John O’Connell

Eastern Idaho Reporter
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Program aims to retain flood irrigation

- A grant aims to help producers in important wildlife areas in Idaho improve their flood-irrigaiton systems to benefit habitat.

Arrests made in mink farm attacks

- U.S. mink production and prices are both up, and suspects have been charged in connection with 2013 attacks on mink farms, including one Idaho facility.

Committee mulling PCN program alternatives

- An Idaho State Department of Agriculture pale cyst nematode advisory committee is mulling eight options to change its current program to erradicate the regulated pest.

Late blight continues to spread in S. Idaho

- Late blight has been discovered in three potato fields in Idaho's Minidoka County and may be widespread in that area, according to crop expert Jeff Miller.

Idaho irrigation companies approves for Water Board loans

- Two southeast Idaho canal companies have received low-interest loans through the Idaho Department of Water Resources to complete major improvements to their systems.

Tour highlights conservation on ag lands

- The Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission led a July 21 tour of southeast Idaho water-quality projects, most of which helped agricultural producers better their operations whille protecting watersheds.

Researcher weighs dryland cereal cropping systems

- In the seventh year of a direct seeding trial on an Eastern Idaho dry-land farm, a University of Idaho researcher sees evidence supporting the use of alternative crops and cover crops.

Grain buyers expand East Idaho operations

- Eastern Idaho wheat farmers have new options for selling their grain this season, including a new Lansing Trade Group facility in American Falls.

Ag wary of park designation for Craters of the Moon

- Some ranchers and agricultural leaders remain concerned about a proposal to make Craters of the Moon National Monument a national park.

Research ‘puts pencil’ to water conservation

- A cooperative project in Eastern Idaho aims to quantify the effectiveness of water-conservation practices such as variable-rate irrigation in different conditions within commercial fields.

Appropriations rider aims to save sheep research station

- A recent vote in a U.S. House subcommittee bodes well for the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho.

Idaho wilderness bill advances in House panel

- Legislative progress is being made on a bill to create a Boulder-White Clouds wilderness area in Idaho.

Thresher pilots ‘act of God’ clause for wheat

- Thresher Artisan Wheat is running a pilot program testing an "act of God" clause in some of its 2015 contracts, seeking to make wheat more competitive with other crops.

Idaho coop members overwhelmingly support merger

- Valley Cooperative and Valley Wide Cooperative are moving forward with details of a merger after their members recently overwhelmingly voted to support it.

Idaho irrigators back shorter solar, wind energy contracts

- A decision is expected soon on a proposal by Idaho electric companies to shorten the lenth of contracts for wind and solar projects, which many irrigators say would save rates payers money.

Midwest weather concerns bolster grain prices

- Wheat prices have risen based on weather concerns.

Idaho aquifer agreement finalized

- Irrigators with Idaho's Surface Water Coalition and groundwater users with Idaho Groundwater Appropriators, Inc., have finalized an agreement that aims to reverse declining aquifer levels and avert future water calls.

European barley variety shows promise for craft beers

- A high-yielding barley variety ideal for irrigated farms brought in from Europe should fill a critical niche for the craft brewing industry.

U.S. potato acreage up 1.9 percent, NASS reports

- Fall potato acres are up in the Northwest and nationwide, according to new numbers from the USDA and United Potato Growers of America.

Idaho sustainability program improving yields, efficiency

- A Thresher Artisan Wheat sustainability program has helped growers reduce use of inputs and increase yields, according to new data.

Spud industry in good shape for FDA trans fat phase-out, expert says

- The potato industry should be in good shape to comply with an FDA mandate that food products be rid of unhealthy trans fats within three years, according to an industry nutrition expert.

Irrigated hard white winter wheat options forthcoming

- Wheat breeders say they're making progress on hard white winter wheat lines that could be grown under irrigation and expand production of the class in Idaho.

