USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager Wednesday announced his resignation from the agency. Tonsager served the USDA for 12 years.
"I have decided to move on to the next chapter in my life," Tonsager said in a press statement. " I am enormously proud of USDA's record accomplishments – especially those of my colleagues at Rural Development. Leading this group of 5,000 talented men and women has been an honor."
In his tenure with the USDA, Tonsager served as South Dakota state director for Rural Development from 1993-2001. From 2004 to 2009, he was on the board of directors for the Farm Credit Administration, and in May, 2009 was appointed RD Under Secretary. Part of his duties as Under Secretary included furthering homegrown energy production, providing affordable housing and boosting rural businesses.
"Dallas Tonsager's efforts as Under Secretary for Rural Development have helped increase opportunity for thousands of rural families, businesses and communities. Dallas's service to the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the Obama Administration was the latest part of a distinguished career of service to agriculture and rural America. I'm proud of the work we have achieved together and I wish Dallas the best in his future endeavors," USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.
According to his USDA biography, Tonsager grew up on a dairy farm near Oldham, S.D., and has been involved in the family diversified farm operations since 1976. He graduated from South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science in agriculture in 1976. He was also involved with the National Farmers Union and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
"As someone who has spent a lifetime working to strengthen rural America, I am excited about the future of farm country," Tonsager concluded. "My sincere thanks to President Obama and Secretary Vilsack for providing me this opportunity. I look forward to collaborating with them and all of my friends as we continue to serve rural America."
Tonsager's resignation comes just weeks after the resignation of USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan.