Secretary Mike Naig: Celebrating a Champion – Iowa Agriculture

Tis the season for March Madness and celebrating champions.

Earlier this month at the state tournaments for Iowa high school girls and boys basketball, schools from every corner of Iowa were crowned as state champions, the culmination of a season of hard work, hours of practice, and unmatched tenacity. Now with college basketball’s tournaments taking center stage, Iowans have a lot to cheer for in the weeks ahead as Iowa State, Iowa, and Drake, as well as many of our smaller colleges, compete for bragging rights, championships and glory.

Mike Niag Headshot

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig

In addition to celebrating our teams this month, we also celebrate Iowa agriculture during Iowa Ag Week from March 17 to 23. Iowa agriculture has long been a champion for consumers, near and far, providing high quality and reliable food, fuel, and fiber.

National Ag Day on March 19 and Iowa Ag Week are the perfect opportunities for all of Iowa to shine a bright light on the industry that we know and love. And we certainly have a lot to celebrate.

When it comes to agricultural production, Iowa is punching well above its weight. The recently released Census of Agriculture pegs the value of Iowa crops and livestock at nearly $44 billion annually. That ranks us second in the country, only behind California, which has nearly three times the land and more than 12 times the population. Iowa ranks first in production for several commodities including corn, eggs, pork, ethanol, and biodiesel, and ranks highly in soybeans, beef, dairy and turkey.

Agriculture is our state’s top industry, fueling economic growth across the state and creating thousands of well-paying jobs and careers. Approximately one in five Iowans are employed directly because of agriculture, including many who live in our small towns and rural communities.

Iowa farmers are incredibly efficient, relentlessly innovative, and always looking for ways to be more sustainable and produce more with less. We are continually adding value to the commodities we grow, whether that’s turning a bushel of corn or soybeans into livestock feed or a homegrown biofuel.

I’m proud of Iowa farmers’ achievements in production, as well as their commitment to protecting our state’s rich natural resources, including our soil and water. In 2023, for the second year in a row, we set a record for adoption of conservation practices. And we want to keep breaking records, which is why public and private partners across Iowa are focused on accelerating the implementation of proven practices.

And as we celebrate Iowa Ag Week, we are also giving back to our communities through community involvement and volunteer service. This week, my team at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is volunteering at the Food Bank of Iowa. I’ve also invited the Iowa ag community, including our farm groups, commodity associations, agribusinesses, conservation partners and others, to give back in their own unique way.

Please join me this week as we celebrate Iowa agriculture and the hard-working men and women who keep our agriculture winning day in and day out. I’ve always said if you want a strong Iowa, you need a strong agriculture. Like the championship teams on the court, Iowa farmers are committed to putting in the time and effort and giving it their all to keep Iowa agriculture successful.

Happy National Ag Day and Iowa Ag Week!

Recipe by Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig



  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 C. sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C. sugar
  • ½ C. milk
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3¼ 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°F.
  • 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.