Skip to main content

Lang, Craig Allen

Published onJul 30, 2021
Lang, Craig Allen

(May 5, 1951 -)

Quick Facts

Alumnus Craig Lang served as president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation for a decade and served on the Iowa Board of Regents.


Craig Allen Lang had one wish upon graduating from Iowa State University in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in dairy science: “I was determined to be the best dairy farmer in the country and really rarely looked back.”1

That attitude—to be the best and to embrace the future—helped Lang achieve career goals. He served as President of Iowa Farm Bureau Federation from 2001-2011, was appointed to the Iowa Board of Regents in 2007, and served as President from 2011-13. Service also included terms on the Iowa Department of Economic Development and Cattlemen's Beef Board.

Lang was born May 5, 1951, in Grinnell, Iowa. His father Maynard Lang hailed from rural Brooklyn, Iowa, and his mother, Dorothy Beem Lang from Los Angeles. His wife Mary Montgomery Lang also was born in Grinnell. They have four children: Jessica Jo Lang Bloomberg; Chase Ryan Lang; Dane Michael Lang; and Cade Christopher Uhl Lang.

The family lives in rural Brooklyn, Iowa, and operates a three generational diversified crop and livestock farm consisting of 1,300 acres of corn, soybeans, triticale, rye, alfalfa and pasture. The Lang operation also includes 600 dairy cows made up of registered Holsteins, Jerseys and Ayrshires.

Lang credits Iowa State University in helping him define life and career goals. His farm background honed his work ethic. “Success,” he says, “comes from internal determination and hard work.”

Lang decided to make Iowa State his alma mater after meeting the legendary C.F. "Fred" Foreman. A faculty member for 31 years, Foreman helped redesign the husbandry department into the current dairy science discipline. 2 Foreman’s commitment to excellence made an impression on the young Lang. He had been offered scholarships at small schools to play football, but opted for ISU because his teachers nurtured his dream of being the top dairy farmer in the business.

“When you make sound decisions,” Lang said, luck happens. It just so happened that many of Lang’s co-curricular activities served him well later in his career. Lang was a head resident and member of the dairy judging team and Iowa State Singers. “Speaking clearly and organizing my thoughts were important on the judging team,” he recalls. “Singing with a large group helped build teamwork and the importance of practice to achieve excellence. As a head resident I learned organization.”

Clear thinking, public speaking, teamwork and organization were key factors in Lang’s 10-year leadership of the Farm Bureau. In that role he focused on how to improve Iowa’s resources for all citizens, not just Farm Bureau members. “I tried hard to bring value to both rural and urban members and find ways to prove that we shared common values,” such as faith, hard work, family and belief in youth. While Lang was president, the Farm Bureau forged contracts with the Iowa High School Athletic Association and Iowa Girls Union, supporting their organizations. “We also developed our brand, ‘People/Progress/Pride.’ We were the first NGO to sign and contract to work with agriculture scientists in China. Those are just a few of the accomplishments I’m most proud of.”

Those contributions played a role in Gov. Terry Branstad’s appointment of Lang to the Iowa Board of Regents. Lang accepted the position because he believed the Regents needed “determined leadership to help promote the enormous value of our public universities. I worked hard to convince Iowans that the public universities were their assets and the Iowa Legislature must step forward to support the universities’ successes; both financially and scholastically.”

Perhaps Lang’s greatest accomplishments as regent were the restoration of funding from the Iowa Legislature and the transparency task force created to foster trust between citizens and universities.3

The commitment to trust was echoed in his 2012 Commencement Address at ISU. “It took me nearly 30 years to realize the opportunities my education gave me,” he told graduates in Hilton Coliseum.4 “It took me another 10 years to realize that I have a purpose in life that is strongly tied to where I was born and the Iowa State instruction I received. I hope finding your purpose doesn’t take nearly so long. I can without hesitation tell you that working to fulfill your niche in life brings unequaled satisfaction and contentment.”

Patience, he added, “is a key characteristic to finding your niche in life.” Farmers know the true meaning of patience as they cope annually with agricultural challenges from weather to soil erosion.

Lang continues to advocate for Iowa farmers, sharing his believe that while agricultural is thriving, sustainability may be at risk. “I believe a monoculture of corn and soybeans has weakened our ability to create the best future for soils,” he says. “We are depleting valuable nutrients for higher yields of corn and soybeans and too often sacrificing our natural resources for quick profit.” Lang recommends an increase in bovine numbers and a return to rotation in cropping systems, utilizing legumes and grasses that can build the soil’s organic profile.

“With the technology and knowledge we have today there is no reason we can’t provide a richer and better opportunity for our kids and grandkids than what we had,” he says.

Lang’s future plans emphasize family. He wants to help his children be successful in their careers. As of 2013 he has turned down inquiries to run for public office “because I believe I can be of more value to family and friends living and working from rural Brooklyn.”

That said, he added, “I am always ready for a new adventure.”

Selected Sources


Numerous correspondence at Iowa Board of Regents.

No comments here
Why not start the discussion?