Pete McGarry of Hamer is being inducted into the 2012 Eastern Idaho Agriculture Hall of Fame for being a steward of the land and people in Eastern Idaho. His contributions to agriculture are in natural resource conservation, the cattle and horse industry, and as a spokesman for agriculture and ranching.
Growing up on the family ranch in Kilgore, McGarry rode a horse before he could walk. The ranch was an idyllic place for McGarry to learn range stewardship, how to operate a cow/calf operation and horsemanship. He became an expert at packing sawbucks and panniers to balance a load on the back of a pack animal. This skill was used often packing into remote areas when he worked on a dude ranch and for the Bridger National Forest where he packed in chemicals on horses to control pine beetles. McGarry later shared and taught his packing skills to 4-H Club Members and special interest groups.
After serving in the U.S. military, McGarry returned to McGarry Ranches in Kilgore to help his father. Recognizing his expertise he was appointed as the Clark County Assessor and served in this position for three terms.
McGarry has been very involved in soil and water conservation efforts in western Jefferson County. His leadership helped the Mud Lake Soil and Water Conservation District promote and secure funding to improve irrigation water management and wind erosion. Improved irrigation water management is evident with laser land leveling and state of the art irrigation sprinkler systems. These irrigation improvements along with the implementation of Best Management Practices have significantly improved crop yields and reduced wind and water erosion in the Mud Lake, Terreton and Monteview areas. Three years ago the Mud Lake District joined the Jefferson District and McGarry continues to serve as an elected member of the combined districts.
At his farm in Hamer, McGarry has raised grain, alfalfa and potatoes. Farming provided the means for the McGarry family operation to diversify and have a wintering area for their cow/calf operation.