Seven longtime leaders in Idaho’s agriculture industry were selected to be inducted into the 50th Anniversary Class of the Eastern Idaho Agriculture Hall of Fame (EIAHF) during the annual recognition dinner held on March 15. This year’s class brings the total to 252 inductees since the first class selected in 1973. These individuals represent leadership, innovation, service and commitment to the agriculture industry. Individuals who are honored from outside of the 16-county area are chosen for their agriculture contributions to eastern Idaho.

Wade and Vicki Beckman

Roberts, Idaho

Wade and Vicki Beckman, Beckman Livestock and Farming, have focused on quality cattle and crops for 40 years. Now a multigenerational outfit, the Beckmans have raised registered Limousin cattle since 1979 and began crossing Limousin and Angus to develop a registered Lim-Flex herd.

They have exhibited award-winning stock to championships across the western U.S. and partner with two other breeders to conduct an annual bull sale. They raise more than 1,200 acres of malt barley, wheat, barley, alfalfa and pasture, adapting their farming, irrigation and husbandry practices as new technology and opportunities arise.

Utilizing individual and herd data, they ensure their stock meets the demands of commercial and purebred cattlemen, feedlots and consumers. They've participated in multistate university research projects, including feedlot conversion trials and animal health studies.

Wade judges cattle shows across the Intermountain area, serves as a 20-year director of the Butte and Market Lake Canal Company and is a 20-year member and past chair of the West Side Soil and Water Conservation District. Vicki shares her knowledge of beef cattle selection, management, nutrition and showmanship with 4-H, FFA and purebred youth and youth program advisers. She is the daughter of 2016 EIAHF Inductee Bonnie Stoddard.


Merrill Beyeler. Courtesy photo.

Merrill Beyeler

Leadore, Idaho

Merrill Beyeler’s leadership and natural resource stewardship have been recognized at the local, state and national levels. Taking over the family operation in 1973, while teaching and coaching for 21 years, Beyeler and his family added more property and made changes to achieve economic and ecological objectives.

They have modified irrigation and cropping systems, transitioned to fall calving, adjusted their grazing program and used conservation easements to protect parts of the ranch for future agricultural uses. Beyeler has served in the Idaho State Legislature as a representative from District 8. His extensive agricultural industry involvement includes the Lemhi Cattle and Horse Growers Association board, Central Idaho Rangeland Network founding board member, Lemhi Regional Land Trust board/chairman, Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission board/vice chairman, Idaho Rangelands Conservation Partnership steering committee, University of Idaho Rinker Rock Creek Ranch advisory committee, Idaho Businesses for the Outdoors founding board member/chairman of the policy committee, Lemhi and Custer County Natural Resources Conservation Service committee, Governor’s Salmon Recovery Workgroup and member of Swan Basin Grazing Association. He has been honored with many awards, including Lemhi Soil Conservation District Grass Man of the Year 1993, Weed Warrior 2014, Salmon Valley Stewardship’s Dave Krosting Sustainability Award 2011, Lemhi Cattle and Horse Growers Association Rancher of the Year 2013, Department of Interior/Bureau of Land Management 2013 Rangeland Stewardship Award, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission Award for Significant Contribution in Support of Pacific Marine Fisheries Resources 2013 and the Idaho Governor’s Award for Excellence in Agriculture Environmental Stewardship.


Boyd Foster. Courtesy photo.

Boyd Foster

Ririe, Idaho

Operating on thousands of acres in Bonneville and Jefferson counties, Boyd Foster grew up on a family farm near Ririe, partnering with his brother until 2008. Now under Vista Valley Ag, Foster and his family raise commercial and seed potatoes, barley, wheat, alfalfa and Red Angus cattle.

He is a partner in a fresh pack/ship warehouse, a member of local service and marketing entities and has been a director of the Clark and Edwards Canal, Lessey Canal and Bonneville-Jefferson Ground Water District. Foster received the 2016 National Potato Council Environmental Stewardship Award for judicious pesticide use, co-owns a fertilizer company that received the DuPont Chemical Company’s Environmental Respect Award and was named Potato Grower of the Year by Potato Grower Magazine in 2013. Additionally, he received a Governor’s Certificate of Highest Merit for service to the Idaho potato industry in 2015. Foster has served on the U.S. Potato Board, National Potato Council, Idaho Potato Commission, Jefferson County Planning and Zoning board and Anheuser-Busch Advisory Grower Committee. Each year, he invites community members to observe the harvest operation and gather fresh-dug potatoes for their own use. He has also sponsored scholarships for Ririe High School seniors pursuing secondary education in agricultural-related fields.


Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter. Courtesy photo.

