John O’Connell

Eastern Idaho Reporter
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UI tests show good alternatives to metribuzin in spuds

- Trials at University of Idaho's Aberdeen Research & Extension Center aim to help potato growers better utilize the limited number of herbicides labeled for their crop.

Farmers saving money by sharing

- With commodity prices depressed, growers are increasingly looking to share resources, such as machinery, to keep input costs in check.

Idaho sees 250 percent gain in mustard acres

- Eastern Idaho mustard acres are up by roughly 250 percent.

Smithsonian water exhibit traveling through Idaho

- A Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit highlighting the importance of water to the state has opened at the Idaho Falls Public Library and will move to six Idaho cities before leaving the state next spring.

Agriculture slips off political radar

- Agricultural officials believe their influence in presidential politics has waned throughout the years, and the current campaign highlights a lack of interest or understanding among presidential candidates.

Thresher shuts down for safety training

- Thresher Artisan Wheat has closed its Eastern Idaho facilities for two days in order to focus on safety training.

Progress reported toward restoring Idaho chipping potato access to Japan

- Officials with the Idaho Potato Commission say progress was made during a recent meeting with Japanese officials toward restoring access to ship fresh Idaho chipping potatoes to Japan's processing plants.

Work underway on Idaho fertilizer facility

- A groundbreaking ceremony was hosted for a planned fertilizer distribution facility that will be the largest in Idaho.

Early peak flows won’t dampen Idaho water outlook

- Natural flows have peaked early in Idaho, shifting demand to storage, but water managers anticipate an adequate supply this season.

WSU considers initiative focused on new breeding technology

- Northwest crop breeding program sources say a new gene editing technology holds great promise for the future of crop development.

Wheat geneticist brings new approach at UI

- The University of Idaho has hired a new wheat geneticist with financial assistance from the Idaho Wheat Commission.

Teton farmer specializes in ancient wheat subspecies

- A Teton, Idaho, grower is the largest U.S. supplierr of an ancient grain considered man's first wheat, called einkorn.

Researchers investigate quinoa for PCN control

- The University of Idaho, with support from the Idaho Potato Commission, is evaluating if quinoa is effective at controlling pale cyst nematode.

Infected psyllids, late blight reported in Northwest

- Potato psyllids infected with the liberibacter bacterium have been discovered in Western Idaho and late blight has surfaced in Walla Walla, Wash., crop pathologists warn.

Eastern Idaho expanding quinoa production

- Prices of quinoa have dropped, but an Eastern Idaho businessman has contracted for more acreage of the nutritious, gluten-free grain this season.

PVMI pursues relicensing, new business plan

- The Potato Variety Management Institute is seeking to hire a third party to help draft a vision for the organization's future as it seeks to secure a new five-year contract to manage potato varieties from Idaho, Washington ...

Researcher predicts cold hardiness zone shift

- A University of Idaho doctoral student's research shows winter hardiness zones will shift nationwide by 2050 due to climate change, with milder low temperatures allowing new crops to thrive in different regions.

Recharging Idaho’s economic future

- As Idaho's aquifer recharge coordinator, Wesley Hipke has the lofty task of helping the state be proactive to ensure an adequate groundwater supply into the future.

Irrigators step up cloud seeding support

- The Idaho Water Resource Board and Idaho surface and groundwater users have stepped up their efforts to support Idaho Power Co.'s statewide cloud seeding program.

NRCS plans SNOTEL sites to study mid-elevation snowpack

- USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service plans to build new automated snow survey sites to better understand mid-elevation snowpack, which seems to be disappearing early in recent years.

Three-quarters of Idaho CRP applications rejected

- Competition was stiff for Conservation Reserve Program contracts in Idaho during the recent general sign-up, leaving many growers to enroll in more rigorous continuous-enrollment programs land conservation programs.

Idaho funds Treasure Valley aquifer model


BOISE — The Idaho Water Resource Board has budgeted $500,000 toward the first year of a five-year effort to study Treasure Valley aquifers and develop an improved model to predict their function.

The project...

Idaho Farm Bureau honors ag-friendly lawmakers


BOISE — Forty percent of Idaho’s lawmakers voted in line with the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation’s positions on key issues often enough during the past two legislative sessions to be recognized by the ...

