Tisher Completes TAL Program

Jan 08, 2024

Jackson Tisher, Key Account Manager, spent a portion of his year participating in the Tomorrow’s Ag Leaders program.
Here’s what the 2023 program entailed:

Pierre Capitol Visit

We got to better understand how local governments work by taking a trip to Pierre. While at the state’s capitol, we were able to experience, firsthand, how a bill becomes a law. We were able to observe what the day in the life of a Legislator entails. One of the key issues at this time was the state’s interest in foreign ownership or control of agricultural land. Most of us assumed the bill was a no-brainer that should become law, and we all believe we need better oversight of foreign land purchases on our soil, but the way the bill was written, it would have infringed upon South Dakota landowners in a very intrusive manner. We were all excited to see this particular bill fail and are optimistic for a more well-balanced piece of legislation in the future.

Washington, D.C. Capitol Hill

Our big showcase of the program was heading to D.C. for a few days to see how everything functions at the national level and to learn a little bit about lobbying on behalf of the agricultural industry and our member-owners. We first met Dusty Johnson who gave us a personalized, evening tour of the capital. We were then able to meet directly with Mike Rounds and John Thune to cover a few critical issues. One major lobbying topic was related to altering Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT). This would help ease our trucking issues in the agriculture sector by making certain industries exempt from this training. Our CDL licensing requirements are one of the most arduous obstacles to many labor shortfalls in agriculture at the co-op level. Another topic that we lobbied for in our member-owners’ interest was attempting to get phosphates and potash added to the Department of Interior’s critical mineral list. The purpose is to ensure the U.S. has a reliable and consistent source for these fertility macros. The last lobbying topic had to do with defending the pesticide regulatory process. Our objective was to keep pesticide labeling under the guidance of the EPA where it will remain a consistent, science-based approach. Currently, states like California are attempting to write some of their own pesticide labels for some widely used active ingredients. Their approach is more subjective and is causing incongruencies and misinformation both in and out of our industry. We also showed our support for renewing the Farm Bill which was set to expire. We found out that most Farm Bills expire and continue under the same guidelines as the last Farm Bill until a more modern version is agreed upon. We learned that only 20% of the Farm Bill goes to our nation’s farmers. The rest of the funds go towards Federal Nutritional Programs (SNAP) and that’s where most of the negotiating resources are spent in passing it.

Sioux Falls - Leadership and Advocacy

Our last session was held back in Sioux Falls where we took an intensive training program on advocating for our member-owners and our use of consumer-sensitive products like pesticides and GMO’s in our operations. As you know many of the U.S., who are disassociated with the agricultural industry, are uneducated and ill-informed on our methods and solely believe what they see and hear from our mainstream media sources. This program helped give us the tools to tell our story, educate, and professionally defend our sector to those who may not know the facts or understand our devout stewardship to the land. After all, if we don’t advocate for our industry, not many will.
The biggest takeaway from this experience was a paradigm shift for me. Through talking with our representatives, we found that most politicians are acting in the Ag Industry’s best interest and they’re very open to many new ideas. Despite what we see on TV every day, our government actually accomplishes great feats. What we’re seeing in the media are the few hot-button issues that are being debated and it seems everything is perpetually in a stalemate. In all reality, our government is passing hundreds of bills every year, but most of us are only aware of a few that the media decides to focus on. It certainly can make anything look dysfunctional when viewed through a fractured lens.
The TAL program is a leadership development program sponsored by the South Dakota Agri-Business Association, where Full Circle Ag is a proud Advocate. The program is designed to improve the leadership skills of South Dakota men and women working in agri-business. Each year, the first session is held in January during the Ag Expo in Sioux Falls. The group then travels to Pierre in January/February, during the legislative session, to dig into the South Dakota legislative process while meeting with the governor and other state government officials. Washington DC to follow, and the program concludes in the fall to cover business leadership and agribusiness advocacy training. 

Pictured Above: 2023 TAL class with John Thune

Pictured Above: Dusty Johnson and Jackson Tisher
We congratulate Jackson for his participation and look forward to Hope Christenson completing the program in 2024!

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Previous Full Circle Ag TAL graduates:
2022: Kelli Erickson
2020 – 2021: Tony Lyren
2019: Casey Erickson & Angela Hawkinson
2018: Eric Paulson

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