The Idaho Farm Bureau Federation on May 22 announced that Zak Miller will be the Pocatello-based organization’s new CEO and executive vice president.

Miller started June 1. He replaces Rick Keller, who will retire June 30 after 21 years as CEO.

“Rick has done a great job leading Idaho Farm Bureau Federation and we look forward to a seamless transition process in the coming months to advance this great organization,” IFBF President Bryan Searle, a farmer from Shelley, said in a news release. “The board of directors has confidence in Zak’s vision and leadership ability to continue to lead Farm Bureau into the future.”

Searle said in an interview that the board evaluated seven candidates within the American Farm Bureau Federation and 67 from outside, but from the outset favored hiring from within IFBF.

“Zak brings a real passion for ag, a strong passion for Farm Bureau and a lot of vision for progressing forward into the future,” he said. “And he’s a fifth-generation farmer. He knows what it’s like to have frost on the potatoes … he has his heart in it.”

Miller, 40, a partner in his family’s fifth-generation farm near St. Anthony, Idaho, joined the IFBF staff in 2014. He has served on the organization’s management team for the past three years, over the same period working as the bureau’s director of commodities and marketing as well as manager of its marketing association. He previously served as regional field manager for east Idaho.

IFBF represents more than 80,000 member families throughout the state, including 14,000 who are actively involved in the state’s agricultural sector.

“I am humbled and excited to be entrusted with the responsibility to help lead such a great organization with such dynamic members and leaders,” Miller said in the news release.

Before joining IFBF, he worked for nine years with farmers and ranchers in the Intermountain West as a consultant at Cargill Animal Nutrition.

Miller said in an interview that his first priority is to serve members, “and make sure, especially during these challenging times, that we are doing all we can to help them.”

He plans to stay active on the policy side, working with IFBF’s government affairs team in Boise and “making sure they have all the resources they need to represent the policies of Idaho farmers and ranchers.”

Leadership development remains a priority, he said, as IFBF’s Young Farmers and Ranchers program has a network of leaders that is as strong as ever. “That always has been and always will be a high priority,” he said. “The future is in our youth.”

Miller earned a bachelor’s degree in ag business and animal science from Brigham Young University-Idaho. He and his wife, Marcy, live in Rigby with their four daughters.

“Zak truly understands the ag side, whether he’s standing in the Statehouse or on a farm,” Searle told Capital Press.

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