USDA to increase raw cane sugar imports


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Concerned about an inadequate supply of conventional sugar to meet demand of food processors, USDA has increased its quota for imported raw cane sugar by 200,000 tons.

Sugar cane varietie...

Idaho curtailment list further trimmed


BOISE — The Idaho Department of Water Resources sent notices of curtailment May 18 affecting 160 junior groundwater rights in response to the Surface Water Coalition’s 2005 delivery call.

The departme...

Idaho approves plan calling for ag land acquisition


Capital Press

BOISE — The State Board of Land Commissioners has approved a plan that’s drawn criticism by some agricultural groups, suggesting that purchasing forest and farm land could be a good inve...

Top global chefs tour Idaho, Oregon spud country


Capital Press

PINGREE, Idaho — Top chefs from throughout the world vow they’ll return home with a new appreciation for U.S. potatoes and several creative menu ideas featuring the vegetable following a...

Idaho to curtail 204 groundwater rights


BOISE — An Idaho Department of Water Resources official said his agency will send curtailment notices affecting 204 Eastern Snake Plain groundwater rights on May 17, under the Surface Water Coalition’s deli...

Sweetener buyers want to import more raw cane sugar


The nation’s major sweetener buyers and some members of Congress are asking USDA to increase the import quota on raw cane sugar, arguing there’s been a shortage of conventional sugar to meet the growing dem...

Idaho farmers watching for early insects


KIMBERLY, Idaho — University of Idaho Extension entomologist Erik Wenninger believes insect development is well ahead of normal in Idaho following a mild winter, and growers could face heightened pest and disease ...

Agriculture slips off political radar


IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — In a crowded gymnasium at Skyline High School, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders espoused his many positions for more than an hour on a long list of issues.


Idaho dairy program changing health culture in schools


IDAHO FALLS — Seventh-graders Caleb Messerly and Tyler Shelton say Idaho dairy farmers have done a lot to improve the quality of life at Tigert Middle School in Soda Springs, Idaho.

Their gym class used to t...

Researchers warn of potential for volunteer, late blight challenges


ABERDEEN, Idaho — Soil temperatures in most of Idaho potato country never got low enough to kill volunteer spuds, which could provide a host to carry the late blight pathogen into this season, University of Idaho ...

Tribes ratify long-term water lease with IGWA


FORT HALL, Idaho — The Shoshone-Bannock Tribal Council formally ratified a long-term agreement May 6 to lease 45,000 acre-feet of storage water to Idaho Ground Water Appropriators Inc.

The tribes plan to re-...

Idaho snowpack melts at record pace


Capital Press

BOISE — Parts of Idaho lost a record amount of mountain snowpack during April, according to hydrologists at the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

As a result, peak streamflows...

Cattle group’s suit says beef checkoff violates First Amendment


BILLINGS, Mont. — A cattle organization based here has filed a First Amendment lawsuit against USDA seeking to block beef checkoff fee collections on behalf of the Montana Beef Council, arguing members have been c...

Idaho Supreme Court candidates tout ag experience


BOISE — The four candidates running for an open seat on the Idaho Supreme Court are all touting their strong backgrounds in agricultural issues.

The election to replace retiring Chief Justice Jim Jones will ...

Pending Idaho Supreme Court ruling could ease Rangen water call burden


Capital Press

HAGERMAN, Idaho — Officials with Idaho Ground Water Appropriators Inc. say they hope a forthcoming state Supreme Court ruling will ease their burden in the Rangen Inc. water call and provide a ...

Idaho, Washington wheat growers seek emergency label for wireworm product


BOISE — Idaho and Washington grain growers hope to obtain a special-needs exemption from the Environmental Protection Agency allowing them to use an insecticide labeled for potatoes to protect wheat from wireworms...

Commodity groups seek freedom of information exemption for checkoff boards


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Several agricultural organizations have gotten language included in the pending fiscal year 2017 House Agricultural Appropriations Bill asking USDA to exempt research and promotion boards funded...

Spud growers join Boise schools’ Potato Celebration Week


BOISE — The Boise School District’s new Potato Celebration Week enabled Rod Lake of Heyburn-based Southwind Farms to get his company’s fingerling potatoes into a public schools market he’s bee...