John O’Connell

Eastern Idaho Reporter
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Barley yellow dwarf widespread in Idaho fall grain

- Barley yellow dwarf virus has surfaced again in Idaho fall grains, raising concerns about yet another season of high disease pressure.

ISU facility testing new food-safety technology

- A high-tech company based in Atlanta aims to address irridiate food to improve storage life, reduce pathogens and control pests, conducting its testing at Idaho State University.

Idaho team places fourth in national FFA contest

- The American Falls, Idaho, FFA chapter placed fourth nationally in an FFA agricultural issues competition, debating the merits of Idaho's former "ag gag" law.

Fresh food nutrition on industry’s radar

- Crop breeders say they've noticed a trend toward a greater emphasis on developing new varieties with enhanced nutrition in mind.

Loan approved for IGWA to purchase trout farm

- Idaho groundwater users will have to pay considerably more to the state to buy a trout farm as part of a mitigation plan than they originally budgeted.

Idaho couple to be honored for years of Farm Bureau service

- An Inkom, Idaho, couple with a long history of involvement in Idaho Farm Bureau Federation is slated to receive the state's prestigious President's Cup award for their lifetime contributions to agriculture.

Vole problems mount in Eastern Idaho

- Eastern Idaho alfalfa and no-till growers say vole pressure has gotten out of hand, and they're mulling ways to address the problem.

Idaho wolf depredations continue downward trend

- Wolf depredations declined in Idaho in 2015, except for in the Cascade area.

Idaho, Northwest potato production drops

- Northwest potato production was down 2 percent according to USDA.

Potato museum overhauling exhibits

- Work on a restaurant specializing in spuds has commenced at the Idaho Potato Museum, and a major redesign of its exhibits is being planned.

Bugs help researchers study stream health in ag land

- Aquatic insects have helped researchers in Oregon and Idaho assess water quality in streams running past farm land, which could lead to funding opportunities fo agriculturalr land owners willing to partake in water-quality ...

ISDA director backs state food safety oversight

- Idaho State Department of Agriculture Director Celia Gould said her agency is best suited to implement on-farm requirements of the federal Food Safety Modernization Act.

Idaho sets greater winter recharge goal

- The Idaho Department of Water Resources has lofty goals for this season's winter aquifer recharge program, even as some canal systems are unavailable while recharge infrastructure is under construction.

Idaho beets set yield record despite new diseases

- Amalgamated Sugar officials say growers experienced problems in 2015 with two diseases that hadn't caused them headaches in the past.

Proposed national park, PCN top resolution list for Idaho Farm Bureau meeting

- Idaho Farm Bureau Federation will debate several policy positions, elect a president and give several awards during its upcoming state meeting in Fort Hall.

Idaho shooting sparks open range debate

- An official with the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation is concerned about an environmental group's choice to utilize a recent tragedy in Council, Idaho, to fuel opposition to the state's open range law.

Headblight surfaces in Idaho barley

- The DON toxin, created by fusarium headblight, has reached rejectable levels in malt barley throughout much of Idaho, according to a University of Idaho cereal pathologist.

Reservoir produces fossil treasure trove

- Fossilized remains of a giant sloth and an ancient bison were discovered recently in American Falls Reservoir, near the site where a Columbian mammoth fossil was found following the last irrigation season.

Mustard expanding to Picabo area

- A southeast Idaho company is seeking to introduce mustard into rotations in the Bellevue area.

Blackfoot ag companies host first Tractor Treat

- Agricultural companies in Blackfoot, Idaho, have created a new agriculture-themed Halloween tradition for residents in their rural community.

Water agreement opens private recharge opportunity

- Eastern Idaho canal companies believe an agreement between the Surface Water Coalition and groundwater irrigators may present new opportunities for utilizing private recharge water rights.

Idaho growers shift to soft white winter wheat

- Soft white winter wheat plantings appear to be up in Idaho, representing a possible shift from spring wheat planting, hard wheat and barley acres, industry sources say.

Ag groups relieved by rail deadline extension

- Congress has passed legislation extending the deadline for railroads to comply with a safety requirement known as positive train control, which should avert potential disruptions to agricultural markets.

Idaho’s warm fall a mixed blessing

- A warm fall without a killing frost has presented a mixed blessing for Idaho farmers.

Simplot, universities to develop GMO spuds for Asia

- J.R. Simplot Co. has received a grant to collaborate with two universities on developing potatoes genetically modified to resist blight to improve production in Indonesia and Bangladesh.

