Women in Ag: Trade Specialist, Leah Clark

Leah Clark is a Trade Specialist for the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), and is also the Manager of the Idaho Preferred® Program. She has been with ISDA since 2004. Leah serves on the Idaho Agriculture in the Classroom Advisory Board and the Leadership Idaho Agriculture Board of Trustees. Prior to joining the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, Leah served as the Executive Director of the Idaho Beef Council for 15 years. Leah has two daughters, Alyssa and Lauren.

How are you involved in agriculture and/or the beef industry today? I currently manage the Idaho Preferred program at the Idaho State Department of Agriculture. Idaho Preferred® is a program to identify and promote Idaho food and agriculture products in Idaho. I also manage my daughter’s small registered Angus herd while she is away attending Oklahoma State University.


Leah promotes food grown and produced in Idaho through the Idaho Preferred® program.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture? My entire career has been devoted to agriculture. My first job at age 13 was cooking for wheat harvest crew before being promoted to truck and then combine driver. I was the first female to serve as president of my FFA chapter and I went on to get a Bachelors and a Master’s Degree in Agriculture. My first professional career was as an Extension 4-H Agent in a rural county in Arizona. After completing my Master’s Degree at Oklahoma State University, I was hired by the Idaho Beef Council as Executive Director where I served for 15 years before moving to the Idaho State Department of Agriculture to manage the Idaho Preferred® program. The highlight of my career was receiving the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Agriculture for Marketing Innovation in 2012.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? Inez Jaca, a cattle producer from Reynolds Creek has always inspired me. Her commitment to the beef industry is unparalleled.

How do you provide encouragement to others? Currently several young women work within the Marketing Division of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture. I encourage them by listening to their ideas and concerns, and providing a sounding board when they are frustrated. I provide suggestions when asked and applaud their efforts with positive verbal recognition directly to them and to their supervisor.


Leah and daughter, Lauren, share a love of Angus cattle. Lauren’s herd grazes on the family’s front pasture.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? Farmers and ranchers are committed to providing safe and affordable food—not only for Americans but for consumers around the world. U.S. consumers must realize that American farmers are crucial to feeding the world and we need to make sure that they (farmers) are able to use all of the current and future technologies available to feed a fast growing world population.

What are you most thankful for? My two daughters, who were very patient with my full time work schedule and frequent travel, and who have grown up to be very successful young women in their chosen fields.

What is your favorite meal to cook yourself or for others?My favorite meal to prepare for myself is a Caprese Salad featuring fresh tomatoes and basil from my garden and fresh Idaho mozzarella. For guests I love preparing the perfect prime rib at the holidays.

What are your guilty pleasures in life? Wine and dark chocolate

What are some of your favorite pastimes and/or hobbies? Hobbies include gardening, reading, pie baking and skiing (both water and snow).

Favorite place to visit? Wherever my girls reside—currently Seattle and Stillwater, Okla.

Find out more at Idaho Preferred!

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen