John O’Connell

Eastern Idaho Reporter
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Spud officials optimistic about prospects for larger crop

- Potato production is up slightly in the U.S. and Canada, but industry officials are optimistic about the crop quality and export opportunities.

Rural interests plan to fight new BLM planning regs

- Grazing advocates say the Obama administration plans to push through proposed changes in the Bureau of Land Management planning process that would be bad for the livestock industry and small communities.

Small Idaho school thinks big with aquaculture program

- Mackay Junior-Senior High School is a small school, but it boasts an impressive aquaculture program.

Settlement prompts company to line leaky stretch of canal

- The Aberdeen-Springfield Canal Co. has lined a leaky mile-long stretch of its main canal.

Idaho ag seminars will focus on conserving farm resources

- The University of Idaho has scheduled seminars for Eastern Idaho and Magic Valley to offer producers outlooks for the coming year.

Thanksgiving shipments of Idaho potatoes up

- Idaho fresh potato shipments are up considerably for the Thanksgiving holiday, according to a new USDA report.

County vote renews push for Craters National Park

- Voters in Butte County, Idaho, supported changing Craters of the Moon National Monumen into a national park.

New UI Bear Lake County hire brings ranching expertise

- The University of Idaho has filled a long vacant extension position in Bear Lake County to assist ranchers.

Movement seeks to bring back flood irrigation in some areas

- Conservationists, farmers, city leaders and water managers are working together to restore flood irrigation to replenish groundwater supplies and benefit wildlife.

Chemical disposal program tops 2 million pounds

- An Idaho State Department of Agriculture program has disposed of 2 million pounds of farm pesticides.

New Idaho wheat variety promising against stripe rust

- University of Idaho has high hopes for a new fall wheat with resistance to a host of diseases, including stripe rust.

Idaho company envisions drone freight hub in Pocatello

- Unmanned air freighters would transport cargo around the world.

Researchers complete first headblight screening of Northwest wheat

- University of Idaho has completed the first broad screening of Northwest wheat lines for fusarium headblight resistance, which should aid in future efforts to breed resistant cultivars.

Sociologists to study water settlement

- A team of environmental sociologists from Idaho State University is starting a long-term study of the 2015 water call settlement between Idaho's Surface Water Coalition and junior groundwater users.

UPGA taps Idaho potato leader as new CEO

- United Potato Growers of America has hired the head of the Idaho Grower Shippers Association to be its next president and CEO.

Aberdeen center studying milkweed to benefit butterflies

- The Aberdeen Plant Materials Center, run by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, is researching ways to better propagate milkweed, believing the seed could be planted in pviot corners or fallow farm land to help d...

Idaho Fish and Game push aims to protect farmers’ hay

- The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has increased funding and emphasis on a program that provides hay farmers with fenced enclosures, called stack yards, to keep elk and deer away.

Pocatello trials pave way for new food safety technology

- A high-tech business that uses electrnoic linear accelerators to improve food safety and shelf life has devised a design for a commercial facility in Texas based on testing in Pocatello.

Surplus malt barley going into livestock feed

- Idaho growers produced a large crop of good-quality malting barley, but much of the surplus is going into feeding channels.

Low protein pushes Idaho dryland wheat to feed

- Sources say dry-land farmers in Southern and Eastern Idaho have diverted upwards half of their wheat crop to feeding channels becasue discounts for low protein have made the feed price preferable to the milling price in man...

Researcher makes first finding of disease strain in Idaho spuds

- A strain of rhizoctonia not previously confirmed in Idaho has surfaced in a grower's field.

Idaho water director orders ESPA groundwater management area

- Idaho Department of Water Resources Director Gary Spackman has established a groundwater management area for the Eastern Snake Plain.

Researchers to keynote Idaho spud conference

- A well-known expert in potato diseases will be among the keynote speakers at the upcoming Idaho Potato Conference in Pocatello.

