Kyle Wilson’s Gift of Land Grows Commodity Risk Management Program
Kyle Wilson, a third-generation farmer who spent his life tilling his family’s crops in the Tom Beall area near Lapwai, considered his land kin. Now, with UI’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) serving as trustee of part of Kyle’s farm (McCormack Ridge), the university is managing the property with a similar mindset — as if it were the next generation of family responsible for its sustainability.
Kyle requested that the university maintain his land as a working farm. UI has upheld the lease that Kyle had made with a local Vandal family when he decided to retire from farming. Brothers John, Jared and Ryan Schwartz are all CALS graduates and raise wheat, barley, canola and peas on the farm.
Beneficiaries from the lease agreement are students and faculty in CALS’ agricultural economics program, from which Kyle was a graduate in 1981. Specifically, the donation will help advance a partnership between CALS and the College of Business and Economics to develop a minor in agricultural commodity risk management. This program prepares students for reading the fluctuating regional and global market of agricultural products in order to manage investments wisely.
When Kyle’s grandfather purchased land in the Tom Beall area south of the Clearwater River in the 1930s, and additional land on McCormack Ridge in the 1950s, he dug in and began growing the region’s staples — barley, wheat, peas and lentils. He also ran a cattle operation on additional timberland near Winchester. Kyle maintained the farming tradition until his death in 2015. As a loyal UI supporter, Kyle knew he wanted to endow part of the farmland to the UI when the time came.
“The University of Idaho and the Sigma Nu Fraternity were incredibly important institutions in Kyle’s life. He was tremendously dedicated to both,” said Kyle’s brother, Blair. “Our dad, Peter K. Wilson, was a U of I graduate and a long-time contributor to UI’s Steer-a-Year Program. When Kyle, our sister Mary K., and I were at the U of I, our parents were always there for Parents’ Weekend and homecoming events. Kyle wanted a portion of his estate to benefit the College of Ag-Life Sciences as well as the entire university.”
In addition to being a steward of his own land, Kyle served as an elected official on the Nez Perce Soil and Water Conservation District Board for 31 years. He advocated for the sustainable use of natural resources statewide. As the new stewards of Kyle’s land, the University of Idaho plans to honor that legacy.