Johnson and his family have owned and operated Oneota Slopes Farm
near Decorah, Iowa since 1974. Their operation has involved dairy,
corn, soybeans, hay, beef cattle, sheep, and Christmas trees.
Mr. Johnson served three terms in the Iowa State Legislature from
1984-1990, and was Chief of the Soil Conservation Service (now the
Natural Resources Conservation Service) at USDA from 1993-1997. He
served as the Director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Mr. Johnson earned a BS (1966) and MS (1969) in Forestry from
the University of Michigan and conducted doctoral research in tropical
forest ecology in Costa Rica. He holds an honorary doctorate from
Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana from 1962-1964.
Mr. Johnson served two terms on the National Research Council's
Board on Agriculture from 1988-1993 where he reviewed the NRC report
on Alternative Agriculture and took part in the development of
the National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program. Mr.
Johnson served as an ex-officio member on the Committee on Long
Range Soil and Water Conservation Policy from 1990-93 and helped
implement many of its recommendations while Chief of NRCS.