Intern, retired professor gathering data for Idaho’s 200 Bushel Club

- An informal Eastern Idaho organization aimed at improving wheat yields, called the 200 Bushel Club, has hired an intern and is seeking to start collecting hard data from its trials.

Idaho ranchers take ag concerns to Willie Nelson

- A Weiser, Idaho, ranching couple got to visit with musician Willie Nelson about agricultural issues as part of his Farm Aid program.

Idaho wheat growers experience chloride deficiency

- A University of Idaho cereals pathologist has seen crop damage in wheat due to chloride deficiency.

Idaho spud projects receive specialty crop grants

- The Idaho State Department of Agriculture has awarded more than $340,000 of roughly $1.74 million in available funding through the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program to research benefiting the state's potato industry.

Booming food processing sector depends on water

- An economic impact study shows curtailment would devastate growth in Idaho's Magic Valley.

Idaho negotiations seek to stave water calls

- A proposed agreement could stabilize Idaho's aquifer into the future and avert potentially ruinous water calls.

Potato growers reach $25 million antitrust settlement

- A potato marketing cooperative has settled allegations of violating antitrust law for $25 million.

Hail causes damage in Idaho’s Pleasant Valley

- Growers near Aberdeen, Idaho, say a June 15 hail storm has damaged crops.

Children return to farm while father takes LDS mission

- Southeast Idaho potato farmer Kevin Loveland will leave his farm in the control of his young daughter in order to spend the next three years serving a mission with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Idaho grain rebounding from barley yellow dwarf

- Heavy May rainfall has reduced the severity of some cereal crop diseases, including barley yellow dwarf virus, but contributed to outbreaks of other problems.

Growers respond to hot psyllid with spray programs

- Idaho officials have reported thei first potato psyllid infected with Liberibacter bacterium that causes zebra chip from a commercial spud field.

House passes meat price reporting reauthorization

- The sheep and pork industries have requested changes to mandatory price reporting legislation to avoid the possibility of having too little data for USDA to complete reports.

PVMI varieties expanding abroad

- Foreign countries are showing increasing interest in potato varieties developed in the Pacific Northwest and managed by the Potato Variety Management Institute.

U.S. House passes Idaho truck weight bill

- Idaho agricultural leaders say language that was included in therecently approved House version of the Fiscal Year 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill provides a good chance of helping Ida...

French spud growers tour Idaho farms

- A group of French potato farmers in Idaho to tour its spud industry say production methods are similar, but their farm sizes are much smaller.

Experts warn of ‘buggy’ year in Northwest

- Insects have arrived earlier and in greater numbers in the Northwest this season, entomologists say.

Falling prices squeeze farmers’ bottom lines

- An all too familiar farming trend that economists call the price squeeze, in which prices paid to farmers can't keep pace with their expenses, is returning.

Idaho coping with ‘snow drought’

- Though water experts say a wet May should help stretch out Idaho's storage wate supply, the state's snowpack is a fraction of what it should be, contributing to below-normal natural flow forecasts.

Idaho officials warn against blending sprout-damaged wheat

- The Idaho Wheat Commission has created a video and is hostiing a webinar to warn growers and grain elevator staff of the risks of blending sprout-damamged wheat with this season's crop.

Thresher overhauling East Idaho elevators

- Thresher Artisan Wheat is renovating its Eastern Idaho grain elevators, which should shorten unloading times for area growers at harvest.

Idaho implements restrictions for livestock virus

- The Idaho State Department of Agriculture has implemented restrictions on animals entering the state from New Mexico and Arizona in response to an outbreak of visicular stomatitis.

Idaho experts concerned about late blight

- Idaho potato researchers are worried that conditions may be ideal for problems with late blight disease this season.

Idaho spud growers expect bad weed year

- Idaho weed scientists believe weed pressure could be high this season, following recent rainfall.

State approves recharge infrastructure projects

- The Idaho Water Resource Board has approved six projects, totalling $6.25 million, to upgrade infrastructure to expand the state's aquifer recharge capabilities.