John O’Connell

Eastern Idaho Reporter
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Grant furthers ISU, Simplot drone research

- Idaho State University has obtained a sizable grant through the Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission to research how to diagnose crop diseases in potatoes and sugar beets using drones.

Idaho well users owe large surface call obligation

- Groundwater irrigators owe 89,000 acre feet of water by May 1 to satisfy the Surface Water Coalition's call this year.

Idaho irrigation companies participate in emergency drill

- Idaho irrigation companies participated in an April 16 disaster training exercise to prepare regional emergency responders and other entities that could be affected by a potential oil spill in the Snake River.

Forecast bodes well for Southern Idaho

- With Idaho irrigators drawing water earlier than ever before, Idaho water managers see hope for relief in a long-term weather forecast that has raised the chances of moisture.

Rise in Idaho farm deaths concerns OSHA

- Fatal accidents in agriculture have risen signficantly recently in Idaho, prompting concerns by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

East Idaho grower tries new canola production method

- Koompin Farms in American Falls, Idaho, is taking a different approach to raising canola.

Spud market sluggish as Idaho starts planting

- The potato market remains in a slump as Idaho growers plant their 2015 crops.

IPC Tater Team to perform good deeds on fourth U.S. tour

- The Great Big Idaho Potato truck is setting off on its fourth national tour, and followers will be able to track its progress on a GPS map.

BYU-Idaho ag students improving life in Ghana

- Students from Brigham Young University-Idaho are partnering with schools in Ghana to improve agricultural production of fields and livestock operations to feed students and to teach high school-level agricultural classes.

UI leads first potato industry grad student tour

- University of Idaho led first tour of the state's potato industry for graduate students studying crop research.

Study: Mental evals predict livestock judging success

- New research led by Idaho State University shows psychological assessments are an effective tool for predicting performance among collegiate livestock judges.

Idaho processed spud growers take price reduction

- Idaho potato growers have inked a deal with processors accepting a slight decrease in payment but requiring processors to contract for at least 90 percent of 2014 acreages with individual farms.

Idaho winter wheat farmers eagerly await early water

- One southeast Idaho canal company manager believes it's a race against the clock to deliver water to growers in time to salvage winter wheat crops that are advanced in growth but have been sustained by little spring moisture.

Dry March hurts Idaho irrigation outlook

- Idaho's water outlook is tighter following a dry March.

Idaho barley yellow dwarf outbreak forces replanting

- Barley yellow dwarf virus is rampant in winter grain throughout Southern Idaho, a University of Idaho cereals pathologist warns.

Idaho sees potential for winter recharge expansion

- Idaho has completed its first full season of winter aquifer recharge on the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer.

Mink industry thrives despite threats

- Fur industry leaders say they're eco-friendly, utilizing waste products other sectors of agriculture would otherwise have to pay to remove, but find themselves increasing security to cope with threats of animal rights acti...

Report shows increased Idaho barley, wheat acres

- Idaho farmers plan to increase their barley and wheat acres and hold their corn and sugar beet acres relatively steady, according to USDA.

ISDA to expand Boise beetle eradication

- The Idaho State Department of Agriculture plans to expand the treatment area in residential Boise to eradicate Japanese beetles in the third year of the program.

Potato Board provides spud price tool

- The U.S. Potato Board has funded development of a tool to help retailers understand how fluctuations in potato prices may affect demand.

Center shifts focus to sage grouse

- Derek Tilley and his staff at the USDA's Aberdeen Plant Materials Center have a new focus — developing wildflower seeds and planting techniques to avert a sage grouse endangered species listing.

Idaho seed potato growers see opportunity in Algeria

- A group of Idaho seed potato growers sees opportunity to establish a new market in Algeria, where the nation is working to become more self-sufficient with its food production.

Bill to help in Wood River Valley call

- A bill in the Idaho Legislature would help Big Wood River Valley aquifer groundwater irrigators finance an election to organize a groundwater district and prepare to respond to a water delivery call.

Idaho fertilizer plant project still on track

- Cost estimates of a fertilizer plant planned for Idaho's Power County have come down, thanks in part to lower fuel prices.

Onion thrips reproducing early

- Onion thrips, which spread iris yellow spot virus, are reproducing much earlier than usual in Malheur County, Ore., and Western Idaho, a crop expert says.

Potato Board allocates funds to redress port slowdown damage

- The U.S. Potato Board has reallocated funding to place a greater emphasis on marketing and promotional programs to help foreign customers who lost product due to recent labor slow-downs affecting West Coast ports.

Ag-backed trail bill passes Idaho Legislature

- A bill that's received strong support from Idaho's agricultural community seeking to restrict the use of condemnation to complete recreational trails has passed the state Legislature and awaits Gov. Butch Otter's signature.

Wheat Foundation plans national yield contest

- The National Wheat Foundation is organizing a national yield competition for wheat growers.

Idaho bill aims to reduce irrigation sediment

- An Idaho bill gives irrigation districts the authority to assess fees against water users who contribute silt into irrigation ditches.

U.S. Potato Board boosts salad bar program

- The U.S. Potato Board has approved a proposal to match industry donations to buy salad bars for school cafeterias.

Wood River well users face water call

- Groundwater users in Blaine County, Idaho, have been hit with their first ever irrigation delivery call, filed by senior surface water users in the Big Wood River and Little Wood River systems.

S.E. Asia, Taiwan rep to meet with Idaho exporters

- Idaho companies are invited to schedule an appointment for March 31 or April 3 to meet with Eddie Yen, Asian trade office manager for the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.

Quinoa gains a foothold in Eastern Idaho

- About a dozen farmers scattered across Eastern Idaho are experimenting with quinoa as a rotation option, and the businessman who is contracting for the acres has three Idaho-specific quinoa varieties in development.

Study: GM potato’s health benefits trump biotech fears

- An Iowa State University professor's research suggests consumers may be willing to pay substantially more for potatoes with less of the potentially harmful chemical acrylamide, even if the spuds are made using biotechnology.

Barley breeders target varieties for craft brewers

- Barley breeders are re-evaluating breeding lines big breweries have rejected in the past and advancing specialized lines to meet the growing demand for craft beer.

Idaho farmers off to early planting

- Several Idaho growers are planting grain, and even sugar beets, earlier than normal, following a mild winter.

Idaho Legislature asks Congress to raise truck weight limits

- The Idaho Legislature has passed a memorial bill expressing its desire that the federal government increase truck weight limits on Idaho's interstate highways to 129,000 pounds.

Five honored for East Idaho ag contributions

- Five new members have been selected for the Eastern Idaho Agricultural Hall of Fame.

USPB fills new research director position

- The U.S. Potato Board has created a new position to corridnate industry research efforts.

Idaho seed growers exceed ring rot program requirements

- In the first year of mandatory testing of Idaho certified potato seed for bacterial ring rot, many commercial growers have requested that theirseed be tested at higher than minimum levels.

Idaho spud packers emphasize organic

- Idaho fresh potato packers say they're placing greater emphasis on the organic potato category.

Upper Snake recharge expands, despite dry month

- The Bureau of Reclamation has suspended a policy prohibiting winter water in canals that draw from Palisades Reservoir in order to facilitate expanded aquifer recharge with floodwater releases.

Project protects farming family’s legacy

- A group of siblings and their parents have agreed to protect their Blaine County farm and ranch land from development, using a combination of federal, nonprofit and county funds.