M.L. “Gus” Gustaveson almost single-handedly built the customer base for SunSpiced Potatoes. As president of Basic American Foods, he is heralded for his strong commitment to his employees, customers and growers.
Carl Johnson of Blackfoot built the first harvester to shake the dirt off and bag potatoes. A founding member of Potato Growers of Idaho, he was among the first to recognize the need for collective marketing of potatoes.
Merthen Miles developed the Milestone Seed Cutter, enabling growers to plant many more acres than was possible when they cut seed by hand. The basic principle of his original cutter is still used today.
Lloyd Searle, a Shelley-area grower, was one of the first growers to fumigate to improve quality and yield. He also experimented with new potato varieties.
J.R. Simplot has been involved in every aspect of the potato industry. His company developed frozen French fries and today is one of the world’s leading processors of frozen potato products. He owns plants in four states, as well as in China and Australia.
Preston Atchley, and innovative seed grower in the Ashton area, was among the first to use sprinkler irrigation and forced-air systems in potato storages.
John D Hansen was a Magic Valley grower whose diversified agricultural holdings became a model for modern agri-business.
Carl Hobbs got tired of moving potatoes with a fork, so he and his brother, Leo, developed the first self-propelled potato piler, which they called the Spudnick. The Spudnick company now sells potato pilers and loaders worldwide.
Joe Marshall was legendary as a promoter of Idaho potatoes. He was an extraordinary man of many firsts but, by his own assessment, his finest accomplishment was helping organize the Idaho Potato Commission.
Walt Sparks was a pioneering potato storage researcher at Aberdeen who almost single-handedly extended storage seasons from a few months to almost a year.