working with the Ministry of Agriculture on agriculture bio-technology in China, Lang signed the first-ever non-governmental organization memorandum of understanding with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology on behalf of the Iowa Farm Bureau.
Lang and his wife, Mary, have four grown children and seven grandchildren.