In the community

Riley garners Nyssa Chamber award for ag business

Kay Riley of Snake River Produce was honored Feb. 24 as Agriculturist of the Year.

He was among several local citizens honored by the Nyssa Chamber of Commerce at its annual banquet.

Riley arrived in Nyssa in 1999, working for Utah-based Muir-Roberts Co. Inc., at that time the owner of the Nyssa facility. That year, Snake River Produce and investors including Riley, Reid Saito, Ken Teramura, Ross Nishihara and Les Ito purchased the operation.

Riley managed the sales, and the others grew onions.

Over the years, Snake River Produce counts its partners and their support, as well as good employees, as the key to its success. The staff includes Tiffany Cruickshank, transportation and sales assistant; Kim Rutten, administrative assistant; Melecio Lopez, production manager; Bryce Marvin, head of food safety and Kyle Estrom, grower relations.

Riley credits the entire staff for their efforts.

“They are always willing to do anything to make things work out, to go the extra mile,” Riley said.

In addition to his responsibilities at Snake River Produce, Kay serves as the chair of the Idaho/Eastern Oregon Onion Committee: president of Certified Onions Inc., a non-profit pesticide residue testing company; and is a board member of the Malheur County Development Corp.

He also serves in leadership roles with his church, and in his free time enjoys hunting, fishing and golf. He and his wife, Karen, have four children, 15 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

This is one of a series of articles on the award winners at this year’s Nyssa Chamber banquet.