John O’Connell/Capital Press
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Protecting Idaho’s soil and water quality is a family legacy for Kathy Weaver, one of five new inductees to the Eastern Idaho Agricultural Hall of Fame.
Her grandfather, Thure Anderson, was an original organizer of Idaho’s soil and water conservation districts in the early 1930s. Her father, Kenneth Anderson, who served on both the Idaho Soil Conservation Commission and the West Side Soil Conservation District, helped restore canals in time for farmers to raise a crop when the Teton Dam burst in 1976.
During a 19-year career as a part-time information specialist with the East Side and West Side Soil & Water Conservation District, Weaver promoted practices to limit soil erosion on area dry-land farms. She also aided in a pilot program to protect spawning salmon in Lemhi and Custer counties through ranchers’ voluntary efforts, such as fencing off rivers or developing off-site watering.
Since retiring three years ago, Weaver has volunteered with the East Side Soil & Water Conservation District as an elected supervisor.
The hall of fame’s 42nd class also includes Carl Swainston of Preston, Howard H. Harrington of Blackfoot, Glade “Rusty” Davis of Downey and Bill Sager of Salmon.
They’ll be honored during a March 21 dinner at O’Callahan’s in the Idaho Falls Shilo Inn Convention Center, with a social hour beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25, available through the Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce or by calling 540-1302. Proceeds benefit the hall of fame, which awards plaques to winners and silver trays to spouses.
Greg Torgesen, a hall of fame board member from Soda Springs, said inductees represent diverse agricultural backgrounds — including agriculture service companies, producers and educators — and tend to be active in their communities.
“We want to take the opportunity to select individuals every year who really put their heart and soul into agriculture in one way or another through their lives,” Torgesen said.
Weaver and her two sisters were raised on an irrigated farm in Roberts, Idaho, where they were responsible for chores such as herding cows and driving combines.
“I learned to love the land and Idaho’s resources,” Weaver said.
She holds a degree in home economics education from Idaho State University and also worked as a school teacher and a University of Idaho Extension home economist for Caribou County.
She said she’s deeply moved by the award because her father also won it 20 years ago.
Swainston was recognized for his long service to the Preston Whitney Irrigation Co., where he’s served for 38 years as a board member, including 16 years as president. Harrington owns a farm machinery dealership, Rockymountain Machinery Co. Davis worked with UI in implementing the Total Beef program, which innovated the use of barn cameras to monitor calving and improve cattle management, and has been a board member with Idaho Cattle Association, Portneuf Soil Conservation District and Bannock County Farm Bureau. Sager, a sheep and cattle rancher, has held a host of industry leadership positions, including 10 years as chairman of the Lemhi Soil & Water Conservation District and former director and district chairman of the Idaho Cattlemen’s Association.