John O’Connell

Eastern Idaho Reporter
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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.

Cloud seeding study planned in Idaho’s Payette range

- Idaho Power Co. doesn't plan to build up its cloud seeding program as much as it has in recent years this winter but will participate in a collaborative study to hone the mathematical models used to measure the program's su...

Heavy rains a mixed blessing for Idaho growers

- Recent rain storms throughout Idaho have been timely for some growers and a hindrance to others seeking to harvest potatoes or plant fall grains.

NRCS to analyze every Idaho basin

- USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service for Idaho is preparing to use a computer modeling tool to evaluate every state basin for gaps in its snow survey network, hoping to improve its long-range forecasting capabiliti...

IGWA, Rangen re-enter settlement talks

- Idaho Ground Water Appropriators Inc. may move forward on building yet another water pipeline to more efficiently resolve a water call filed by the Rangen Inc. trout farm.

Pocatello school plans potato semester

- Students at the Pocatello Community Charter School in southeast Idaho have started a semester-long, in-depth study of potatoes, with help from local spud industry officials.

New cover crop blends target specific soil-health needs

- Businesses that offer cover crop seed are focusing on seed blends intenced to provide specific soil-health benefits, geared to specific regions and crop rotations.

IPC adds international bloggers to industry tour

- The Idaho Potato Commission hosted a tour of the state's potato industry for both domestic and international food bloggers.

East Idaho city hosts celebration of the russet

- The City of Shelley has hosted a celebration of the staple of its economy — the russet potato — for the past 88 years.

Water Board approves six ESPA recharge studies

- The Idaho Department of Water Resources has approved six projects, including five in the Snake River Plain's upper valley, to study potential new sites for conducting managed aquifer recharge.

Idaho bolsters aquifer monitoring efforts

- The Idaho Department of Water Resources is taking steps to improve its ability to assess groundwater levels in the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer, including in surrounding tributary basins.

McDonald’s adds Northwest spud varieties to approved fry list

- McDonald's has approved two new potato varieties developed by the Potato Variety Management Institute for making fries.

Idaho water users concerned over water right application

- Some Idaho water users are concerned about an application for a water right to irrigate new agricultural ground on the Eastern Snake Plain.

Cooperation key to Idaho raw goat milk producers’ success

- Small-scale producers of raw goat milk in Eastern Idaho are working together to help one another out.

Potatoes USA to focus nutrition campaign on athletes

- Potatoes USA has conducted research finding the attributes of potatoes are most closely aligned with the needs of athletes, among consumer groups.

East Idaho canal shuts water off early

- Water is running short throughout Idaho's Eastern Snake Plain, forcing one large canal company to shut off deliveries about three weeks earlier than expected.

Feds publish final EIS for Agrium mine in Idaho

- The federal government has issued a final environmental impact statement for Agrium to build a new phosphate fertilizer mine in Caribou County of Eastern Idaho.

IPC to build on RODS Racing partnership

- Officials from competing potato processors race together in Ironman competitions to raise money toward adoption fees of children born with Down's Syndrome.

Fire damages Idaho dehydrated potato plant

- Fire has damaged a dehyrated potato plant that is the major employer in a small Eastern Idaho city.

Study: More data needed on climate change perceptions

- A new study shows the Northwest and Northeast trail the rest of the country in terms of efforts to assess the sentiments of farmers about climate change.

Union Pacific starts express Food Trains in Northwest, California

- Union Pacific has announced a new express food train service from Wallula, Wash., and Delano, Calif., to New York.

IDWR order targets Raft River Basin ‘expansion’ water rights

- Idaho Department of Water Resources Director Gary Spackman has issued an order finding so-called expansion water rights in the Raft River should be curtailed over the next three years.

Idaho potato truck to escort Capitol Christmas tree

- The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck will escort the People's Christmas Tree from Idaho to Washington, D.C.

Farmers, grocers create market for ‘ugly’ produce

- A new food movement aims to reduce food waste by educating consumers that food that appears ugly or blemished may still have outstanding quality.

Dairy Council fuels Idaho college athletes

- An Idaho Dairy Council program provides dairy protein to collegiate athletes at fueling stations based at Idaho State University, Boise State University and University of Idaho. At ISU, the council also helps support a pro...

Smaller crop, growing exports brighten U.S. spud outlook

- U.S. potato growers should have a smaller crop, and foreign potato exports are up, according to recent USDA estimates.

USDA clarifying rule allows ranchers to opt out of beef council checkoffs

- USDA says a process is in place for cattle producers to opt out of paying a portion of their checkoff dollars to qualified state beef councils in response to a cattle organization's lawsuit.

Idaho seeks growers’ input on pollinator plan

- The Idaho State Department of Agriculture is soliciting input from agricultural organizations and other interest groups to help draft a statewide pollinator protection plan.

East Idaho farmers help protect neighbors from wildfire

- Farmers and ranchers in the Idaho Falls area have played a crucial role in helping fire crews protect property from the large Henry's Creek fire in Eastern Idaho.

Potato truck takes to Hudson River during New York visit

- The Great Big Idaho Potato Truck floated past the Statue of Liberty and the New York City skyline as part of a photo opportunity organized by the Idaho Potato Commission.

Idaho contract ag labor licenses up

- The Idaho Department of Labor reports a dip in the unemployment rate and increasing numbers of contract farm labor providers getting licensed.