Dec 3, 2020
Marty Myers, ‘visionary’ of Oregon’s organic Threemile Canyon Farms, dies
Zeke Jennings

Marty Myers, general manager of Threemile Canyon Farms in Oregon and the current chairman of Potatoes USA’s board of directors, died Dec. 1 at his home. He was 68.

The exact cause of death is unknown, but it was first reported by the Capital Press that it was due to natural causes.

Marty Myers photo
Marty Myers. Photo: Threemile Canyon Farms

“Within Potatoes USA, we are unimaginably sad for this loss,” Potatoes USA CEO Blair Richardson told Spudman via email. “Marty’s leadership both publicly and privately will be missed by Potatoes USA and the entire industry. On a personal level, Marty was a mentor and confidant and played an important role in my decision to join this organization. His guidance and advice were critical as I learned about our industry and the people who give our industry life. I will dearly miss our regular conversations and his supportive advice.”

Threemile Canyon Farms, based in Boardman, Oregon, is a large agriculture operation that produces organic and conventional crops, as well as dairy. The farm operation recently won an award for its sustainable practices.

Organic crops include potatoes, onions, grain and sweet corn, sweet peas, green beans, carrots and blueberries.

Threemile Canyon, owned by R.D. Offutt Company, also has a potato processing operation that makes fries and chips.

Under Myers’ leadership, Threemile Canyon was dedicated to sustainable practices and animal welfare, including its award-winning Closed-Loop system that is designed to have the crop and dairy operations improve each other.

The company issued the following statement Dec. 3:

“Marty was the visionary behind Threemile Canyon Farms and our cherished leader. Threemile Canyon Farms started in 1999, with the dairy following two years later. From the beginning, sustainability was made the center of the farm’s operations, long before the concept was popular. It was Marty’s idea to reduce the farm’s waste by using manure, not only to fertilize organic crops, but also to produce energy through a methane digester.

“Marty’s vision was not merely operational; his vision included a very clear picture of what it means to be a member of the community. Threemile Canyon Farms has always been a visible and committed member of the Boardman and greater Morrow County community. Under Marty’s leadership, the farm began programs to regularly donate food to the local food bank, provide a staging site for the local fire department and support programs for youth interested in agriculture.

“As proud as Marty was of the operations, his greatest pride was in the Threemile Canyon Farms team. He was quick to give credit to the committed individuals who shared his passion for the farm and loved that they often recruited friends and family to work there. He created a culture of development that included a very successful intern program and other programs that encouraged young people to pursue careers in agriculture because he saw them as the future of the farm.

“Marty was a contributing member of the agriculture industry for over 20 years, and was frequently brought in to difficult policy discussions for his farming “expertise and keen diplomacy skills. Along with his leadership of Threemile Canyon Farms, Marty served as a commissioner of the Oregon Potato Commission and Oregon Dairy Nutrition Council. He also served on the board of the Oregon Business Association, The Freshwater Trust, Potato Growers of Washington, and, most recently, the Oregon Board of Agriculture. Marty was currently serving a term as the Chairman of the Board for Potatoes USA.

“There just aren’t enough kind words to use when describing Marty. He was thoughtful, quick to laugh, and someone who always focused on what was possible.  But most of all, he will be remembered as a friend and a true partner to those he worked alongside. He will be dearly missed but his vision will most certainly live on.”

Myers was named the chair of Potatoes USA’s board chair in March for a term of one year. Richardson said current vice-chair Jaren Raybould of Rexburg, Idaho, will assume the role of chair for the remainder of the term.

Photo: Threemile Canyon Farms

Zeke Jennings is a contributing editor for Organic Grower. He also edits two other magazines, Spudman and Produce Processing, and hosts a podcast, the Potato Field with Spudman.

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