The South Dakota Corn Growers Association (SDCGA) presented Dallas Tonsager of the Farm Credit Administration with the Most Valuable Player in Agriculture Award at their 23rd Annual Meeting Jan. 10 for the tremendous impacts he has made in the agricultural industry.
The MVP in Agriculture Award recognizes an individual or organization, which has helped achieve common goals and create milestones and advancement in the agricultural industry. This year’s recipient has held key positions both in state and nationally which have positively impacted the way agriculture is conducted.
Tonsager’s vision and leadership ability have been both sought and rewarded by two of our nation’s Presidents and he currently participates on the transition team for President-elect Barak Obama.
Tonsager grew up on a dairy farm near Oldham, S.D., and continues in a family farming partnership with his brother, which includes corn, soybeans, wheat, and hay. He and his wife, Sharon, live in Virginia to make it possible for Tonsager to serve as a board member of the Farm Credit Administration. Tonsager was appointed to the post by President George W. Bush for a 6 year term that that expires May 21, 2010.
As one of just three board members of the FCA, this leader has oversight authority in FCA’s mission to ensure a safe, sound, and dependable source of credit and related services for agriculture and rural America. The organization serves about one-third of the ag credit in the U.S., as well as most of the major ag cooperatives and rural electric systems. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation, which is responsible for ensuring the timely payment of principal and interest on obligations issued on behalf of FCS banks.
Our very own South Dakota success story brings to his position on the FCA Board extensive experience as an agriculture leader and producer and a commitment to promoting and implementing innovative development strategies to benefit rural residents and their communities. As executive director of the South Dakota Value-Added Agriculture Development Center in Huron from 2002 until his appointment to the FCA Board, he coordinated initiatives to better serve producers interested in developing value-added agricultural projects. Services provided by the center include project facilitation, feasibility studies, business planning, market assessment, technical assistance, and education.
In 1993 he was selected by President Clinton to serve as the State director in South Dakota for rural development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In that role he oversaw a diversified portfolio of housing, business, and infrastructure loans in South Dakota totaling more than $100 million. In 1999, he was recognized as one of two outstanding state directors in the nation.
During the most recent Presidential race, Tonsager helped create and served as co-chair for Agriculture and Rural Americans for Obama. He helped develop all of the policy for President-elect Obama on agriculture.
Tonsager simply has had an incredible vision for agriculture, and his voice has always served as an advocate for producers. It is no wonder that Clinton, Bush, and now Obama have all looked to him for leadership in agriculture. South Dakota producers have also been able to utilize his remarkable talent. He always has fought for what he believes in and he has helped shape rural America.
The SDCGA applauds Tonsager for his commitment to agriculture with the MVP in Ag award.