Iowa's New Soil Conservation and Water Quality Division Director

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has hired Susan Kozak as division director for Soil Conservation and Water Quality.

“Our economy is dependent upon agriculture, and agriculture is dependent upon our natural resources,” said Secretary Naig. “I am confident Susan will provide strong leadership as we continue to implement the state’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy, build on our rich history of soil conservation, and increase our focus on water quality. Susan is the right person to nurture key partnerships that help us execute our conservation work.”

Kozak’s appointment follows a recommendation from the State Soil Conservation and Water Quality Committee. By statute, the committee recommends three candidates to the Secretary of Agriculture.

Kozak joined the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship as an environmental specialist in the Mines and Minerals Bureau in 2008. She was appointed the Mines and Minerals Bureau Chief in 2014, and has been serving as the Acting Division Director for Soil Conservation and Water Quality since January 2018. Kozak works closely with the State Soil Conservation and Water Quality Committee, is a leader with the Monarch Conservation Consortium, and is the current Secretary/Treasurer for the National Association of Abandoned Mine Land Programs.

Since Kozak stepped into the Acting Division Director role last year, she has provided leadership for the state’s Water Quality Initiative (WQI) and other soil conservation programs. The WQI was established during the 2013 legislative session to help implement the state’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy. The WQI seeks to harness the collective ability of both private and public resources and organizations to support Iowans as they implement practices to reduce nutrient loss and improve water quality.  

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead this team of conservation experts, who are very passionate about their work and ensuring the wise use of our soil, water and mineral resources,” said Kozak. “I am excited to continue our outreach efforts with the 100 Soil and Water Conservation Districts across the state and our many other conservation partners.”

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