Denise O'Brien is a Democrat who ran for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, but lost to Bill Northey, see Iowa Statewide elections, 2006. She and her husband Larry Harris have operated a family farm near Atlantic, Iowa since 1976, where they raise poultry, apples, and strawberries using organic practices. She is currently Executive Director of Women Food and Agriculture Network, the nonprofit education and farm advocacy organization she helped found in 1994. She and Larry have three children, daughter Briana, (27), and son Trevor, (25) and Caia (23).
In 2005, Denise was a delegate to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's Committee on Agriculture in Rome, Italy. She is a past president of the Iowa Association of County Conservation Boards.