A Tribute to Idaho® Potato Farmers
"After all, you never really own the land, you just take care of it until the next generation takes over." — Jim Tiede, Third Generation Idaho® Potato Farmer
The Tiede family first began farming in Idaho in 1908, when John Tiede homesteaded in the area. The original farm was 320 acres and consisted mostly of dry land crops, like wheat. John Tiede's son, Otto, returned to the farm after fighting in World War II and was among the early proponents of drilling wells to bring irrigation to the area. In the early 1950s, the Tiede farm, which had grown to about 1,200 acres and was growing crops, such as potatoes and sugar beets.
Like most other members of his generation, Jim started working on the farm at a very young age. "It was a tremendous childhood growing up on the farm," he said. "You really learned how to work and to appreciate all that our forefathers had done."
Tiede said that it was a wonderful experience working with his father, who he said imparted a great deal of farming knowledge and business skills in him.
Jim's son, Alex Tiede graduated from the College of Idaho with a degree in marketing and finance and came on board full time about three years ago, Jim greeted him with open arms — and a raft of responsibilities.
"I tell people that it is harder to be the one to carry it on than start from nothing, because you don't want to ruin something that grandpa worked so hard to build," Jim said.
Working together certainly can draw family members closer together, but in the Tiede family outside interests provide good opportunities to bond. Among the favorite shared activities in the Tiede family are hunting and fishing.
Similar to his farming philosophy of being a good steward of the land, Jim said that it is important to hunt responsibly and protect the species. "After all, you never really own the land, you just take care of it until the next generation takes over," he said. "You want to leave it intact or better for them."
Jim Tiede is currently the chairman of the IPC. He is a staunch believer in the organization and the work it does for the industry. "Those gentlemen who decided to start the commission 75 years ago were really forward-thinking," said Tiede. "The idea to have a commission to advertise Idaho® potatoes and bring it into a premier position was wonderful. The groundwork that they put in, we have reaped the benefits for years. Now we have a brand that is known throughout the world."