2015 Distinguished Alumnus: Bill Even
Bill Even is the Commercial Unit Lead for South Dakota, eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota for DuPont Pioneer in Humboldt, South Dakota. He leads a team of over 300 sales representatives and employees focused on seed sales, marketing, agronomy, precision agriculture, training, research, logistics, production and agricultural policy needs in the region. He also serves on the South Dakota State University (SDSU) College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences Advisory Board; Avera Health System Rural Cancer Advisory Committee; First Dakota National Bank Ag Advisory Board and the Minnehaha County Planning and Zoning Commission.
Bill was raised on a family farm and has been a co-owner of Even Farms in Humboldt since 1983 (38 years). The family-owned farm is a fifth-generation diversified crop and livestock operation, which was homesteaded in 1883. The family business also operates a farm equipment repair business and a DuPont Pioneer Sales Agency. He says that he “strives to stay grounded in the work ethic and values that have allowed our small business to sustainably survive and thrive for five generations in agriculture.”
Bill Even built his broad portfolio of expertise starting with his Associate’s degree in Agricultural Production (1983-85) from Lake Area Technical Institute. During the following 5-6 years he worked as an Apprentice Electrician, as a Field Technician for USDA Farm Service Agency and served as a Volunteer Firefighter and EMT with the Humboldt Fire and Ambulance Service. His EMT service led to four years of service in Emergency Medical Services, during which time he also served on the Governor’s State EMS Advisory Committee and on the SDState EMS Test Team.
Bill returned to higher education at SDSU, where he graduated in 2001 with a B.S. in Agricultural Business with Minors in Economics and Business Economics. Bill went on to Drake University Law School where he earned a JD specializing in Agricultural Food and Policy Law and distinguished his studies as an Opperman Scholar and as Executive Editor of the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law. While in Law School, Bill served as a legal intern on the U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee staff under Chairman and Senator Tom Harkin. He also served as a Law Clerk at Herner and Bergkamp, PC in Adel, Iowa.
Prior to joining DuPont Pioneer Energy, Bill served as State Energy Policy Director, Policy Advisor to Governor Mike Rounds, Director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Deputy Secretary of Tourism and State Development and Director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Between 2007-2010 he served as the South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture leading six departments and providing advice and recommendations to the Governor on a wide range of politically sensitive farm, ranch, food and renewable energy issues dealing with agricultural law, policy, regulatory, zoning and development.
Since 2010, Bill has served in various positions with Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. As Senior Manager of Biotech Affairs and Regulation he built an U.S. industry relations strategy. He subsequently led the DuPont Pioneer Biotech Affairs and Industry Relations North America team that focused on collaborative relationships in biotech, product regulatory approvals, agricultural sustainability, biofuels and farm policy. This position evolved to the Global Industry Relations lead for these functions.
Watch Bill Even's speech from the scholarship banquet.