In the 2014 race for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, incumbent Bill Northey will square off against Democratic challenger Sherrie Taha.
Taha's campaign focuses on three issues: improving soil health, managing water quality statewide, and reintegrating local food production into local economies.
A Creston native, Taha currently serves as a Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner in Polk County; a position she says gives her a unique perspective on Iowa's agriculture sector, both in the field and behind the scenes. Even though she was never a farmer herself.
"Being a commissioner for the Polk county soil and water conservation district kind of enables me to get a handle on what specific kind of cost-share programs are available for those on the ground practices." She says, "And really have a better understanding for just an intellectual standpoint from a policy standpoint. That makes a big difference."
Soil conservation and water quality are not just two main focuses for Taha's campaign, but also for current Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. Taha alleges Northey could have done more to lead the charge on conservation in both areas.
"I hate to point fingers but quite honestly, if I'd been farming all my life, I'd be kind of embarrassed," Taha says. "[Northey] was a Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner, so there's a certain amount of conservation ethic you expect from someone who's been a life-long farmer and in that position. He tried cover crops for the first time in his career this last fall. And I think that's good that he tried them, but at the same time [it's] kind of an embarrassment that he wouldn't have tried that before."
This year's primary election is set for June 3rd, and the general election will be held November 4th.