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Lodwick, Seeley G.

Published onAug 20, 2021
Lodwick, Seeley G.

(Oct. 19, 1920 – July 16, 2006)

Quick Facts

Alumnus Seeley Lodwick, as the nation’s highest agricultural trade official, inaugurated the Beijing offices for American wheat, feed grains, and soybean growers.


Lodwick was born October 19, 1920 at Evanston, Ill., the son of William G. Lodwick and Florence Seeley Lodwick. He graduated from New Trier High School in Winnetka, Ill. in 1938. Lodwick received his bachelors in agricultural economics, history and government in 1942 from Iowa State College, now Iowa State University.

He was a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, serving during World War II from 1942 - 1945. He earned second lieutenancy and served three years active duty, including over two years with First Marine Division as field artillery firing battery officer.

On July 28, 1945, he married Helen "Pat" Barbre at Webster Groves, Mo. They would go on to have three daughters, Barbara Rossow, Margery Tuttle, and Helen Gerber. 

For several years, Iowa farmer and businessman Seeley G. Lodwick represented the US in delicate negotiations and trade talks with foreign governments. He was Director of the Farm and Food Division of Bush Reagan Committee in 1980 and Assistant Secretary of U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1981-1983. One of the international trading doors Lodwick helped open was in the People’s Republic of China in August 1982. As the nation’s highest agricultural trade official, Lodwick inaugurated the Beijing offices for American wheat, feed grains, and soybean growers. He forecast increased trade as the three offices worked closely with Chinese customers by providing technical information about things like processing and utilization of American-grown commodities. This is a sample of the contributions Lodwick made as a representative and official of various high state and federal government posts.

Lodwick’s years of service include winning a seat in the Iowa Senate where hew as first elected as a 42-year-old from Green Bay Farms southeast of Wever on the flood plains of the Mississippi River. Then in 1969, when he was 48, his career changed, thanks to a federal appointment as the director of conservation and land-use for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service in the Nixon Administration.

Later, he served as the key assistant to U.S. Senator Roger Jepsen of Iowa before resigning to head up the farm and food division in the Reagan-Bush presidential campaign in 1980. This led to a 1981 appointment as Reagan’s U.S. Assistant Secretary of Agriculture in charge of international commodity programs. In this job Lowick had to deal with officials of the former Soviet Union, Canada and other nations involved in sensitive agricultural trade talks and negotiations with the u.S.

After resigning from the USDA, Lodwick was nominated by President Reagan for a seat on the International Trade Commission. This appointment came at a time when US pork industry interests filed an unfair trade complaint against Canada because of imports of live hogs and pork. Lodwick excused himself from hearings held in Iowa concerning the Canadian import issue to avoid conflict of interest since his home state was a major pork-producer.

Lodwick returned after leaving the international trade agency to Iowa and the management of his family farm. Seeley G. Lodwick, 85 years, died July 16, 2006 at his home.

Selections of text republished with permission from Iowans who made a difference: 150 years of agricultural progress by Don Muhm and Virginia Wadsley, published by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, 1996.

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