In recognition of Honorable Mike Johanns agricultural leadership, the World Food Prize has commissioned a portrait to be featured in the Hall of Laureates Iowa Gallery. Secretary Johanns was the fifth Iowan to serve as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. His portrait by the Iowa artist Larassa Kabel will hang in the Iowa Gallery with those of the other four Iowans who have held that office: “Tama Jim” Wilson, E.T. Meredith, Henry C. Wallace and Henry A. Wallace. The portrait of the Hon. Tom Vilsack, the sixth Iowan to serve as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, is currently being completed.
A native of Iowa, the Honorable Mike Johanns’ life is rooted in agriculture, starting with his childhood growing up and working on his family’s dairy farm in Osage in Mitchell County. He was 40 miles west of Norman Borlaug’s boyhood home near Cresco.
Like Dr. Borlaug, Secretary Johanns attended college in Minnesota, and then received a law degree at Creighton University in Omaha. His distinguished political career centered in Nebraska, where he served as Mayor of Lincoln, the 38th Governor of Nebraska, and from 2005-2007 U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. In 2008, he was elected as U.S. Senator from Nebraska, serving until his retirement in 2015. He and his wife Stephanie reside in Lincoln.