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Wednesday, March 16, 2016 5:13 am

Thompson back in state to teach

Brian Francisco | Washington editor

Jill Long Thompson has returned to Indiana from Washington, D.C., where she had led the Farm Credit Administration since late 2012.

Thompson, a Democrat who represented northeast Indiana in the U.S. House from 1989 through 1994, left the FCA in mid-March, nine months after her term on its board of directors was to expire. She remained as the federal agency’s chairman and chief executive officer until the Senate confirmed her replacement, Kenneth Spearman.

Thompson, 62, lives in Argos in Marshall County. She and her husband, Don Thompson, own corn and soybean farms there, in Noble County and in northwest Whitley County, where Jill Long Thompson grew up and her parents live. The Thompsons also grow oak, walnut and maple trees for harvest.

She plans to teach ethics at the Kelley School of Business and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University in Bloomington during the 2015-16 academic year. She previously taught at IPFW, IU South Bend and Manchester and Valparaiso universities.

"I have done this a number of times, and I like it," she said Wednesday in a telephone interview.

President Barack Obama appointed Thompson to the three-member FCA board in 2010 and named her chairman and CEO in November 2012. The independent agency regulates and examines banks in the Farm Credit System, which provides loans and financial services to farmers, ranchers and rural businesses.

"The system that the Farm Credit Administration regulates grew during the time that I was there, and it grew across the country," Thompson said. "The safety and the soundness and the strength of the system grew at the same time."

Year-end assets for the Farm Credit System increased from $230 billion to $283 billion while Thompson was on the FCA board. While she was its chairman, the board approved rules aimed at improving capital requirements, liquidity and standards of conduct at lenders. She said the FCA strengthened its own ethics policies on her watch.

Thompson, the under secretary of rural development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1995 until 2001, said she has no aspirations to return to Washington soon.

"At this point, I’m looking forward to teaching and spending more time in Indiana, more time with my husband," she said. "My parents are both still living, and I feel very fortunate that I have this opportunity to spend time with them."

Thompson was the Democratic nominee for a U.S. Senate seat in 1986 and for governor in 2008. She was the first woman nominated for either office by a major political party in Indiana.

bfrancisco@jg.net