Neal Hughes of St. Anthony is being inducted into the 2013 Eastern Idaho Agriculture Hall of Fame for outstanding contributions to conservation, community involvement and as a spokesman for agriculture.
Hughes has been involved with soil and water conservation efforts in Fremont County as a supervisor with the Yellowstone Soil Conservation District for over 30 years. He has been instrumental in securing five state funded soil and water conservation projects aimed at controlling erosion in Fremont County.
Hughes grew up in a farming family and knew from an early age he wanted to be a farmer. Through the years he leased or purchase land on which he grew potatoes, grain and later added 300 head of cattle to his operation.
When the Teton Dam broke on June 5, 1976, Hughes’ life and farming operation was changed forever. In a matter of minutes his farm ground, equipment and livestock were washed away by the flood waters.
Seeing a great deal of work needing to be done to restore the farm ground, Hughes purchased heavy duty equipment and went to work with the cleanup and leveling of the newly destroyed ground. Following the flood, Hughes moved forward by purchasing new farm ground, equipment and was one of the first in his area to install pivot irrigation systems. New cellars were built and Hughes Farms, Inc., was created.
Hughes is also among the first producers in his area to install water and sediment control basins aimed at controlling erosion on his farm ground. He was also a pioneer in improving irrigation systems on his farm ground by installing center pivots.
Hughes also has a long list of civic involvement including numerous years on the St. Anthony Chamber of Commerce, South Fremont Hospital Board and two terms as Fremont County Commissioner.