We are ambassadors to the agriculture community. First Dakota National Bank is a leading ag bank because of our First Dakota Ag Advisory Board. Our board serves as a think tank for issues the ag industry faces, and assists with setting strategic direction for the Agri-Business Division of First Dakota National Bank.
The Ag Advisory board membership consists of twelve regular members including nine Agricultural producers and three Agri-Business persons. The board also has two ex-officio members who are selected from state government, Farm Service Agency, or an area land grant university. Members are appointed by the Agri-Business Division Manager at First Dakota National Bank.
Jim Aden, Gothenburg, NE:
Jim returned to the family farm in Gothenburg in 1991, after pursuing a flying career for a couple of years. When Jim returned, he worked aggressively with his father to build their cattle and crop operation. Their operation grew from 1,100 acres to their current operation of 7,000 acres. They grow mostly yellow and white food grade corn for Frito-Lay, with the remaining acres being hay and soybeans.
Todd Bushong, Tulare, SD:
Todd grew up on the family farm near Tulare. He returned to the family farm, after graduating from South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Engineering. Todd loves agriculture, and has a solid understanding of grain infrastructure, origination and how the trends in production agriculture affect both. He has commercial hunting interests, and has worked with conservation and wildlife groups.
Dr. Barry H Dunn, ex-officio member, South Dakota State University:
Dr. Barry Dunn currently serves as President of South Dakota State University in Brookings. His love of agriculture and ranching began on his family’s ranch near Mission, SD. During that time, he worked with the conservation district and Extension Service to start the original “Bootstraps” group. Barry was recognized with the Governor George Mickelson’s Award for starting the “Bootstraps program”. Barry went on to receive his PhD in Animal Science from SDSU and from 2004 - 2010, he was the Executive Director and Endowed Chair of the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management at Texas A&M University. While there, he was awarded with the Texas A&M Kingsville “Excellence in Teaching”. He has served on the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council, was Dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences at SDSU from 2010 – 2016, and was the first Endowed Dean at SDSU.
Steve Eichacker, Salem, SD:
Steve grew up in the Salem area and has been involved in production agriculture all his life. He currently lives on the third generation farm, where he has been since 1983. Steve raises beef cattle, focusing on simmental, sim/angus, and red angus cattle. With their beef cattle operation, they have a production sale every spring. He also farms several thousand acres of tillable ground. Steve was involved in dairy production until 1981.
Bill Even, Humboldt, SD:
Bill and his family own and operate a fourth-generation diversified crop and livestock operation near Humboldt, raising corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa, and cattle. Bill is currently Senior Manager in Government, Community and Industry Relations with Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a DuPont Business. His duties include national industry relations, biofuels business engagement, global agricultural policy and agricultural sustainability policy for Pioneer.
Denny Everson, Yankton, SD:
Denny is passionate about Agriculture. He managed the First Dakota Ag Division team from 1984 - 2010. He retired from First Dakota National Bank in 2012. He led the growth of the Agri-Business Dvision at First Dakota from $750,000 to $235 million in loans. He earned his bachelor of science degree in animal science and agronomy from South Dakota State University. Denny has served on many ag related boards and committees. He was instrumental in the developing the South Dakota Ag and Rural Leadership program (SDARL). Denny is a true advocate for Agriculture.
Pam Geppert, Kimball, SD:
Pam has lived and worked on the family farm her entire life. In 1990, she started DakotaFarmTalk radio program which provides radio media reports for seven ag organizations in South Dakota. Prior to 1990, she worked for WOWO radio in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She is a member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters. In 2011, she was awarded the media award from the South Dakota Pork Council. She currently serves on the South Dakota State Fair Board.
Chad Heckathorn, Elk Point, SD:
Chad has spent the past 19 years operating a successful family farm operation near Elk Point. In the past eight years, he has also been working on building his Golden Harvest Seed business. Chad has a high level of knowledge in the soil and plant science, along with understanding seed, chemicals and fertilizers.
Cody Jorgensen, Ideal, SD:
Cody is a partner in the family owned farm and ranch operation in south central South Dakota. He has been a partner for the past 11 years. The Jorgensen Land & Cattle Partnership sells and leases over 2,000 Black Angus bulls annually; farms over 10,000 acres producing corn, soybeans, wheat, oats and alfalfa; and operates a commercial pheasant hunting business harvesting over 3,000 wild birds annually.
Larry Klumb, Ethan, SD:
Larry has been an active farmer in the Ethan area for the past 45 years. His hard work and love for agriculture carries on to his three sons, who are part of the operation. Larry and his family run 750 stock cows on 4,000 acres of continuous grass near Plankinton, SD. In addition each year, they finish 1,500 head of cattle, as well as finish 20,000 - 25,000 head of hogs. They also farm 4,000 acres of corn, wheat, soybeans and alfalfa. Larry knows the diversities of farming, he has survived droughts, the farm crisis of the 80s, wet years and 8 to 10 cent hog prices.
Todd Mortenson, Hayes, SD:
Todd and his brother Curt are the 3rd generation to operate the family ranch in western South Dakota. The Mortenson Cattle Company is a large cow calf operation that focuses on reducing their environment impact to the land by using rotational grazing and holistic resource managemnt measures. Conservation has always been important to his family operation and in 2011 they were honored to receive the prestigious Leopold Conservation Award. They have also received the National Wetlands Award for Land Stewardship & Development and the National Cattleman’s Association award for Conservation. Todd has served as president of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association and was recognized as the 2015 Cattlemen of the Year.
Craig Schaunamann, ex-officio member:
Craig has been actively involved in agriculture for over 30 years. Beginning in 1977, Craig farmed with both his father and brother. Today, he and his brother operate a farming partnership near the Aberdeen area. From 1988 – 1998, Craig was elected to five consecutive terms in the South Dakota House of Representatives where he served as the House Minority Leader and House Whip. He recently finished serving as the South Dakota State Executive Director for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA). Craig was a graduate from Aberdeen Central High School and attended Northern State University. He understands the importance of being involved in agriculture and his community. Craig has served on numerous state and local boards including Heartland Grain Fuels, Dakota Fuels, Aberdeen Development Corporation, South Dakota State FSA Committee, South Dakota Wheat Incorporated Board, the Brown County Drainage Board, and is an active 4-H leader.
Jim Woster, Sioux Falls, SD:
Jim knows agriculture. He is one of the most well known advocates for Agriculture in our region. He is a regular Master of Ceremonies, host, and guest auctioneer at major events. He is the voice of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association and Avera Health. He is also a strong advocate for SDSU. He grew up on a cow/calf operation in Lyman County. He spent his professional career at the Sioux Falls Stockyards. For 21 years he was co-owner of Olsen-Frankman Livestock. He spent 13 years as a market reporter on radio and television.