50 for 50: Dan Moss

Published online: Jun 18, 2021 50 for 50, Grower of the Month
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Throughout 2021, as part of Potato Grower’s celebration of our 50th year in publication, we will be honoring in our pages and on our website 50 of the potato industry’s most innovative and influential individuals, companies and organizations over the past half-century. This “50 for 50” series will include researchers, salesmen, packers, processors and, of course, plenty of potato growers. A lot of them will be names you’ve heard before. To some, you’ll get a fresh introduction. Regardless, each has had an outsize impact on the U.S. potato industry, and each deserves our thanks and recognition. To view the full roster of “50 for 50” honorees, click here
This article appears in the June 2021 issue of Potato Grower.

Dan Moss was not born in Idaho. He didn’t grow up in Idaho. He didn’t even begin his farming career in Idaho. But rest assured, Dan Moss is Idahoan, through and through.

Moss was born and raised on a family farm in northern Utah. But as the subdivisions crept farther and farther up the Wasatch Range, it became increasingly clear that continuing to farm in the region would only get more difficult. So in 1980, Moss and his wife Jann packed up the family and headed north on I-84, where the fertile, much less populated soils of the Magic Valley beckoned.

The move, to put it mildly, has paid off. Today, Moss Farms comprises five management areas in three counties: two in the Burley-Rupert area on either side of the Snake River; the west farm in Bliss; the east farm in Raft River; and a seed farm in Sublett. In 2007, they purchased Arrowhead Potato Company, through which all their table-stock potatoes (about one-third of the Mosses’ total potato production) are packed and shipped. The rest — excluding seed — are contracted to McCain, Simplot and Gem State Processing.

Dan and Jann’s son Ryan is the primary day-to-day operator of the farm these days, but Dan keeps plenty busy. He remains intimately involved with the farm and packing shed, and he’s neck-deep in helping promote the potato industry and Idaho brand through his involvement in industry trade organizations. He served as Potatoes USA’s chairman of the board in 2018 and has always been a proponent of industry involvement and its positive impact on his own operation.

“I think a big reason farms last through generational transitions,” Moss says, “is a genuine pride and love of the land. Once you’ve shoved your hands down in the dirt and those spuds come out, or watch a sugarbeet truck fill up in minutes, it’s hard to get enough of that.”

The Mosses have seen a lot of progress over the years — on their farm, in their family, and in the industry. A lot of folks would say the Mosses have done more than their fair share to see that progress through. They would be right.