Idaho Gov. C.L. ‘Butch’ Otter

Star, Idaho

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter was born in Caldwell on a small farm where his family raised hogs, cattle, wheat and corn. He attended Boise Junior College and the College of Idaho, and served in the Idaho Army National Guard’s 116th Armored Cavalry from 1968-73.

Otter spent 30 years in the agribusiness sector in food production, marketing and business development as director of Simplot Company’s Food Products Division, president of Simplot Livestock and president of Simplot International. President Ronald Reagan appointed Otter to his administration's Task Force on International Private Enterprise, the World Bank's Agricultural Advisory Committee and the Center for International Private Enterprise.

Otter has been a strong and effective advocate for Idaho agriculture and agribusiness through decades of public service, including Idaho’s longest-serving lieutenant governor (1987-2000); two terms in the Idaho House of Representatives; in the U.S. House of Representatives 2001-07; and as Idaho’s 32nd governor (2007-19). Otter is a member or former member of the National Rifle Association, the Maple Grove State Grange, the Idaho Cowboys Association and the Idaho 4-H Million Dollar Club. He is a Grand Slam member of Ducks Unlimited, a lifetime member of Safari Club International, was elected to the National Cowboy Hall of Fame board of directors in Oklahoma City in 1991 and is a lifetime member of American Legion Post 113 in Meridian.

Jeff Raybould

St. Anthony, Idaho

Jeff Raybould has worked tirelessly to advance Idaho’s potato industry and management of ground and surface water. He grew up alongside his father, 1990 EIAHF inductee, Dell Raybould, and Dell’s brother John, on Raybould Brothers Farm, producing potatoes for the fresh and processing markets, grain and alfalfa in Madison and Fremont counties. He is the second of three generations of Rayboulds to represent Idaho agriculture and potato growers at the state and national levels and to lead the industry as president of the National Potato Council. He has served on the boards of the United Potato Growers of Idaho, Idaho Potato Commission, Potato Growers of Idaho, National Potato Council, Rexburg Chamber of Commerce and others.

He became involved in water issues as a board member/officer in the Fremont-Madison Irrigation District, Egin Bench Canal Company, Independent Canal Company, Henry’s Fork Groundwater District and Henry’s Fork Watershed Council. He served on the Comprehensive Aquifer Management Plan advisory committee (2007), has dedicated more than a decade to the Idaho Water Resources board including as chair, been a Committee of Nine alternate and a guest columnist on water issues. His many awards include: Potato Man of the Year from The Grower/The Packer, Vance Publications, 1998; Certificate of Highest Merit for service in the Idaho potato industry from Idaho Gov. Kempthorne, 2003; the Governor’s Commendation for Distinguished Public Service for his work on the Idaho Potato Commission, 2003; and the Gold Potato Award for leadership and service to the potato industry from the National Potato Council, 1996.


Justin Skaar. Courtesy photo.

Justin Skaar

Lewisville/Jerome, Idaho

Justin Skaar has positively influenced the agricultural industry as co-owner of a large and diversified agribusiness in Jefferson County. He and his brothers took over an operation started by their father – 1980 EIAHF Inductee Louis Skaar – and developed Skaar Feedlot into one of the most progressive in eastern Idaho: feeding 14,000-15,000 cattle a year, farming about 1,200 acres, running a trucking division, purchasing cattle and commodities from hundreds of area producers and employing 20 or more, several who have been with the company for 30 years or longer. He is respected for honoring every deal he made, whether by contract, a handshake or verbal bond. He is a past director/president of Jefferson County Cattlemen’s Association, board member/president of the Eastern Idaho Agriculture Hall of Fame, was recognized as Cattle Feeder of the Year by the Idaho Cattle Association in 1995 and inducted into the Eastern Idaho Horseman’s Hall of Fame in 2013. He and his brother, 2006 EIAHF Inductee DuWayne Skaar, hosted many groups and tours including FFA, 4-H and college students; farmers and ranchers; culinary-institute trained professional chefs; state and federal elected officials; university faculty; and private consultants.

In 2014, he was featured in a nationally televised advertising segment that reached millions of viewers, drawing attention to Idaho cattle producers, feeders and family farms. He coached high school rodeo athletes in cutting horse events, was a director/president of the Idaho Cutting Horse Association, and trained and showed his own champion horses. Skaar is a U.S. Army veteran. His sister-in-law Sarah (Henson) Skaar is a 2023 EIAHF inductee.

The Eastern Idaho Agriculture Hall of Fame marks its 50th anniversary in 2024 with a special collector's book titled Leaders & Legacy. This commemorative hardcover showcases the history of the EIAHF, featuring bios of its 252 inductees from the 16 counties of eastern Idaho, alongside over 400 historical photographs spanning from the 1880s to the present day. Leaders & Legacy can be preordered on the EIAHF website.

—Compiled by the Eastern Idaho Agriculture Hall of Fame board of directors