USDA report reduces Idaho ag revenue record

- A new USDA report shows a reduction in previous estimates of Idaho's record agricultural production in 2014.

Plant center devises new wildflower seed harvest method

- USDA's Plant Materials Center in Aberdeen, Idaho, has developed a new way to harvest wildflowers with light, floating seeds that don't mautre all at once.

Idaho leader suggests new recharge funding method

- Idaho state leaders may pursue a stable funding source in the future for managed aquifer recharge.

Idaho students continue FFA bus trip tradition

- A senior from Mackay Junior-Senior High School won her FFA chapter $10,000 to cover a bus trip to the national FFA convention in Louisville, Ky., with her essay on agriculture.

Idaho grower experimenting with mineral oil in potato seed

- An Eastern Idaho seed potato grower is experimenting with mineral oil as a cheap but potentially effective way to limit the transmission of aphid-vectored crop diseases.

ITC affirms sugar dumping claims against Mexico

- The U.S. International Trade Commissionl has affirmed conclusions that the dumping of subsidized Mexican sugar hurt the U.S. sugar market.

Industry responds to ‘Toxic Taters’ campaign

- A group calling itself Toxic Taters, funded by pesticide opponents, is casting potatoes in a negative light.

Idaho ag economy drives Fabri-Kal’s decision to build in Burley

- A food container manufacturer that has completed a Burley, Idaho, plant that officials say should be good news for the state's wheat and dairy industries.

East Idaho fresh spud packers grow organic category

- Two large Eastern Idaho fresh potato packing businesses are growing their organic potato programs.

Spud board program making gains in Thailand

- A United States Potato Board program aimed at educating foreign buyers about the quality of U.S. frozen potato products has enticed McDonald's restaurants in Thailand to switch to entirely U.S. supply.

Idaho researchers anticipate more yellow dwarf trouble

- Warm weather without a killing frost late into fall has led to a boom in aphid populations and mounting concern about the potential for rampant barley yellow dwarf infections next season.

Idaho council pursues public compensation for mining damage

- A council comprising several agencies and entities has announced it plans to assess environmental damage resulting from historic phosphate mining in Caribou County, and could issue fines to phosphate companies.

Companies to partner on handling waste in Idaho mines

- Public comment is being accepted on Agrium's proposed phosphate mine.

Commodity groups urge extension of looming rail safety deadline

- Several lawmakers and agricultural organizations from the Northwest are advocating for a bill to extend a deadline for railroads to implement safety upgrades, hoping to avoid freight disruptions.

USPB promotion aims to restore Japanese fry demand

- The U.S. Potato Board has come up with a plan to restore declining demand for frozen U.S. french fries.

Group has plan to educate students about driving jobs

- The Idaho Trucking Association is planning a new program to educate school children about opportunities in the trucking industry, hoping to help with a truck driver shortage that's growing worse every year.

Report: Truck driver shortage getting worse

- A recent study by the American Trucking Association shows a national shortage of truck drivers is growing mroe acute.

FERC staff document opposes dam in Idaho’s Oneida Narrows

- Staff with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission opposed construction of a new storage reservoir on the Bear River in southeast Idaho in a recently issued draft enivornmental impact statement.

Idaho reports variable Burbank quality

- Idaho potato industry sources say there's a high degree of variability in the quality of the state's Russet Burbank crop this season.

Sources: TPP wouldn’t hurt no-cost U.S. sugar program

- The U.S. sugar industry says the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement would allow more foreign sugar into the U.S. but not enough to adversely impact the market and the nation's no-cost sugar program.

Potato truck returns to Idaho from fourth tour

- The Idaho Potato Commission's Great Big Idaho Potato Truck is back in Idaho to wrap up another national tour.

Spud farmer uses crop to support grandkids’ small business

- Ronald Esplin says it hasn't cost him anything to allow his grandchildren to fill boxes with Ranger Russets from his conveyor to sell direct to friends in Boise and at the Pocatello farmers market, but it's helped them rais...

Ironman record holder to promote Idaho potatoes

- A Utah man known as the Iron Cowboy, who holds multiple world records in iron man racing, will promote Idaho potatoes in a healthy lifestyle and raise funds for an organization that promotes adoptions of foreign children bo...

Idaho Falls grower to join IPC board

- Idaho Falls farmer James Hoff has been selected as the newest Idaho Potato Commission board member.

Growers report painless water, energy savings through irrigation method

- An irrigation method developed to save water and power in dry farming regions has exceeded expectations in early commercial trials.