Potato Grower

August 2017

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WWW.POTATOGROWER.COM 11 PROUD HISTORY The Websters have been farming on the Rexburg Bench since Kevin's great-grandfather, James Whaley Webster, partnered with a Mr. Woodmansee in 1906 to take the ground out of sagebrush and begin dry farming wheat and barley. "Everybody thought they were kind of nuts back then, farming up on the Bench," says Webster. "Everyone though you needed to be in the lowlands to raise crops." The Websters ran a successful dry-farming operation until the early 1960s, when the first deep wells were drilled on the Rexburg Bench. Webster's Deep Well Farm, as the family corporation aptly came to be called, began employing several wells, the deepest of which plunges 1,130 feet into the earth. With irrigation water now available in the high country, the Websters began growing that most Idahoan of crops, potatoes. They were among the first growers in the area to contract to raise malt barley, which has proven to be a great rotation crop with their potatoes for several decades now. "When we first got irrigation, I was about 10 or 12," says Webster. "We started out with handlines. I remember moving pipe all through my younger years. We started switching to pivots about 1975, but I moved a lot of pipe in those days." Kevin Webster relishes the chance to work with his son Jonathan, who is currently the manager of Webster Potato Company. All of the potatoes from the Websters' farm are shipped through Webster Potato Company, along with those of a few other growers. Webster says it's sometimes challenging to wear the hats of both grower and shipper, but it has provided opportunities for personal and family growth.

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