Two well-known onion industry veterans are now at the helm of Four Rivers Packing in Weiser, ID.
In mid-June the operation was purchased by Tracy Fowler, formerly with L&M Cos. and more recently Fresh Approach Farms of Raleigh, NC. In mid-July Fowler announced that Ken Stewart, formerly with Fort Boise Produce and L&M Cos., has come on as sales and operations manager.
Fowler also said the company’s name has been changed from Four Rivers Packing to Four Rivers Onion Packing.
Fowler purchased the onion packing and storage operation from two couples, Jan and Randy Smith and Dennis and Debra Ujiiye. The four had owned Four Rivers since 1999, and the Smiths had handled day-to-day operations. They will continue to work alongside Stewart and his wife, Jan, during the transitional period, Fowler and Stewart said. Jan Stewart will handle administrative tasks for the operation.
Bringing 18 years’ experience to the newly acquired onion packing and shipping operation, Fowler worked for more than 15 years with L&M in the onion and potato programs as well as other commodities. He became
VP of Sales & Acquisitions at IXE Agro USA for two years and then joined the staff at Fresh Approach Farms, a grower service company.
Stewart, a native of Nyssa, OR, worked in the agriculture chemical industry for 16 years before holding the position of sales manager for Fort Boise Produce in Parma, ID, from 2000 to 2011. After leaving Fort Boise, he served as sales and operations manager for L&M’s western onion division for two and one half years, based at the company’s Rocky Ford, CO, facility.
In 2013 he moved from that position to general manager of potatoes and onions, relocating to Raleigh for two and one half years.
“I am very happy to have the chance to go back home,” Stewart said of his move back to Idaho.
Fowler said while ownership at Four Rivers is changing and the Stewarts will take on management responsibilities, the business model will remain the same as that developed by the Smiths and Ujiiyes.
“They have run an outstanding business, while building trust with an excellent group of growers. We have share similar beliefs in business and ethics,” said Fowler.