Five of eastern Idaho’s most distinguished leaders in the agriculture industry will be inducted into the 47th Eastern Idaho Agriculture Hall of Fame during the annual recognition dinner March 22 at Fort Hall.
This year’s inductees are Carol Guthrie, a rancher from Inkom; Jean Schwieder, ag producer and writer from Iona; Carl Lufkin, rancher from Salmon; Kleal Hill, DVM, of Arco; and LaVar Newman, a farmer and rancher from Monteview.
In addition to honoring the new inductees, MaCoy Ward of Dubois will be presented with the Ed Duren Memorial Young Producer Award at the event.
The recognition awards will be presented at the Shoshone-Bannock Hotel, Fort Hall. A no-host reception begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. The event is open to all interested persons. Tickets are $30 and can be obtained by calling 208-301-1620, at the Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce, or email eiagricultureHF@gmail.com for information. The deadline for purchasing tickets is today.
The nominees’ biographies appear below.
Carol Guthrie, Inkom
Coming from a ranching family, it was only natural for Carol Guthrie and her husband, James, to settle down on a ranch along the Portneuf River south of Inkom.
The Portneuf River, as it meandered through their property, created problems for the Guthries as runoff caused extensive soil erosion each year. Taking the problem in stride, Carol and Jim began the multiyear process of turning an out-of-control river bed into a prized riparian zone by installing various erosion-control measures.
Today, the ranch is a model for soil conservation rehabilitation and the Guthries have hosted numerous tours and received statewide recognition for their efforts.
In addition to her work on the ranch, Guthrie has become an advocate for agricultural literacy for Idaho students. She has been a member of the Idaho Ag in the Classroom Association for over 18 years, and was awarded the Idaho Ag in the Classroom Advocate in 2009 by the Association. She has taken responsibility for hosting tours, workshops and feeding teachers across the state who participate in Idaho Ag in the Classroom activities.
Concurrently, Guthrie has had a major leadership role in county, state and national Farm Bureau efforts, particularly in ag literacy initiatives. In all of her roles, Ag literacy has been her passion. She created a mobile Ag In the Classroom to take agriculture’s story to the schools while a member of the Idaho Farm Bureau board. Beginning with a single mobile classroom, the program now has three mobile classrooms contained in trailers where students can learn about Idaho wheat, water, and learn to milk “Maggie” the cow.
Guthrie has been active in civic causes, particularly in local and state Republican Party issues. She has served on local precinct committees, and serves as treasurer for the Southeast Idaho Republican Women’s Association. Her goal is to help “ag-minded” candidates get elected to local and state offices.
She and Jim are the parents of four children.
Jean Schwieder, Iona
Jean Schwieder is a central partner of a large farm and ranch organization. In addition to cooking and caring for a large family, she worked alongside of her husband, Boyd, in the management of 250 head of cattle and 2,200 acres of farm and ranch ground. The Schwieders primarily grow grass hay, alfalfa, wheat and barley.
In 2012, Schwieder was named Farm Woman of the Year for Bonneville County. She has also served as a board member for the USDA’s Farm Service Agency. In 1996, Schwieder was awarded the Print Media Award by the Idaho Grain Producer Association. Schwieder also was cited with a lifetime collaborative and supporting role award by the Idaho Grain Industry, who has cited her as “one super support person” in bringing business to all Idaho grain producers.
Being a talented writer with a creative mind, Schwieder has written and developed much of the news print media and graphics distributed by the Idaho Grain industry for the past 10 years. She has also been a driving force in hosting Idaho Grain Tours for foreign buyers from the Philippines, Japan, China, Egypt, Morocco and several Washington, D.C., ambassadors.
The author of the well-read column Straddlin’ The Fence in Intermountain Farm & Ranch, Schwieder writes bi-weekly articles about farm life and country living. Her works have been published in 10 books.
The Schwieders are the parents of seven children.
Carl Lufkin, Salmon
Raised on a family cow/calf operation and farm in the Rigby area, this 2019 inductee, Carl Lufkin has continued the tradition of family cattle ranching. After marrying his wife, Robin, in 1979, the family operated various ranches in Idaho and Montana, eventually settling down in the Salmon area.
