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Simplot Grower Solutions: Farmers Helping Farmers

At Simplot, their motto is simple: Farmers helping farmers.

"We are farmers ourselves, so we understand what growers are going through," said Bill Hume, Senior Area Manager for Simplot Grower Solutions. "We want to help our growers be financially successful and help them to be good stewards of the land."

Their story of helping farmers is one that dates back nearly a century.

The J.R. Simplot Company is a privately held, family owned, agri-business company founded in 1929 by John Richard Simplot in Idaho. Mr. Simplot dropped out of school in the eighth grade and left home to work on a farm growing potatoes. He got the idea that if he fed his cattle the unused potatoes, they would grow stronger and produce more yields.

By World War II, J.R. Simplot Company had become the largest shipper of fresh potatoes in the nation, and, in 1967, McDonalds' Founder Ray Kroc agreed by handshake that Simplot would provide frozen french fries to the restaurant chain—and as they say, the rest is history.

Today, the J.R. Simplot Company has 11,000 employees worldwide. They supply to various fast food restaurants, are one of the largest phosphate fertilizer companies in North America with their own mines, one of the largest cattle companies in the nation, and the largest guacamole marketer in the U.S. They are also the parent company to other Simplot businesses, such as Simplot Grower Solutions.

Simplot Grower Solutions began in 1945 as Simplot Soil Builders in Twin Falls, ID. The name changed to Simplot Grower Solutions in 2002. Their primary business is to work with growers to provide inputs, seed, fertilizer, irrigation, technology, crop nutrition and crop protection.

Hume joined Simplot Grower Solutions in 2015, however, he is no stranger to farming. He grew up on his family's farm in Dos Palos. During his 30-year career, he has worked both sides of the value fence and provided tools to help farmers be successful. As senior area manager for California, he oversees 500 employees in the 21 California locations ranging from Colusa to Bakersfield.

Hume makes sure that his employees are working in unison and doing what is best for the growers of California. He also makes sure that as growers' needs change, Simplot is adapting and changing along with them.

Not only does Simplot embody their motto by helping growers take care of their land and soils on the agri-business side, but Simplot's food division purchases from those same growers come harvest season.

"It's what you would call coming full circle," said Hume.

Simplot Grower Solutions also ensures that as an organization, they are continuing to be great stewards of their community as well.

They are actively involved in various philanthropic and community organizations such as The United Way, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society—Hume is a "Man of the Year" candidate—Fresno State Agriculture, Valley Children's Hospital and Community Medical Centers, to name a few.

Simplot Grower Solutions is also a Friends of the Family Farm premium member.

"We decided to become FCFB members because the vast majority of FCFB members do business with Simplot in some form or fashion," said Hume. "We felt that as an organization we needed to do our part in giving back and being more heavily involved in the agricultural community."

"Simplot is committed to California and Fresno County agriculture. We aren't going anywhere."

By: Kayleena Speakman, July 2020