Wallace (Wally) Johnson has been a positive leader and supporter of South Dakota agriculture and South Dakota 4-H for nearly 40 years. He and his wife, Darlene, currently own and operate a ranch in southern Hand County in partnership with their son, Neal. They have a cow-calf operation and background calves, and also raise sheep and crops such as small grains, corn, sunflowers, sorghum, and alfalfa. Johnson recently added to his enterprise by starting a livestock order-buying service.
As a youth, Johnson was an active 4-H member and went on to serve as a volunteer 4-H leader in Hand County for 38 years. During that time more than 130 youth were involved in his club. He served as a member and president of both the Hand County 4-H Leaders Association and the South Dakota State 4-H Leaders Association. In addition, he was instrumental in the development of the site for the current 4-H grounds in Hand County, and his leadership helped obtain a covered show ring at the site.
Johnson served for six years as State Fair 4-H Beef Superintendent and State Fair 4-H Livestock Coordinator from 1982-87. He has been a member of the South Dakota State Fair Commission and was chairman of that organization for three years. He was also a member of the South Dakota 4-H Policy Advisory Committee and the South Dakota 4-H Meat Animal Committee.
Johnson has been active in the Hand County Livestock Improvement Association and was recognized as outstanding Hand County Livestock Producer. He has also been recognized as an Honor Member of the Western Junior 4-H Livestock Show. He won the Governor's Award for Volunteerism in 1992.
Community involvement is also one of Johnson's strengths; he has served on township, school, and church boards. Wallace and Darlene have four children who were all in 4-H and are now 4-H leaders in Hand, Corson, and Minnehaha counties.