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As Idaho’s strongest industry, agriculture is a way of life for communities across our state. The Idaho State Department of Agriculture was established in 1919 to serve and regulate this cornerstone industry. We oversee more than 60 sections of Idaho Code, and the agency is structured to efficiently implement our statutory duties. The ISDA is divided into the Director’s Office, six divisions and two bureaus.

Director Tewalt

Chanel Tewalt was appointed by Governor Brad Little to serve as Director of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) in January 2023.  

Director Tewalt first joined the ISDA while in college at Boise State University and has 15 years of experience at the department, including serving as the deputy director and chief operations officer. In her work at the agency, Tewalt has focused on collaboration with industry partners and on the implementation of agency programs with a clear understanding of statutory requirements and stakeholder needs. She also oversaw efforts to reduce regulatory red tape and respond to emergency issues impacting agriculture.  

Tewalt grew up on a livestock operation in Klamath Falls, Oregon, which is home to longstanding struggles over water. These experiences and other lessons learned in agriculture, are foundational to the way Tewalt approaches her work at the ISDA. Continuing to build positive working relationships with stakeholders and partners are of primary importance to the Director.  In her role at the agency, she seeks to emphasize balance, transparency and strong customer service.   

Chanel was awarded an Honorary State FFA Degree by the Idaho FFA Association and an Honorary Chapter Degree from the Meridian FFA Chapter. FFA and 4-H were critical to Tewalt throughout her upbringing, and she is proud to have cultivated a strong relationship with Idaho FFA throughout her career.  

Tewalt is a board member and past president of the Expo Idaho Board, a member of the Meridian FFA Alumni Chapter and a member of the University of Idaho Agricultural Education, Leadership and Communications Advisory Board. Tewalt was a board member and past president of the Communication Officials of State Departments of Agriculture, which improves communication among states on agricultural issues.  

Tewalt and her husband have two children. They co-own a family club lamb and seedstock operation in the Treasure Valley and are proud to be raising their children in and around production agriculture. 

ISDA Building Boise

Strong Roots

The Idaho Legislature created the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) in 1919 to assist and regulate the state’s agricultural industry. More than 100 years later, the ISDA continues to be a responsive and dynamic agency that strives to meet the needs of Idaho agriculture. 

The ISDA serves an important role for all Idahoans. Idaho’s economic well-being is forever tied to the health of its farming and ranching. We also recognize new opportunities exist that will redefine the future of agriculture in Idaho. Agriculture changes, ensuring efficient and superior service delivery will be the department’s foremost priority. Over the past century our farmers and ranchers have laid the framework for the values that have shaped Idaho Agriculture as we know it today. Our pledge is to optimize those values in the years to come.

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