Considered to be an excellent operator, Lufkin has been a leader in the beef cattle industry for many years. He has donated many hours to activities that benefited producers and permittees on federal range. He has also built a good seed stock herd and produced bulls that are considered practical and efficient for his customers in the range cattle business.
Currently, the Lufkins reside at the Swanson Ranch at Price Creek, which they purchased in 2013. The following year, they also purchased an adjacent smaller ranch. After building a sale barn, Lufkin conducted his first bull sale on his current ranch in 2017. In addition to owning their ranch, Lufkin operates on the Bureau of Land Management Baldy Creek range and pasture leased ranches at Leadore and Sandy Creek.
Lufkin has been involved with leadership in the Idaho Cattle Association. He has served on the board of directors and as president of the organization since 2011. He has also served on the board of directors for the Lemhi County Cattle and Horse Growers Association.
He has served on the District 292 school board at Leadore and on the Lemhi County Fair Board. He was awarded the Idaho Governor’s Award for Excellence in Agriculture Environmental Stewardship and Rancher of the Year by the Lemhi County Cattle and Horse Growers Association, both in 2018.
He and Robin are the parents of three children.
Kleal Hill, DVM, Arco
Growing up on the family farm near Mackay, Dr. Kleal Hill always had a keen interest in animals. He attended veterinary school at Washington State University after which he established Lost River Veterinary Clinic in Arco in 1978.
Since that time, he has been in a one-vet private practice for 40 years, operating the clinic with his wife, Susan.
Hill’s work has improved the lives of many animals and helped his clients to stay in business. His clients include large and small commercial cattle, sheep and equine operations, some hogs, plus some smaller animals such as dogs and cats.
He works daily with owners who have to face emotional and economic decisions about animal care, and he’s known to have discounted the cost of medication or services to encourage an owner to follow through with treatment. It has been said Hill is in business for the animals, not the money or even the individual.
Hill has avoided the limelight throughout his career. Most of his “awards” have been a heartfelt thanks received at a set of corrals or in a barn. He has been honored by both the Butte and Custer County FFA chapters for providing education on animal husbandry and reproduction.
Being on call 24/7 for 40 years, Hill has had a limited amount of time or organizational activities, but has supported several local ag-related groups such as over 35 years of service on the Butte County Fair Board, several terms as president of the Central Idaho Futurity and later the Central Idaho Reined Cow Horse Association. He has also served as a director and president of the Mountain Valley Horseman’s Association and as a director of the Eastern Idaho Horseman’s Hall of Fame.
He and Susan are the parents of three children.
LaVar Newman, Monteview
Born into a farming family, LaVar Newman started his own ag business, on rented ground, when he was only a sophomore in high school. He went on to operate a small diary in the Milo area and rented additional ground in the Mud Lake area to produce alfalfa for his dairy herd.
Eventually, Newman decided to pursue securing additional acres through the Desert Land Act to obtain and prove up 160 acres in the Monteview area outside of Mud Lake. This was the beginning of what would evolved into a large family operation that Newman built from the ground up. Over a lifetime of hard work, his farm turned into an 8,000-plus acre operation growing and selling alfalfa, wheat barley and cattle. Of those acres, some 1,500 acres was ground Newman had to clear of sagebrush with a beater, level out for farming, drill wells and install power.
Through the years, he has raised seed potatoes, commercial potatoes, seed peas, pigs, sheep, dairy cattle, wheat, malt barley, and alfalfa.
Newman was one of the first in the Monteview area to bale with an accumulator and stack with a tractor. He was also one of the first to install irrigation circles in Monteview and run water wheel lines, having drilled his first well in 1960. He was also one of the first hay growers to buy his own semis and trailers to deliver his own hay to customers.
He has served as a member and director of the local Federal Land Bank committee, receiving an award from Idaho Ag Credit for having received an ag loan for 60 consecutive years. His service on the FLB extended to regional and national leadership positions. He has also served on the Reno Ditch Canal Co. for almost 30 years.
Newman and his wife, Louise, are the parents of five children.