By JOHN O'CONNELL
Ned Moon, the marketing manager of Jentzsch-Kearl Farms in the Magic Valley, conducted his first meeting as chairman of the Idaho Wheat Commission July 11 in Fort Hall.
Moon was elected chairman and Potlatch farmer Joe Anderson was chosen as vice chairman during the commission's previous meeting in Boise on June 13.
Jentzsch-Kearl Farms is a 16,000-acre partnership involved in production of potatoes, sugar beets, wheat, hay and seed beans. Moon, who grew up on a Heyburn farm, also oversees Jentzsch-Kearl's chemical and fertilizer inputs, land leases, audits and government programs.
Blaine Jacobson, the commission's executive director, said Moon brings an important perspective of a farm that uses wheat in rotation with several other crops, and Moon has been "at the front lines of marketing of wheat."
After earning a bachelor's degree in communications from Brigham Young University in 1983, Moon spent a decade flying jets for the U.S. Air Force, achieving the rank of captain. He returned to the Twin Falls area in 1993 to start his own businesses, two dollar stores, and worked for several years as manufacturing manager for an agricultural chemical company before joining Jentzsch-Kearl Farms.
Moon expects to draw heavily on the experience of former chairmen who serve on the board and emphasized members work as a cohesive unit, helping one another. Moon was appointed to serve a five-year term on the commission by Gov. Butch Otter in June 2011.
"It's one of those things that you think, 'Oh, it's going to be a couple of meetings and that's all you have to do,' but it's been an eye-opening experience," Moon said.
He learned about the inner workings of the state Legislature when the commission pursued an assessment increase in 2012. He's also been pleased to meet new people and to witness the importance to the industry of the commission's research support.
"We fund a lot of research so we can get these new varieties out to these farmers that increase yields and increase profitability," Moon said.
Serving on the commission has also helped Moon realize the global importance of Idaho agriculture and industries. Moon served on the governor's trade mission to Asia, which visited Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.
"It was amazing to me the number of companies that are international companies that come out of Idaho," Moon said. "There are 29 companies in Taiwan that are based in Idaho."