John O’Connell/Capital Press
POCATELLO, Idaho — Idaho’s new Farm Service Agency director hasn’t had any direct involvement in agriculture since high school, when he moved irrigation pipe on a neighbor’s farm.
But Evan Frasure believes President Donald Trump recently appointed him to the position based on the policies he backed to help Idaho agriculture while serving in public office and on state commissions.
Frasure — a Republican who served a two-year term in Idaho’s House of Representatives beginning in 1990 and spent a decade as a state senator starting in 1992 — is near the end of the first year of a term on the Bannock County Commission, and will submit his resignation during the next few weeks to head FSA.
Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, both R-Idaho, submitted Frasure’s name for consideration, citing his “extensive business background.”
“I was a little surprised when they came with this particular position,” Frasure acknowledged.
But USDA officials explained to Frasure that they’ve had FSA directors with limited agricultural experience in the past. They assured him his staff has ample industry expertise, and he’ll provide administrative leadership, while also being a “promoter of Idaho agriculture.”
“With his service to Idaho as a member of the Idaho Legislature, Evan’s knowledge of the challenges and needs from all corners of Idaho will be invaluable as he bridges Idaho’s agricultural community with the resources and mission at USDA,” Crapo and Risch said in a joint press release.
Idaho Farm Bureau Federation Chief Executive Officer Rick Keller is also supportive of Frasure’s appointment, based on his voting record.
“He is responsive and understands the agriculture and natural resource issues that are important to our members,” Keller said.
Frasure earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Idaho State University in 1977. As a businessman, he started a Pocatello real estate firm that employed 50 agents when he sold it. He also served as a top executive with the Idaho Falls-based wellness products supplier Melaleuca.
As a public servant, Frasure chaired the Senate Transportation Committee, helping to streamline paperwork for shipping of Idaho commodities across state lines, upgrading scales used to weight truckloads and getting new roads approved to make shipping of farm goods safer.
In state office, he also fought the forced federal reintroduction of wolves and helped pass an exemption removing the personal property tax on farm equipment. He’s served on state commissions governing personnel, charter schools, renovation of the state capitol and legislative district reapportionment.
Frasure started teaching history and government classes at Century High School in Pocatello after he left the legislature, becoming a full-time teacher from 2009 until he joined the commission.
Frasure said a primary goal when he joined the Bannock County Commission was to lobby for a new interstate interchange for Chubbuck and Pocatello. The interchange was approved in October, making developers’ plans possible to build thousands of homes, an outdoor mall, a new medical center and a high-tech business center. The Republican Central Committee will submit three names to the governor to choose Frasure’s successor on the commission.