50 for 50: Marty Myers

Published online: Jun 20, 2021 50 for 50, Grower of the Month Tyrell Marchant, Editor
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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.

If there were ever any questions about Marty Myers’s roots, they didn’t persist for long. Myers was a fifth-generation Oregonian born and raised in agriculture. And while Myers is known as one of the most enthusiastic agricultural innovators in the world, his dream was always to do it in the fertile ground of his beloved home state, just like his pioneer forebears.

Myers passed away unexpectedly in December 2020, but his warmth and vision will surely be a light to his community and the industry he loved for a long time to come.

Myers began working for R.D. Offutt in 1994 as a business development manager focused on growing the company’s influence in the western U.S. By 1999, he was heading up the formation and operation of Threemile Canyon Farms in Boardman, Ore., an ambitious, diversified project with the stated goal of taking farm sustainability to a previously unforeseen level — and long before the concept of sustainability was popular. Myers led the charge in developing Threemile’s “closed loop system,” in which the farm supplies for many of its own needs, from fertilizer to energy. One of his signature projects was to reduce farm waste by using dairy manure not only to fertilize organic crops, but to also produce energy via a methane digester.

Today, Threemile Canyon Farms consists of 93,000 total acres, with almost 40,000 acres of irrigated farm land. It operates three conventional dairies and one organic dairy, raises pasture-fed beef cattle, and grows both conventional and organic crops including potatoes, onions, alfalfa, field corn, sweet corn, carrots, peas and blueberries.

Myers’s vision is echoed in Threemile’s philosophy, as stated on the company’s website: “We’ve challenged ourselves to question longstanding agricultural practices. ‘Business as usual’ really has no meaning at Threemile.” 

Myers’s touted vision was not merely operational, however. It included a clear picture of what it means to be a member of the community. Since its inception, Threemile Canyon Farms has been a visible and committed member of the Boardman and greater Morrow County community. Under Myers’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. 

Along with his leadership of Threemile Canyon Farms, Myers served as a commissioner of the Oregon Potato Commission and Oregon Dairy Nutrition Council, as well as on the board of the Oregon Business Association, The Freshwater Trust, Potato Growers of Washington and the Oregon Board of Agriculture. At the time of his passing, he was serving as chairman of the board for Potatoes USA. As of this writing, the Oregon legislature is considering passage of a joint resolution honoring Myers and his contributions to the state and the ag industry.