OSKALOOSA — Republican Secretary of Agriculture candidate Craig Lang, is a fifth-generation Poweshiek County farmer.
Lang has served as Farm Bureau president for 10 years as well as President of the Board of Regents and a variety of other agriculture-related positions in Iowa. As Secretary of Agriculture, Lang said he wants to focus on soil health, water quality and economic development across the entire state.
"I'd like to see the Dept. of Agriculture be a lot more active in that area, just creating jobs," he said. I did this in Farm Bureau with economic development. That's why we created Renew Rural Iowa, that went out and worked with innovators with new ideas to start a business."
The past 10 years under Bill Northey, Lang said, good things have happened with the focus on soil conservation. It could be much more, he said, by co-sponsoring bills and looking for opportunities for different kinds of crops.
"We won't change the commodity growth of soybeans and corn," he said. "That's always going to be there. It's pretty well-stationed. But we need to create healthier soils across the state."
By creating healthier soils, nutrients are retained, Lang said.
"And healthy soils are easy to understand, especially here in this part of Iowa that has more livestock," he said. "Healthy soils cannot be created with commercial fertilizer."
Lang talked about diversifying the landscape with more alfalfa and more small grains as well as doubling the cattle industry as well as reducing nutrients in the water.
"We could show we could lead that. Expand the watershed projects," he said. "And then see the soil health which creates wealth, the water quality which gets better, and the creating jobs can all fit together."
People want to see farmers and their communities do well, Lang said.
"We can't rely only on the farmer for the community to do well," he said. "The community itself has to take ownership. And some of these manufacturing opportunities that will take place in the future."
Lang is running, he said, because he can't see his vision for Iowa happening by sitting at home in retirement.
"I can't sit at home and say soil health needs to be part of the focus of the nutrient reduction strategy and accomplish anything. So I expect to win, I want to win and get in the general election to carry this vision out," he said. "I have some wonderful grandkids that I'd like to see be the seventh generation to farm my great-great grandfather's farm."
Lang said he is ready, willing and anxious to serve.
"I want to have a place where Iowa is a destination, regardless of whether you're in Lyon County or Lee County," he said. "I want a destination and I want an opportunity for young people to work in the state."
Managing Editor Angie Holland can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @OskyAngie.