It’s a busy time at the Weston, Idaho Mountain States Oilseeds, LLC operation. Semi after semi is unloading truckloads of harvested safflower to be cleaned and processed. The company also processes mustard and flax in their American Falls facility.
Much of the company crops are grown in Cache Valley and southeast and south central Idaho. There are also farmers in Montana growing oilseeds crops.
Mountain States’ products can be found in most stores in Cache Valley. They produce seeds used in mustard, safflower oil, bird seed and pet food. Some of the products are used in feed for chickens that lay Omega 3 eggs.
Bill Meadows, the company founder, said he introduced the three crops – safflower, mustard, and flax – as a rotational crop to give wheat, barley and potatoes a spell in 1977. Some farmers have changed from traditional wheat, barley and corn to oilseed crops.
“I started to grow rotational crops. I researched what we could grow and found we could grow safflower,” Meadows said. “I found people to buy it, I contacted other farmers and asked them if they would grow it.”
He said each of the farmers agreed to bring it to American Falls for processing. And he did the marketing.
Meadows said there are good reasons to grow oilseed products as rotational crops.
Mustard is environmentally safe; it alters insect infestations and changes the soil biology, making it excellent for crop rotation. Area growers produce three types of mustard: yellow, brown and oriental.
Flax is also excellent for crop rotation and direct drill farming. Flax plants also break up pest life cycles and reduce annual grassy weeds. Growing flax also adds nutrients to the soil and can increases wheat and grain yields.
Safflower, which is mostly grown in the Cache Valley vicinity, is drought tolerant and reduces annual grassy weeds. The plants have deep tap roots that break up the hard pan. Hard pan is generally clay that impairs drainage and makes plant growth difficult.
Meadows said the company has been steadily growing since 1977, but it really took off in 2010 when they entered the international market
“We have been increasing acres every year. We have taken in nearly a million bushels of total product this year,” Meadows said. “We clean and distribute oilseeds year round. There is no peak time for the product. It’s nice to have a business that complements what everyone is growing.
“We have introduced three crops that have had an impact on area growers,” Meadows said. “Crop production has increased more than I expected.”
The CEO of the company is Jason Godfrey. Godfrey is a 2001 graduate of Utah State University, with a dual degree in Agri-Business and Business.
As a full partner in Mountain States, Jason’s responsibilities include freight and delivery management, overseeing production, and marketing. Chris Ravsten, Clarkston resident, manages the Weston elevator location, handling sales, contracts, and shipping. Ben Rindlesbacher, a Smithfield resident, also works at the Weston facility.