John O’Connell

Eastern Idaho Reporter
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Water mound slowing Twin Falls Canal recharge

- Idaho water officials recently announced they expect to recharge 80,000 acre-feet of water in the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer this winter.

Idaho private aquifer recharge organization breathes new life

- A private recharge organization is forming, aiming to provide a service for groundwater users seeking to reduce their consumption to comply with a recent water call settlement with the Surface Water Coalition.

Wet late January maintains Idaho snowpack

- Idaho's snowpack improved in the second half of January.

Sustainability program boosts wheat yields

- A sustainable production program run by Thresher Artisan Wheat and Syngenta continues to contribute to yield improvements among participants.

Cereal pathologist fears bad year with three diseases

- A Univeristy of Idaho cereals pathologist anticipates challenges in Eastern Idaho grain crops with barley yellow dwarf virus, Fusarium headblight and stripe rust.

Field trials show success with alternative PCN controls

- University of Idaho's pale cyst nematode program director says results of a field trial assessing alternative approaches to ridding fields of the damaging, quarantined pest were encouraging, but control was better in a gree...

Drought disaster declarations pay dividends for Idaho ranchers

- Idaho ranchers were approved for more than $21 million in forage assistance in Fiscal Year 2015 due to a drought emergency, and the state is on pace to eclipse that amount in carryover payments approved in FY 2016.

200 Bushel Club sees benefits of careful seeding

- Idaho's 200 Bushel Club has some new research results demonstrating the wisdom of growers who take their time at planting.

Researcher offers recommendations from manure study

- A University of Idaho Extension soils scientist has issued her first recomendations from a planned eight-year study on how crops and soil respond to manure applications.

State seeks funds for methyl bromide study

- The Idaho State Department of Agriculture has requested funding to dispose of hay containing traces of methyl bromide and to research other crop options for growers in the pale cyst nematode program who had fields treated w...

Otter requests more aquifer stabilization funding

- Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has increased his funding request for aquifer stabilization.

Spud leaders update growers on Mexico, other issues

- Potato industry leaders offered updates on topics ranging from access to Mexico to pesticide regulations during the University of Idaho's 2016 Potato Conference, hosted on the Idaho State University campus.

Idaho grower to head NPC

- Southeast Idaho farmer Jim Tiede has been elected as the new president of the National Potato Council.

UI launches new potato websites

- University of Idaho has launched two new potato websites.

Idaho FFA raffling tractor

- Idaho FFA students are seeking to raise money for their organization and student scholarships by raffling a Massey-Ferguson tractor.

Drone research nets results in Idaho spud fields

- An Idaho State University research project has succeeded in finding crop diseases in potato fields accurately and early using drones.

ISU announces drone technology degree

- Idaho State University has announced plans to start a two-year associates degree in drones, stemming from the university's multi-year crop research projects involving cameras mounted on drones.

Ag equipment dealers go big with new models

- New machinery unveiled at the 2016 Ag Expo in Pocatello, Idaho, is bigger and more efficient than previous models.

Report finds cost of raising Idaho spuds rose

- Working as a consultant for the Idaho Potato Commission, retired University of Idaho Extension economist Paul Patterson has presented his final report on the cost of producing potatoes in Idaho.

Organic buyer seeks to grow Idaho wheat acreage

- Ardent Mills is hosting a meeting in Pocatello, Idaho, to recruit new organic wheat growers, as part of its effort to double U.S. organic wheat production.

Surprise discovery: Virus may benefit drought-stressed wheat

- An aphid species that has significantly increased its population in the Northwest in recent years can't spread barley yellow dwarf virus but can make conditions more favorable for other aphid species that vector the disease...

A & B pipeline on pace for March completion

- A & B Irrigation District said construction of an irrigation pipeline and a supplemental pumping plant are well underway.

Monsanto hiring in Idaho, despite cutbacks elsewhere

- Monsanto locations in the Northwest may not be as hard hit by planned layoffs as facilities in other regions.

Potato growers enter food truck business

- The U.S. Potato Board has unveiled a food truck it's purchased to sell potato-based cuisine in the Denver area, with plans to start a fleet of food trucks specializing in spuds.

FDA approves second generation of Simplot GMO spuds

- J.R. Simplot Co.'s second-generation Innate potato has been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

Northwest ag, climate change grant extended

- A multi-year USDA grant focused on the effects of climate change on cereal crops and involving researchers in Idaho, Washington and Oregon has been extended for another year.

