S.D. farmer confirmed to Farm Credit board
WASHINGTON -- The Senate on March 9 confirmed Dallas Tonsager, a South Dakota Democrat, to serve on the Farm Credit Administration board. This will be Tonsager's second period of service on the board of the FCA, which regulates and examines banks...
WASHINGTON -- The Senate on March 9 confirmed Dallas Tonsager, a South Dakota Democrat, to serve on the Farm Credit Administration board.
This will be Tonsager's second period of service on the board of the FCA, which regulates and examines banks, associations and other entities within the Farm Credit System -- including Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corp. (Farmer Mac). FCA is governed by a three-person board, with members serving six-year terms.
Tonsager was serving as a member of the FCA board for a term that was to expire in 2010, but he resigned in 2009 to become the agriculture undersecretary for rural development in President Barack Obama's administration. He left that position early in 2013 and President Obama nominated him in 2014 for the FCA board.
Tonsager grew up on a dairy farm near Oldham, S.D. He graduated from South Dakota State University with a bachelor's degree in agriculture in 1976.
Between 1987 and 1993, Tonsager served two terms as president of the South Dakota Farmers Union.
In 1993, President Clinton appointed Tonsager to serve as South Dakota's state director for rural development in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Tonsager oversaw a portfolio of housing, business and infrastructure loans in South Dakota, totaling more than $100 million. His term concluded in February 2001.
He later served as executive director of the South Dakota Value-Added Agriculture Development Center in Huron.
National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson applauded the confirmation.
"Dallas exemplifies all the traits of a great leader in professional public service," Johnson said. "His leadership in economic and cooperative development, both at the state and national level, is well recognized. I have no doubt Dallas will serve the Farm Credit Administration with the same enthusiasm and competency as he did during his previous six years in the same position."
During his previous tenure as a board member of the Farm Credit Administration, Tonsager supported passage of a new authority, which allowed Farm Credit System institutions to invest in rural communities across America, opening a way for the system to provide funding to critical access hospitals in rural America, Johnson added.
The Senate also confirmed Jeffery Hall, a Kentucky Republican, to the FCA board. The confirmations were by voice vote.
The confirmations raised the question of who will chair the board. The chair is appointed by the president and is usually a member of the president's party.
Sources close to the situation said Obama's likely pick for chair is Kenneth Spearman, the only incumbent member of the three-person board once Tonsager and Hall are sworn in. The current chair of the board is Jill Long Thompson, a former Democratic representative from Indiana who was appointed by Obama to the board in March 2010 and designated chair and CEO on Nov. 27, 2012. Long Thompson's term has expired. She has continued to serve, but will depart when Tonsager is sworn in.
The other current member is Leland Strom, a Republican from Illinois who was appointed by President George W. Bush on Dec. 12, 2006, and served as chairman and CEO from May 22, 2008, until Long Thompson was designated as chair.
Strom's statutory term has expired, but he will depart when Hall is sworn in.