Idaho Barley Commission adds members
By John O’Connell
BOISE, Idaho — Two new board members from Eastern Idaho have joined the Idaho Barley Commission.
Gov. Butch Otter appointed third-generation grain farmer Scott Brown, of Soda Springs, and Tim Pella, program manager with Anheuser Busch’s elevator in Idaho Falls, to start three-year terms effective July 1.
Brown replaced Newdale farmer Dwight Little, and Pella replaced Clay Kaasa, with Great Western Malting, as the commission’s industry representative.
Little described his years on the board as a “personal growth time.”
“I learned way more than what I gave back, and I think it was just a great experience to work with growers, people in the industry and people in the Legislature,” Little said.
Brown, who farms 10,000 acres of dryland wheat and barley, has been active in leadership positions with the Caribou County Grain Producers, the Idaho Grain Producers Association, where he served as president in 2010, and the National Barley Growers Association, where he served a two-year term as president that ended in 2013.
Brown, 57, has a master’s degree in accounting from Brigham Young University. He farms with his son, son-in-law and nephew. Most of his barley is for malting, but he also raises some feed.
“My overall goal would be to make sure barley remains a viable crop for farming families in Idaho, and a profitable crop,” Brown said.
Brown believes the IBC is “on the right track” regarding its research efforts, having funded an endowment used to hire a new barley agronomist at University of Idaho. He said he’s also optimistic about the IBC’s recent decision to open another office in Idaho Falls in space leased by Anheuser Busch. IBC will retain its Boise office.
“There’s a lot of barley grown in Eastern Idaho, and I think it will benefit the growers down here to have (IBC Administrator Kelly Olson) more at their disposal,” Brown said, emphasizing maintaining a presence in Boise is also important.
Despite a national trend of declining barley acres, Brown believes the long-term outlook for barley in Idaho is bright due to the resources four major malting companies have committed to Eastern Idaho.
“It’s an important region for malting companies, and I think it will continue to be an important crop in this area,” Brown said.
Pella was raised on a North Dakota farm and obtained a bachelor’s degree in biology from South Dakota State University. He worked for farmers’ elevators in North Dakota and Minnesota before joining Anheuser Busch in 1998, where he worked for the company’s elevators in Grandin, N.D., Crookston, Minn., and Fairfield, Mont., before moving to Idaho Falls in 2007. He’s now in charge of the company’s Idaho barley purchasing.
“Right now Idaho has a very strong barley crop out there, and we’re very optimistic about this year’s crop,” Pella said.