A Note to Farmers from Secretary Naig to close out National Ag Week

Guest post by Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture

Happy National Ag Week! This annual event is a great opportunity to say thank you to the farmers and agribusinesses who provide food and fuel for all of us. This past year reminded everyone what we, in agriculture, already know. Agriculture is essential to our livelihood, our food chain and our state’s economy.

My roots are in agriculture. I was born and raised on a crop and livestock farm in Cylinder, Iowa. The agriculture community shaped who I am and I still plant and harvest our family farm every year. But nothing makes me more proud than taking my wife and three boys to the family farm to teach them about agriculture and caring for our land. Latham Seeds celebrates food and family every Friday on this blog, The Field Position so I’m sharing the below recipe for Kringla, a favorite treat in my family.

Naig Family Farm Photo

During the past few days of National Ag Week I’ve been visiting farmers, agribusinesses and food security organizations across the state to say “thank you” for your contributions. This past year was not easy, but it highlighted the creativity, resilience and generosity of Iowa’s agriculture community.

Beef Up Iowa Donation ISU Meats Lab

There are two very special organizations I’d like to recognize this week — the Iowa State University Meats Lab and the Iowa Food Bank Association. These organizations went to extraordinary efforts to help livestock producers overcome supply chain disruptions and feed hungry Iowans during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a thank you, it’s my pleasure to present the Secretary’s Ag Leader Awards to both of these organizations.

The ISU Meats Lab, and the Iowa Food Bank Association and its six regional food banks, played vital roles in the state’s food security initiatives, including Pass the Pork, Beef Up Iowa, Pack the Pantry and Turkey to Table. These programs were developed by the Governor’s Feeding Iowans Task Force in the spring of 2020, in part, to help livestock producers market their protein when the COVID-19 pandemic reduced meat processing capacity at the state’s large processing facilities. Through these programs, 1.75 million servings of Iowa-raised pork, beef and turkey were delivered to the food bank and food pantry feeding programs.


Iowa Food Bank Deliveries

I believe the Iowa agriculture community can continue leading important conversations and tackling difficult issues. Foreign animal disease prevention and planning, generating demand for renewable fuels, and scaling-up soil health and water quality projects continue to be my priorities.

As we spend this week thanking the farmers who work tirelessly to feed and fuel us, we must also recognize their businesses must be financially and environmentally sustainable to continue doing so.

That’s one reason why I’m working to establish a value-added agriculture grant program. If the funding is approved, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will provide grants that incentivize producers to explore new product offerings, production methods and marketing opportunities to help them be more profitable.

The Department is also investing in conservation programs that improve soil health and water quality, and we’re learning more about the new carbon markets. These market-based systems create revenue streams for farmers and landowners who invest in carbon-sequestration practices. This is one way farmers and landowners can build upon the conservation efforts underway across the state.

These are just two examples of the programs designed to give the Iowa agriculture community the resources it needs to continue its legacy of innovation. I am confident that the creativity and resiliency that served agriculture well in the past, will continue to drive innovation, environmental stewardship and profitability into the next decade and beyond.

Thank you for your contributions to the Iowa agriculture community. I hope you’ve enjoyed National Ag Week, you certainly deserve it.

  • Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture


Recipe by Submitted by Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig

  • Prep 2 hours
  • Cook 8-10 min per pan


1 tsp baking soda
1 C sour cream
1 egg
1 C sugar
1/2 C milk
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 1/4 C flour


Mix sour cream and baking soda.

Beat egg, add sugar and milk and stir into sour cream mixture.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt.  Combine with egg and sour cream mixture.

Cover bowl and chill in refrigerator for 1 hour until dough is sticky.

Heat oven to 350°

On a floured surface, roll dough into 8 inch logs and form into pretzel or figure eight shape and place on cookie sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until just brown on top.  Do not overbake. Cool on a wire rack.