Invention cleans air in spud cellars

- Chubbuck, Idaho, businessman Garry Isaacs has developed a machine that humidifies potato cellars while ridding the air of pathogens and particulates.

Idaho growers protest Gateway West power line

- Southern Idaho farmers and leaders from Power and Cassia counties have officially protested the preferred path of the proposed Gateway West transmission line.

Few zebra chip problems despite record Idaho psyllid population

- Populations of potato psyllids, which spread zebra chip disease in potato fields, surged in 2016, according to a University of Idaho expert.

Processing facility could make quinoa viable in East Idaho

- An Eastern Idaho businessman has opened what he believes to be the first commercial-scale quinoa processing facility in the U.S.

Tractor Treat delights Idaho children

- Agricultural businesses in Blackfoot, Idaho, decorated their tractors and heavy equipment in scary "costumes" and hosted a community event called Tractor Treating.

Mud bogs down harvest of a record sugar beet crop

- Showers have delayed sugar beet harvest in Idaho, raising concerns among growers that their fields could freeze before they finish digging.

Drafting a mission statement a first step in succession planning

- University of Idaho Extension officials say draftig a mission statement is a simple but often overlooked way for agricultural producers to ensure a successful transition of their operations to their children.

Farm event shows appreciation to harvest staff

- A large farm in American Falls, Idaho, hosts an annual party for every worker and some of their service providers.

Idaho Falls farmers host celebration of farm labor, support businesses

- A group of Idaho Falls farmers hosted a community celebration of agriculture and farm workers, planning to award a scholarship to the child of a farm worker with the funds raised from the event.

OSU officials mull future of ag facility

- Questions linger about what to do with an Oregon State University agricultural facility that was closed due to the discovery of a new species of potato cyst nematode.

Idaho grower’s canola experiment eliminates nematodes

- A grower experimenting with early planting of winter canola has found nematode populations were eradicated, saving him on fumigation costs before planting potatoes.

UI researcher finalizing free online water tool

- A University of Idaho researcher is part of a team offering free access to analytical satellite maps they expect will be used by growers throughout the world.

Sheep industry criticizes H-2A rule changes

- The new president of an organization that helps Western sheep ranchers obtain foreign H-2A workers says reforms enacted a year ago haven't succeeded in boosting interest in herding jobs among domestic workers.

Idaho seventh-graders to present research at genome conference

- A seventh-grade class in Pocatello is helping USDA assess heirloom oat varieties for their ability to germinate in cold conditions.

State completing model to predict Swan Falls flows

- Officials say a model under development to help predict flows Snake River flow at Swan Falls Dam should be completed by the end of the year.

Idaho water settlement fuels growth of new irrigation method

- As irrigators throughout the Eastern Snake Plain of Idaho reduced threir gorundwater consumption under the terms of a recent water call settlement, some users believe they've found a technilogical breakthrough that helps th...

Late grain planting in Idaho could check disease

- A cereals pathologist anticipates lower disease pressure in Idaho grain next season.

Idaho vole outbreak subsides, but damage remains

- Experts say Idaho vole populations appear to have returned to more normal levels after spiking during 2014 and 2015, but growers are still coping with the damage.

Potandon introduces light-blocking bags

- An Idaho fresh potato packing company is using a new bag designed to block ultraviolet light and extend the shelf life of spuds.

Idaho attorney to head Western water organization

- Eastern Idaho attorney Jerry Rigby is the new head of the Western States Water Council.

Idaho officials pleased with wolf depredation trend

- An official in charge of removing problem wolves in Idaho believes the state's program is working and reducing problems with livestock.

College students helping Idaho cheese plant expand offerings

- Engineering students at Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg are helping the Nelson-Ricks Creamery in Sugar City, Idaho, renovate equipment to expand its product offerings.

Food Producers of Idaho to end Ag Pavilion

- A long-standing Food Producers of Idaho program called the Agricultural Pavilion, hosted during two Idaho fairs to educate the public about agriculture, is coming to end, officials with the organization have announced.