Tonsager to Leave USDA Rural Development Post May 3

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USDA Undersecretary of Rural Development Dallas Tonsager has announced that he will leave his post as head of the department May 3.

Tonsager, a native South Dakotan, says he does not plan to retire but will seek other opportunities in the public or private sectors. He was appointed by President Barack Obama as the Undersecretary for Rural Development in 2009.

"Dallas Tonsager has dedicated his life to public service and improving rural America," said SDFU President Doug Sombke after hearing of Tonsager's planned departure. "When Dallas took over as the head of USDA Rural Development, we were extremely proud because he's a South Dakota and a former president of our organization. It's been such a pleasure to work with him over the past four years as he has led USDA Rural Development. Although we're saddened to hear that he won't continue in his current position, we thank Dallas for his service and wish him and his wife Sharon all the best in their future endeavors." 

A former president of South Dakota Farmers Union, Tonsager served in that capacity from 1988-1993. He was then appointed by President Bill Clinton to head the South Dakota USDA Rural Development department as its state director. He served in that capacity until 2001. He was the executive director of the South Dakota Value-Added Agriculture Development Center from 2002-2004 and was on the board of directors for the Farm Credit Administration from 2004-2009.

Tonsager grew up on a dairy farm near Oldham and has been involved in the diversified farm operations since 1976. He graduated from South Dakota State University with a degree in agriculture in 1976. Dallas and his wife, Sharon, have two sons.

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