John R Whitaker served as the Iowa State Executive Director of USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Appointed by President Obama in the summer of 2009, Mr. Whitaker oversaw the delivery of Federal farm programs as enacted by Congress. These programs included disaster assistance, conservation, commodity and price support programs and farm loans and were designed to improve the economic stability of the agricultural industry and to help farmers adjust production to meet demand. These programs were delivered by 100 local county offices throughout Iowa.
Mr. Whitaker was elected to 7 years in the Iowa House of Representatives and served as an Assistant Minority Leader and served as an Assistant Majority Leader while in office. During his time in the Iowa Legislature, he also served on the Agriculture, Transportation, Natural Resources, Environmental Protection, Public Safety, and Administrative Rules Committees. He also served 10 years on the Van Buren County Board of Supervisors, chairing the Board during a portion of that time.
His affiliations have included the Iowa Farmers Union, serving as Vice President and later President. He also enjoys membership in the Hillsboro Baptist Church, Pheasants Forever and Ducks Unlimited.
Mr. Whitaker earned two Bachelor of Science degrees from Iowa State University, one in Animal Science and the other in Agricultural Education. After graduating from Iowa State, he began farming near Hillsboro, Iowa. He currently farms for Niman Ranch with his brother Bruce in Van Buren and Henry counties. Niman Ranch is an all natural, hormone free, antibiotic free system which allows the hogs continual outdoor access and relies on deep bedding for waste control. For more information, on Niman Ranch visit their website here. He and his wife Lorrie, currently live in Polk City and have three adult children, Gabe, Daniel, and Becca and two granddaughters.