Dr. Joseph J. Pavek
Hal Abend was one of the first in the industry to use rubber rollers to prevent bruising. Later, he bought one of the first electronic sizers in the country, and in the 1980s he was the first U.S. potato packer to use computer-operated scales for consumer bags.
Don Bass made national news when he let radio personality Arther Godfrey know that potatoes were not fattening as he stated on his radio show. It’s the toppings people put on their potato that is the fattening part. Don served as president of the Idaho Grower Shippers Association and was the IGSA’s Russet Aristocrat in 1976. He was also active in the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association.
Allan F Larsen was active in numerous commodity organizations, including Potato Growers of Idaho, National Potato Council and on the drafting committee for the National Potato Promotion Act which resulted in the creation of the National Potato Promotions Board.
Clarence Parr is a Heyburn-area grower who retired from farming in 1980. He served on the Idaho Potato Commission, the National Potato Promotion Board, Agricultural Committee of the Federal Energy Office, the USDA’s Potato Advisory Committee, Potato Growers of Idaho as well as Idaho Water Resources Board.
Orval and Vernal Forbes invented a mechanical potato harvester during World War II because of a shortage of field workers. Their bucket concept was gentle on potatoes.
Paul Hansen, a retired J.R. Simplot Co. vice-president, was the creator of preseason contracts, which provided farmers with a price they could depend on and processors with a supply they could depend on.
Darryl Harris began Potato Grower magazine in the basement of his house in 1972. Now national in scope, it remains the flagship of several specialty magazines.
Kurt Kandler, a preeminent Ashton-area seed grower, was active in Potato Growers of Idaho and on the Idaho Potato Commission and pushed for legislation requiring seed to be certified.
Winslow Beck Whiteley was the first in the Oakley area to build log spud cellars and the first to irrigate with pivots. In 1955, he became the first president of the National Potato Council
Elden Hall of Rigby was one of the first to mass produce harvesters. His Hallway Harvesters were manufactured in Idaho Falls until the company was sold.
Howard Kelly of Blackfoot was one of the well-known potato growers and cattlemen.
Masa Tsukamoto is a Blackfoot grower who invented a better way to cover and uncover trucks loaded with potatoes. One of his proudest moments was when he was named a life member of the Potato Association of America.
Miles Willard of Idaho Falls was instrumental in the development of potato flakes in the mid-‘50s.
T.S. Vanderford of Aberdeen was one of the first of the big-acreage growers, and one of the first to vertically integrate into the packing business.