Democrat Iowa Ag Secretary Candidate Points Out USDA Qualifications

Agribusiness Reporter David Geiger sits down with Democrat Candidate for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Tim
Gannon to talk about agriculture.
Q: Why do you think you’re best qualified for the secretary of agriculture position?
A: “I think it’s a combination of my background and my experiences I grew up in a small town during the farm
crisis, my dad owned a John Deere dealership, so I saw first hand the pressures of small businesses involved
in agriculture face. Farm now with my dad and a cousin on a century farm in Jasper County. But I also did work
eight years for Secretary Vilsack at USDA in a variety of positions. So, I gotten to see and experience quite a
bit. But I think I would bring to the job in terms of helping Iowa farmers and Iowa agriculture figure out, how do
we get more money in farmers pockets, because I think that’s what’s most important. I think we need to figure
out the ways we can grow demand for what we already grow or figure out new products or new crops we can
be growing that will help farmers be successful.”
Q: I know I have heard from farmers myself that there’s many who are pleased with how the USDA was run for
the last eight, nine years. How does that affect your leadership style and could you just describe what that will
be?
A: “I think Secretary Vilsack did a great job leading USDA during some difficult budget times. And so, you have
to have a vision for what the department is going to do. In my last job at USDA I was Associate Administrator at
the Risk Management Agency. The number two job there. And we took an agency that after the government
shutdown in 2013 had very low moral. And over the last couple years of the Obama, Vilsack time in office, it
became the highest performing and the highest moral agency at USDA. Measured in part by some surveys
they take of government employees. And that’s because the people there understood what we were doing and
how it impacted farmers and producers and so I would bring that same kind of leadership style to the
department here in Iowa. And make sure that everyone there understands that I will listen to their concerns and
figure out better ways to do things if they have great ideas, same way we did at RMA.”
Q: As Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, you would be in charge of many different departments within IDALS and
that affects not just farmers, but also agribusinesses, which is billions of dollars of Iowa’s economy. What would
you say, not only to the farmers, but also the fertilizer dealers, the seed dealers, manufacturers?
A: “You’re absolutely right, going back to what I said earlier about being the son of a John Deere dealer, I
understand the interplay. Farmers depend on these businesses. Thos businesses also depend on farmers. So,
we have to make sure the farmer succeeds. A lesson I took early on, if farmers weren’t buying tractors, then the
implement dealers weren’t selling tractor. And, for a John Deere dealer, if the John Deere dealers weren’t
selling tractors, that meant the folks in the John Deere factories around our state probably weren't building
tractors. And so that’s kind of a triple whammy to Iowa’s economy there. So, whether it’s seed dealers or
chemical dealers or fertilizer dealers or veterinarians or a whole bunch of parts of the agriculture industry fall
under the purview of the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and I want them all to be
successful.”