John O’Connell

Eastern Idaho Reporter
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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.

Idaho growers pleased with spud yields, quality

- Idaho growers are pleased by the size and quality of their spuds as harvest starts, but University of Idaho officials warn them not to stop spraying for potato psyllids until their vines are killed, based on the discovery o...

Potato council commissions food safety software for sheds

- The National Potato Council has hired a consultant to develop software and a smartphone app to help potato packing facilities meet forthcoming federal food safety regulations.

Idaho quinoa growers get encouraging news in second season

- Quinoa harvest has started in Eastern Idaho, and the buyer of the high-protein, gluten-free grain is pleased with yields and profitability for his growers.

Researcher studies soil health as climate change coping strategy

- A climate researcher with the Union of Concerned Scientists sees an opportunity for farmers to fight climate change by improving their soil health and keeping grassland intact.

Idaho to use wildfire project as disaster-response template

- An Idaho pilot project aimed at assessing safety hazards following large wildfires and coordinating both fire prevention and recovery efforts on public and private land is nearing completion.

Senators optimistic about wildfire funding bill

- Three U.S. senators are backing a bill to fund suppression efforts for catastrophic wildfires as natural disasters, freeing funding for prevention efforts.

Tribes concerned about farm impacts on water

- The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes in Eastern Idaho are planning measures to improve water quality, some of which could affect farmers who lease their land.

East Idaho fairgoers prove their ag knowledge

- The Bannock County Farm Bureau Women's Committee hosted an agricultural trivia competition to demonstrate agriculture's diversity to those in attendance at the Bannock County Fair.

Western Innovator: Former trout hatchery provides cash crop

- An Eastern Idaho businessman has a large fish hatchery at his disposal, but rather than producing trout, he mines the fish excrement as a key ingredient for a biological fertilizer he manufactures.

Once strong Snake Plain water outlook deteriorating

- Water managers are growing concerned after starting the irrigation season with a strong water outlook for Idaho's Eastern Snake Plain.

Crop, pasture land prices increase in Northwest, California

- Crop land values have continued to increase in 2016 in Idaho and the Pacific Coastal states, despite dropping nationwide.

Restrictions mulled for ESPA tributary wells

- The Idaho Department of Water Resources is considering the establishment of a groundwater management area, which could force additional irrigators in the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer or its tributaries to take actions to sta...

Lightning-sparked wildfires take hold in Idaho

- Several wildfires are burning throughout Idaho.

Idaho growers expect record beet yield, high-quality spuds

- Idaho growers anticipate strong sugar beet and potato crops.

Potato research entity turns to clinical studies

- The Alliance for Potato Research and Education intends to shift its focus toward conducting clinical research rather than epidemiological studies.

Growers wary of precedent set by insecticide ruling

- An Environmental Protection Agency review board has ruled EPA had the authority to remove Bayer's insecticide Belt from the market based on concerns about potential impacts to aquatic life.

Idaho organic dairies growing rapidly

- Idaho has experienced strong growth in the organic dairy sector recently, causing some to worry that the market may be nearing a saturation point.

Hair sheep gaining popularity with U.S. producers

- Sheep ranchers are increasingly turning to hair sheep, which don't require sheering, as a means of cutting back on labor.

Farmers’ market vendors partner in mall store

- A store in the Pine Ridge Mall in Chubbuck, Idaho, provides residents of the Pocatello area access to farmers' market goods every day of the year.

UI seeks partnership with Peru potato center

- The University of Idaho is seeking to partner with the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru, which has a large repository of potato breeding material, as well as world-class expertise.

East Idaho grower finds niche with spelt

- A Rexburg, Idaho, grower raises spelt in his unique rotation.

Idaho growers reporting strong wheat harvest

- Idaho wheat farmers say they're harvesting a decent crop near the start of the 2016 winter wheat harvest.