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Priestley elected to Ag Hall of Fame

Pocatello--Five Idahoans that significantly contributed to Eastern Idaho agriculture will be inducted into the 46th Eastern Idaho Agriculture Hall of Fame during the annual recognition dinner March 23, 2018, at the Shoshone-Bannock Hotel & Events Center at Fort Hall.

This year’s inductees are Bonnie Stoddard, a rancher, and historian from Dubois; Frank Priestly, farmer and rancher of Franklin; Stanley Boyle, a stockman from Idaho Falls; Robert Brown, rancher and grain producer from Idaho Falls, and R.J. Smith, a rancher from Tendoy.

A new award will also be presented for the first time in 2018 by EIAHF: the Edward P. Duren Memorial Young Producer Award. This distinction recognizes an innovative agriculture producer, under 40 years of age. The award is in memory of a long-time supporter of the ag industry, Edward Duren of Soda Springs.

The recognition dinner will be held at the Fort Hall Shoshone-Bannock Hotel and Event Center. A no-host social hour begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. 

Frank S. Priestly
Franklin, Idaho

Frank Priestly is a life-long supporter of the agricultural industry. In addition to being a dairy farmer, rancher, and auctioneer, Priestly was involved with the promotion of the agricultural industry through the Idaho Farm Bureau and the education of the youth.

Through his lifetime of involvement in agriculture, Priestly learned better land management and achieved greater animal health in his diary. He was also involved with farming neighbors by improving irrigation systems in the area. He’s often found auctioning for school and community events, working with the Boy Scouts of America, United Dairymen of Idaho, Idaho Cattle Association, and the Idaho Grain Producers Association. 

Priestly spent more than 40 years promoting the benefits of agriculture and soil health through the Farm Bureau on the county, state, and national level as well as in local classrooms. He was the longest-serving president of the Idaho Farm Bureau during a time when organization membership took great strides to confront issues such as wolf depredation, Endangered Species Act, and agricultural trade. During Frank’s tenure, Idaho received over twenty national agricultural awards and increased membership by over 50%. Under his leadership, the Moving Agriculture to the Classroom program was developed which offers any school or gathering hands-on training and education about real-world agriculture, reaching some 125,000 Idahoans each year. Priestly, along with his wife Susan, continue to thrive on their Franklin area farm and are the proud parents of four children.

Bonnie Bond Stoddard
Dubois, Idaho

Bonnie’s contribution to Eastern Idaho agriculture is significant: she has accomplished more than any other single person to document and share the lives and histories of the early farmers and ranchers of Clark County and surrounding areas.  

Bonnie has spent a lifetime dedicated to preserving the pictures and stories of the farms, ranches, homesteads, men, women, organizations and events in Clark County history. A prolific and well-respected author, Stoddard gathered and preserved more than 5,000 photos of early Clark County, and has been consulted for historic preservation projects in the rural area - writing successful grants for several of them. She served as editor and chief writer of “Settlers of the Silver Sage”, a 1,304-page iconic reference to pioneer families of Clark County, and is working on a second volume.  

Bonnie has dedicated her life to community service. In addition to her dedication to recording the history of Clark County, Bonnie has spent over 40 years volunteering with rodeo, Lions Club, and other groups. She began as a newspaper reporter for Clark County while in high school and living out at the ranch near Medicine Lodge, recently retiring from 60 years as a journalist. Bonnie was presented with the Home Town Hero award for Clark County, and many other civic awards. In 2003 she received the highest honor bestowed by the Idaho Historical Society, recognizing her commitment to preserving and promoting Idaho history through public service and volunteerism.  

Bonnie’s work enables us to honor and learn from our rural heritage and reminds us to never forget the tough men and women who shaped our part of the west.  

Married to the late Kenneth “Ross” Stoddard, the couple had two children.  

Stanley S. Boyle
Idaho Falls

Cattleman Stanley Boyle is a familiar face on Taylor Mountain. For many years he and his sons have grazed cattle in the area during the summer. They also work to make spring riparian improvements and keep weeds under control on the mountain’s range.  

Born and raised on a farm in Ririe, Boyle worked with his father on starting his own cow herd through 4-H projects. His love for the 4-H program followed him throughout his life as he grew from a member to a leader and now an as strong advocate for youth agriculture programs. In a leadership capacity, Stan has assisted with numerous projects including development of the current Bonneville County Fair Grounds at Sandy Downs.

