DeSantis Proposes Moving USDA To Iowa

As part of his campaign theme of decentralizing and shrinking the federal government bureaucracy, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) vowed on Saturday that he would move the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to Iowa if he is elected president next year.

His comments came on the last stop in his “Full Grassley” tour of the Hawkeye State. The reference is to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who has held a seat from the state in the Senate since 1981. Grassley visits every county in Iowa every calendar year, a feat that DeSantis matched in 2023 with his speech on Saturday.

DeSantis’s strategic move to promise a shift in the USDA’s operations stands in context with his campaign pledges to significantly reduce the federal government’s footprint inside the Washington, D.C., beltway.

As part of his plan to reduce the size and scope of the federal government, DeSantis said, “We have to take power out of Washington, D.C., and send it to other parts of the country.” Moving the USDA to Iowa would fit well with that plan, as it would align the federal government more closely with local agricultural interests in America’s heartland.

The Florida governor told the Iowa crowd: “You guys will have first dibs on the Department of Agriculture. We’ll send it to Iowa, and you guys can take care of it.”

The proposal has been met with enthusiasm by local and federal Iowa politicians. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said moving the USDA to her state would benefit the agency and the constituency it serves. “There’s no better place to put USDA because there’s no one who knows farming better than Iowans,” she said.

Commenting on completing his Full Grassley tour of all 99 counties in Iowa, DeSantis said, “Iowa will begin the revival of the United States of America.” This refers directly to the state’s critical position as the first state to vote in the GOP primary season.

Along with the rest of the field of Republican contenders, DeSantis is searching for a strategy that could make up any ground on President Donald Trump, who is running away from the pack in all polls of likely primary voters. In that vein, Family Leader president and CEO Bob Vander Plaats said, “Voting for Ron DeSantis is not against Donald Trump. It is about the future of our country.”