Getting to Know Garrison Diversion Directors - Bill Ongstad

Posted: Jun 23 2020

June ND Water 
Kimberly Cook
June ND Water - Director Feature, Bill Ongstad


Wells County, Bill Ongstad

Bill Ongstad, Harvey, was appointed as Garrison Diversion’s Wells County director in 2008, and serves on both the Missouri River and Public Relations Committees. He farms near Harvey, raising certified spring wheat seed, pinto bean seed and soybean seed, as well as some corn.

Bill has been a highly involved citizen over the years, belonging to many organizations. Still in his 60s, he’s a former president and current member of the U.S. Durum Growers and serves on the board of directors of Farm Credit Services of North Dakota in addition to the Garrison Diversion board. He is past president of the ND Farm Credit Council, served on
the Wells County Better Seed and Grain Association, sits on the advisory committee for the Wells County Mentoring Partnership and the Lake Region College Precision Ag Program. He was also a state FFA officer in high school and is currently an active FFA and 4-H alumni. Bill also served 12 years on the Harvey School Board and was Fram Township treasurer.

Bill’s wish is that everyone could understand Garrison Diversion is for the benefit of all North Dakotans to receive high-quality water from the Missouri River, which is North Dakota’s most reliable source of water.

“The fact that we are utilizing the McClusky Canal for irrigation of about 7,500 acres really makes me proud. This is the first beneficial use of Garrison Diversion facilities that are authorized to irrigate about 75,000 acres,” says Bill. “We have a long way to go to utilize Missouri River water granted to North Dakota in exchange for flooding 500,000 acres of river bottomland behind Garrison Dam, but it’s a start,” Bill says.

Bill is a very social man and considers one of his hobbies as talking with people. He also loves attending North Dakota State University Bison football games. Bill and his wife Anne have five children and six grandchildren.