Food Producers of Idaho, Twin Falls County Fair honor farm families

Members of the Matthews family near Oakley, Idaho. The family was one of four that were honored by the Food Producers of Idaho and the Twin Falls County Fair.

Food Producers of Idaho partnered with the Twin Falls County Fair to recognize four farm and ranch families in the Magic Valley region of south-central Idaho.

This year’s Featured Farm Families in the region are L. Ray Stanger Sons, 4 Open A Farm, Matthews Land and Cattle, and R&S Pearson Farms. Poster-style biographies of each farm were displayed in the Twin Falls County Farm Bureau Ag Pavilion at the recent fair.

Food Producers of Idaho created the program to recognize farm and ranch families in the Magic Valley for their legacy and investment in Idaho agriculture, FPI Executive Director Rick Waitley said.

“Through the years, we have seen outstanding community leaders selected,” he said. “These are hardworking families, often representing several generations who are not only good agriculturalists, but are engaged and vested in their communities. Many of the winners have been involved in 4-H, FFA, local schools, athletic programs and in community service projects helping to build a better Idaho.” Honorees also “represent a very wide diversity of Idaho agriculture.”

L. Ray Stanger Sons is a third-generation family farm near Murtaugh. The 3,000-acre farm now produces beets, corn, wheat, barley and alfalfa using new irrigation technology featuring variable-speed drivers on pivots.

Tracy and Nan Stanger run the farm, in operation for nearly 70 years, with two of their sons. They partner with Tracy’s brother, Randy, and Randy’s wife, Tamara. FPI said the Stangers hire and buy locally, and have been involved in local organizations including schools, civic organizations and advisory boards.

Wayne and Samantha Anderson of 4 Open A Farm have been involved in production agriculture in the Twin Falls area since 1994. They operate a 100-head commercial Angus herd and grow silage corn, malt barley and alfalfa hay on the 420-acre operation.

FPI said the Andersons — known for taking great pride in caring for their animals, crops and equipment — have from the outset worked to improve their irrigation system, moving from flood to pivot and establishing a reputation for keeping ditches clean and in top operating condition. They buy inputs locally, and buy bulls and sell beef in the area. Samantha Anderson has been involved with several organizations at local and state levels, and is a Leadership Idaho Agriculture graduate.

Matthews Land and Cattle, near Oakley, grows sugar beets, potatoes, silage and dry corn, alfalfa hay and malt barley on 2,700 acres. Twenty-five pivots irrigate the farm. Eugene Matthews, involved with the farm for 40 years, oversees the current business with sons Blake primarily responsible for farming and shop operations, and Broden and Brandon overseeing 900 head of mother cows and 3,000 yearlings. Broden operates Three Bar Cattle, a Matthews subsidiary with a feedlot for 6,000 head of cattle. The family has been involved in community organizations and events, schools and youth agriculture organizations.

R&S Pearson Farms near Buhl has 1,000 acres of hay, grain and potatoes. Owners Rick and Susan Pearson have owned and operated the farm for more than 20 years. FPI said they are dedicated to growth and innovation, and have partnered with local farmers to improve farms and aid in expanding their operation. They are active in the Idaho Farm Bureau.

Susan is an elementary school teacher. Rick, a Leadership Idaho Agriculture graduate, serves on the Idaho Hay and Forage Association board and is a past winner in the National Wheat Foundation yield contest. The Pearsons support the Idaho Ag in the Classroom program.

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