Boyle and his wife, Joy, both inductees into the Idaho 4-H Hall of Fame, are active members of their community. He has served on numerous 4-H advisory boards, 4-H livestock committees, and the Bonneville County Fair Board. They enjoy mentoring youth in 4-H and willingly supply a place for them to keep and train their animals. Boyle is a past president of the Bonneville County Cattleman’s Association and has been instrumental in establishing the FFA program in area high schools.

Robert L. Brown
Idaho Falls

Throughout his life, Robert Brown has been associated with agriculture. As a young man, he worked running cattle on a ranch north of Salmon, at a feed grain store and for other farmers in the Idaho Falls area, eventually returning to the family farm. His wife Annette has said, “I think his blood must be 99% dirt”.

Beginning in 1978, Brown leased and operated his father’s dry farm of about 3,000 acres. When the dry farmland was enrolled in the CRP program, Robert rented 500 acres of irrigated land in the valley to produce wheat, barley, and hay. He takes pride in the fact he lives on, and still operates, a small portion of his grandfather’s original farm homesteaded in the 1880’s.

Brown has been active with grain growing associations throughout the state. He received the Life Achievement Award from the Idaho Grain Producers Association and a Distinguished Service Award by the Idaho Wheat Commission. He is also a member of Bonneville County and Idaho Grain Producers, serving as Bonneville County President and a state representative to the Idaho Grain Producers. He and his wife Annette have enjoyed hosting trade teams from South Korea, Vietnam, and Eastern Russia at their home.

Robert has actively served the community on the Bonneville County Planning and Zoning Board, USDA Stabilization Conservation Service (now the Farm Service Agency) and as an advocate for high school FFA and 4-H.

R.J. Smith
Tendoy, Idaho

R.J. Smith is best known as a successful businessman and cattle rancher in the Lemhi Valley. He is noted for always striving to improve the cattle and hay he produces while maintaining a strong financial bottom line. 

After attending college, R.J. was trained in the Army as a helicopter pilot and served in Vietnam. He later utilized that training in an unusual way while working on large ranches in Wyoming. One rancher had purchased a herd of buffalo and found that the most effective way to keep track of them was from the air, which R.J. enjoyed very much.

While running his own ranch and raising hay to feed this livestock, Smith became knowledgeable of various water issues facing users in Lemhi County. He was often called on for advice and assistance by individuals filing their individual water right during the Snake River Basin Adjudication process. In his role as Chairman of the Lemhi Irrigation District, he became a leading voice in extensive litigation with the federal government. 

Smith continues to be involved in community service as a member of the Lemhi County Cattle and Horse Growers Association and as a founding member of the Salmon Little Britches Rodeo. He also served as the Lemhi County Assessor for eight years.

Smith and his wife Grace, who he met while working as a helicopter/cowboy for Grace’s grandfather on a ranch in Wyoming, are the parents of one daughter. 

Ed Duren Memorial Young Producer Award

The Eastern Idaho Agricultural Hall of Fame recently established the Ed Duren Memorial Young Producer Award in memory of Edward Paul Duren (1935-2017). This new award recognizes an agricultural producer under 40 years of age, for product innovations, leadership and a positive impact on the agricultural industry of Eastern Idaho. 

Recipient of the first Ed Duren Memorial Young Producer Award is Ryan Steele, Idaho Falls. Ryan, 26, operates a beef cattle feeding and dairy heifer replacement growing operation near Idaho Falls. He is active on the boards of the Bonneville and Idaho Cattle Associations and other groups and is a young producer constantly seeking to educate himself, improve his agri-business, and promote the industry. 

Ed Duren

Ed Duren, for who the award is dedicated, was a University of Idaho Extension Livestock Specialist based in Soda Springs. Ed spent a 39-year career (and many more years as a professor emeritus) providing education, outreach, and leadership to producers and organizations across Idaho and beyond. His impact on Agriculture in Idaho is beyond measure. 

Ed was nationally and internationally respected as a trailblazer, author, and educator, and was a tireless advocate for the involvement of youth in agriculture and agricultural experiences. He pioneered a holistic ranch business model he titled “integrated resource management,” and was instrumental in linking university faculty and allied industry with Idaho farmers and ranchers for applied on-farm research and demonstrations responding to locally-identified needs.  

As well as state and national commitments, Ed served for several years as a board member of the Eastern Idaho Agriculture Hall of Fame. He was inducted into both the Eastern Idaho Agriculture and the Horsemen’s Hall of Fame, and received many other honors and awards, but was particularly gratified when a young Idaho farmer or rancher was successful, and in turn, gave back to the industry.