A St. Anthony farmer who has held several top leadership positions within the potato industry has been elected chairman of the Idaho Water Resource Board.
Jeff Raybould was elected by the board during its January meeting to replace Roger Chase as chairman.
Chase, who is a former Pocatello mayor, served eight years as the board’s chairman and was chosen during the recent meeting to be its vice chairman.
“He’s traveled all over Idaho to meet with constituents and committed more time than we will ever know to support the board’s efforts,” Raybould said following the election in a press release.
Raybould joined the Water Resource Board in 2011 after being appointed by Gov. Butch Otter.
His father, Dell, and his uncle started Raybould Brothers Farms in 1951. Raybould joined the operation full time in 1978.
Dell served 18 years in the Idaho House of Representatives. Raybould’s daughter, Britt, also served a term in the House. Brit is currently president of the National Potato Council, which represents the potato industry at the federal level on legislative and regulatory matters.
Raybould has spent several years in both statewide and national leadership roles on behalf of the potato industry. He’s been president of Potato Growers of Idaho and chairman of the Idaho Potato Commission. He has also been president of the NPC, like his father before him and his daughter currently.
Raybould first became involved in water issues when he was placed on the Fremont-Madison Irrigation District Board of Directors, which he went on to chair. Raybould also served on the Comprehensive Aquifer Management Plan Advisory Committee, which was formed in 2007 to draft a comprehensive plan for managing the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer.
Now as a member of the Idaho Water Resource Board, Raybould has implemented several projects to stabilize the aquifer.
“We’ve had a great Water Board and it’s been a team effort,” Raybould said. “We’ve been able to accomplish a lot with the help and acknowledgement of the Legislature and governor.”
About a year ago, the board reported a 10-year progress update to the Legislature about its efforts to stabilize the ESPA.
“We went through and looked at what the state was supposed to accomplish in the first 10 years of the plan,” Raybould said. “We’ve hit all of those milestones and in some places we’re approaching 30-year milestones with aquifer recovery.”
Raybould said the board also has several ongoing projects in other parts of the state, including work on a Treasure Valley groundwater model, a project to maintain flows in Priest River during dry years while maintaining adequate levels in Priest Lake, addressing declining levels of groundwater that serves as the main source of drinking water in the Moscow-Pullman area, finding a sustainable water supply for Mountain Home Air Force Base and maximizing storage capacity in Bear Lake.