South Dakota NRCS announces Tony Sunseri as state conservationist

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in South Dakota has announced Tony Sunseri as the new State Conservationist to lead the agency’s conservation efforts with partners and landowners.

Sunseri was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. Having grown up in an urban setting, Sunseri’s exposure to agriculture initially came through the Boy Scouts working at a ranch outside of Salem where he would lead trail rides and take care of livestock. After graduating from high school, his parents moved the family to a small hay farm in Roseburg, Oregon, where he baled hay while attending Oregon State University. Sunseri earned two bachelor’s degrees at OSU, one in rangeland ecology with an emphasis on soil health and the other in crop management with an emphasis on agribusiness.

Sunseri has served 21 years with the federal government and started his career with the NRCS as part of Student Cooperative Experience Program. Upon graduating from OSU, Sunseri served as a term employee in Ontario, Oregon, before securing permanent employment as a soil conservationist in Hawaii and then a lead soil conservationist in California’s gold country, where he also served as the coordinator for the state’s mentoring program. Sunseri later became a district conservationist in Mount Vernon, Washington, and then an assistant state conservationist for field operations in Moscow, Idaho. Recently, Sunseri served as the assistant state conservationist for field operations for an 18-county area in northern California. Sunseri has also served details as acting state conservationist in both Idaho and Wyoming.

Sunseri’s experience across multiple states gives him valuable experience working with many different landscapes and producers. He looks forward to bringing that experience to South Dakota. “I am excited to be able to work with our ag producers and partners across South Dakota and to face together any natural resource challenge that may come,” said Sunseri.