Idaho LDS Church farm donating millions of potatoes, needs volunteers for harvest

Rett Nelson,

Amid rising food prices and shortages nationwide, an Idaho farm is preparing to harvest several thousand acres of food later this month, which will benefit people throughout the West and the U.S.

Idaho Falls Crops, commonly known as Taylorview Farms, is a 4,000-acre farm at 10591 South 15th East in Idaho Falls owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. With the help of three full-time employees and hundreds of volunteers, it produces millions of pounds of potatoes every year for people with food insecurities.

“About 50% of the potatoes that we box end up in the Bishop’s storehouse (in Salt Lake City) and it gets distributed through the United States,” Farm manager David Nielson tells “We also have a great relationship with Feeding America (a national network of more than 200 food banks). We send another 50% through their northwest division.”

The farm produces a sizable amount of wheat annually as well — about 285,000 bushels. Other products it provides are alfalfa, mustard and canola, which is a yellow flower cultivated for its seed used to make canola oil.

The Idaho Falls Community Food Basket is one local organization that benefits from the farm’s harvest. Ariel Jackson, the food basket’s executive director, says it gets about 45 pallets of potatoes every year, or about 90,000 pounds.

“We serve about 1,600 families a month. It ends up being about 6,500 people,” Jackson explains. “We get enough potatoes from this program to feed our families for a year.”

Jackson points out that nearly half of those 6,500 people are children.

Jackson says the number of people the food basket is currently serving is significantly higher than the amount that needed food assistance at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At that time, Jackson says the church began sending truckloads of food to the food bank every week to accommodate the increased demand. It has consistently reached out ever since to provide whatever is needed and she’s grateful for that partnership.

“You never really know who might be struggling and who’s hungry, but we decided to come together in this partnership and do all we could to meet the needs in eastern Idaho and it’s been going great,” says Jackson.

Water has been an ongoing concern at the farm this year due to drought conditions. Nielson and his team were informed earlier this year they’d have to reduce water usage by 50%. Despite that, Nielson says they had enough for irrigation and “everything grew to maturity.”

“Next year is a major concern if we don’t have a successful winter,” he says.

The upcoming harvest season, which starts on Sept. 29, is another concern. The farm relies heavily on volunteers to help harvest the crops so they can be distributed. Many of those volunteers come from local church congregations, but anyone is welcome to participate.

A meeting is being held at the farm Thursday night at 7 p.m. for anyone who’s interested in volunteering.

“We want to open this up to the community. We’re part of the Interfaith Council in Idaho Falls and so we’ve invited them over for dinner tonight and we’re going to pass out a sheet showing when we have needs and invite all the community to come out and help with the farm and the harvest,” he says.

The LDS Church also owns a 7,000-acre dry farm in Ririe which is used for cattle grazing.