Idaho lawmakers to push for greater recharge funding

- Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has commited revenue from the state's general fund to continue managed aquifer recharge into the future.

Idaho weather switches from wet to dry

- Idaho has shifted into a drier weather pattern, and the Upper Snake River snowpack is slightly below normal.

Bingham Coop plans fumigant facility

- Bingham Cooperative will soon break ground on a fumigant storage facility, which should provide a greater inventory of products and help cut freight costs for growers.

PVMI sees growth in potato royalties

- The Potato Variety Management Institute saw a significant increase in royalties paid for raising varieties developed collaboratively by Northwest potato breeding programs in 2015.

New wheat buyer enters Idaho market

- A new wheat buyer has entered the Idaho market.

Former spud shed official pleads guilty to embezzling $1.7M

- A Blackfoot, Idaho, man has pleaded guilty to embezzling $1.7 million from a local fresh potato packing facility.

Irrigators use canal water to recharge aquifers

- An Eastern Idaho canal company is implementing a plan to use aquifer recharge to help members with both surface and groundwater cope with a mandatory reduction in consumption next season.

UI hires crop disease pathologists

- The University of Idaho has hired two new crop disease researchers.

Idaho poised for solar energy boom

- Even as the first commercial solar projects are poised to be constructed in Idaho, officials say a change in state policy has already begun pushing Idaho Power's new renewable energy development to Oregon.

Scientist asks growers to watch for herbicide resistance

- A University of Idaho weed researcher is asking growers to save seeds of common lamb's quarters and redroot pigweed plants that may surviving herbicide treatments, for chemical resistance evaluation.

Idaho Potato Conference aims to boost leader talk attendance

- The Idaho Potato Conference and Eastern Idaho Ag Expo are scheduled for Jan. 19-21 on the Idaho State University campus in Pocatello.

Author, scientist inspired by Martian spud research

- A retired University of Idaho potato seed pathologist who writes science fiction novels is intrigued by a proposal to raise potatoes under simulated Martian conditions.

Thresher Artisan Wheat finds new investors

- The parent company of Thresher Artisan Wheat, which operates grain elevators throughout Eastern Idaho, has completed a financial restructuring that corporate officials promise will lead to new investment and acquisitions in...

Sugar processors, confectioners react to consumers’ GMO demands

- The growing trend toward GMO-free and organic sugar has captured the broader sugar industry's attention, though the product's still represent a small niche.

Omnibus bill allows Idaho interstate truck weight increase

- The recently approved federal omnibus spending bill including language allowing Idaho to increase its truck weight limit on interstate highways to 129,000 pounds, which should reduce shipping costs ofr agricultural commodit...

Turkey hunt changes aimed at helping Idaho producers

- The Idaho Department of Fish and Game's Southeast Region has proposed to change its turkey hunt regulations to provide relief for local farms and dairies.

Research shows fungicide appears to boost spud yields

- A new fungicide has consistently boosted potato yields, apparently due to a physiological impact on plants, according to Miller Research in Rupert, Idaho.

Idaho growers plan precautionary late blight programs

- A few Eastern Idaho potato growers plan to take preventive measures against late blight next season, following a 2015 outbreak.

Meetings highlight sage grouse mining reforms

- The federal government hosted meetings in Boise and Idaho Falls on a controvertial proposal to restrict new mining claims in key sage grouse habitat.

Fertilizer distributor to open at Pocatello FMC site

- Valley Agronomics has plans to build a regional hub for fertilizer distribution and officies for agricultural support services on 25 acres at the former FMC site in Pocatello.

Researchers: Denser soil reduces wireworm pressure

- University of Idaho researchers have found wireworms don't fare as well in heavier soils.

Pocatello ranch provides holiday wagon tradition

- Offering public wagon rides to feature Christmas lights and Dutch oven dinners in an old dairy barn has helped the Hart family cover costs of keeping draft horses.

PCN committee considering compensating affected growers

- Members of a pale cyst nematode advisory committee are taking a hard look at means of compensating growers affected by a PCN quarantine in parts of Bingham and Bonneville counties in Eastern Idaho.

Idaho Farm Bureau honors four women

- Idaho Farm Bureau Federation has presented Woman of the Year awrds to four recipients from throughout the state.