Board Candidates Info

Below you will find information regarding each individual who is running to be a board member for Valley Wide Cooperative.

If you would like to view the election letter please go here:

View Election Message

 

District 1 Candidates




Chris Clelland - District 1

Chris and his wife of 19 years, Christy, farm with their two kid’s north of Notus. They are a 1st generation farm family that have a 600-acre row crop farm where they grow sugar beets, wheat, beans, alfalfa and vegetable seeds.

Chris firmly believes in the cooperative model, its buying power that benefits its members and being an advocate for farm issues. He and his wife were recent participants in a trip to Capitol Hill with Land O Lakes and the National Council for Farmers Coops – representing growers from Idaho. While there, he had the opportunity to meet with key legislators and discuss - and petition on important issues like GMO Labeling. Chris has come to believe that we as Idaho producers can no longer be a spectator, but need to actively influence the direction of the legislature through groups like Land O lakes, the NCFC and locally here through Valley Wide Cooperative. 

As a resume, Chris says that 21 years of Idaho farming gives him a solid understanding of the issues facing the growers in the Treasure Valley. He started with a $50 baler out of the bone pile and a borrowed tractor. Today he farms with a GPS driven tractor and a precision air planter and has tried to keep pace with technology and grow his operation as well. “Building a business from scratch has taught me about business from the inside out. Farming through good times and bad times has tempered me to make prudent choices”. These are the qualities that will make me a good Board member for Valley Wide Cooperative.


Weston Schulthies - District 1

I was born and raised in Nyssa on what started as a dairy farm and became a row crop operation after 1988. I worked on the farm from the time I was old enough to help. I went to college and earned a bachelor degree in Ag Business got married and returned back to the family farm in 2004. I come from a family of four boys and four girls and my wife and I have four girls and two boys and gave up trying to catch up to my parents after six kids. Through the years I watched my father work hard to pull things back together after having to sell everything and start over. I learned and gained a lot of experience and since have been very conservative in my approach to finances and business. In 2010 my dad, brother and I decided to combine all of our operations and formed Mountain Valley Enterprises Inc. which included my brothers cattle and custom stacking operation. We became very diversified and started learning the pros and cons of family business. The farm has grown and is now a 1500ac row crop operation which raises sugar beets, onions, hay, corn, grain, cattle, and a few seed crops. We have been members of the coop since it was the Nyssa coop before it became Valley Wide and have seen the changes take place that have grown buying power of our coop. I think the thing that most impresses me is the commitment of the coop to informing members of new technology and information to help us become better growers and businesses. The many opportunities to network with other farmers from across the US with the answer plots, Winfield trips, Coop 101, Stukenholtz lab classes and many more opportunities to learn and better ourselves has really been beneficial to us in our operation. This is why I am excited to give back to a coop that has given so much to me.
 

District 2 Candidates


 

 

Karen Fields - District 2

Prior to moving to Idaho I was employed for 12 years as a full charge bookkeeper for a grain co-operative in Sherman County, Oregon. In August 1988, my husband, having grown up on a dryland wheat, barley and cattle ranch wanted to get back into agriculture. We sold our service station and mini market on the Columbia River and purchased a small dairy farm in Lincoln County at which time we became a member of the local co-op.

I served as a director on the Valley Co-op board for approximately 20 years. Having already served as a director I have a good understanding of co-operative financials and budgets and of the duties and responsibilities of a director. During the discussion phase of the consolidation of Valley Co-op and Valley Wide I served on the Valley Co-op committee to assist in the drafting of the By Laws and the Articles of Incorporation. With the consolidation of Valley Co-op and Valley Wide I stepped down due to the reduction in board positions.

Currently I own a small farm north of Shoshone raising alfalfa and using silage corn as a rotation crop. I also raise a few head of Angus cattle. My oldest son helps with the farming and also dairies on the home place. My youngest son works for a construction company in the Sun Valley area.

I firmly believe in the co-operative system and believe that co-ops play a vital role in agriculture.
 

 

 

Taylor Grant - District 2

Taylor Grant is a third generation member of the Grant 4-D Farms operation in Rupert, Idaho and currently position as the Director of Technology. With potatoes and sugar beets being a large focus of their operation they also grow wheat, barley, alfalfa, corn, and other specialty crops. Taylor understands that while farming the land is at the core of the business they also have an impact on the community. He believes that an operation must not only be a good steward of the soil beneath them but also a good steward of the community around them. Valley Wide Coop by definition is about community, and Taylor believes that he would be a good candidate to help guide that same vision forward in a progressive direction that can further unify growers and consumers alike. Technology today is advancing quickly, and growers are continuing to look for ways to get more out of their fields. If vendors like Valley Wide Coop are poised for the opportunity they will be able to better serve that need.

Prior to coming back to the farm Taylor attended Boise State University, receiving his Associates of Arts. Taylor completed his schooling by obtaining a Bachelors of Commercial Photography from the Art Institute of Seattle. He spent several years working with leading companies including Nordstrom and Starbucks as a freelance photographer, and built  a large portfolio and client base. He later married a ranch girl from Montana and moved back to his family’s farm. Taylor has graduated from the Leadership Idaho Agriculture program class 35, and has continued to seek leadership opportunities. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Grant 4-D Farms. Taylor believes that, with further experience and training, he can bring an assertive perspective to the Valley Wide Cooperative board and help to drive it forward.

The desire for Taylor to serve on the Board of Valley Wide Coop stems from the role that the company plays in the community. Whereas the company is involved in retail, fuel, and production agriculture the opportunity to serve the communities is extensive. He is driven to seek a seat on the board because of the potential to bringing our communities together even more, and to encourage the adaptation of technology. With his passion for production agriculture, understanding of new technologies, and ability to connect with individuals, Taylor would be a valuable leader to serve on the board of Valley Wide Coop.

 

District 3 Candidates





Bart Wattenbarger - District 3

Bart Wattenbarger is a fourth generation farmer in the Shelley area. He has lived in Shelley all of his life and is now raising his family there. He works side by side with his father and brothers and is looking forward to working with his son in the near future. He has been growing fresh potatoes for GPOD of Idaho for the past 22 years. Currently, he grows 1500 acres of potatoes along with 2000 acres of grain/barley.

Bart has served on the US Potato Board, District 3 Chairman for Potato Growers of Idaho, and recently served on the Board of Directors for Bingham Co-op. He would like to continue to serve on the Board of Directors for Valley Wide Cooperative. He believes in the cooperative system because it allows for the producers and patrons to share ideas and ways to improve their farming operations. It also has benefits such as patronage, and more competitive prices on inputs.

Bart would represent the producers in his area well. He would communicate with the producers and inform them of the things that are happening in the co-op. He is a good listener and would take ideas back to the board and strive for improvement anywhere possible within the co-op. He believes change is inevitable and success is possible through the cooperative system at Valley Wide. We can all be a part of the process of improving the future of Agriculture.

Wattenbarger Farms has a vested interest in Valley Wide Co-op and knows that through the cooperative system Valley Wide Co-op has a vested interest in Wattenbarger Farms and together with all the patrons, we can be a successful team.