John O’Connell

Eastern Idaho Reporter
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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.

North Idaho growers open flour mill

- A North Idaho grain farmer and his wife, who recently retired from teaching, have opened a grain mill to directly market some of their crops.

Company’s gene-editing pipeline full of Northwest crops

- Potato and wheat growers will be among the first to benefit from a new breeding technology that quickly and cheaply introduces desirable traits without being considered genetic modification.

Potato researcher warns of new disease threat

- Some growers in Idaho are concerned about a bacterial disease of potatoes long found in Europe, called dickeya, that is now spreading throughout the U.S.

Busch touts SmartBarley program

- Idaho barley growers are participating in a worldwide program that allows them to compare their production practices with other growers to assess opportunities for improvement.

New commissioner specializes in growing food barley

- The Idaho Barley Commission has appointed a new commissioner to represent Northern Idaho.

Interior bill lays groundwork for addressing Western issues

- Agricultural interests representing key commodities across the Northwest say the Interior funding bill that recently passed the U.S. House has several provisions that they support.

Simplot plans GMO-only seed potato farms

- J.R. Simplot Co. hopes to work with farmers willing to raise no other potatoes aside from the company's Innate line of biotech seed on their seed farms.

GMO spud sponsors Boise Olympic cyclist

- Two-time Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong, of Boise, is likely the first athlete ever sponsored by a GMO crop.

Ag opponents plan attacks on water, climate issues

- An official who tracks issues in agriculture says organizations that oppose conventional farming are upping their spending, working together and coalescing their attacks on water and climate.

Potato, sugar leaders laud GMO labeling bill

- Potato leaders say the GMO labeling bill that has passed Congress is a good compromise.

Progress made on accessing U.S. potato markets

- The U.S. potato industry has made headway in its efforts to access some key foreign markets.

Grant pays for potato shipping study

- Specialty crop block grants have been awarded to three potato projects, including a new Idaho Potato Commission project to improve conditions for fresh potato shipments heading abroad.

Grasshoppers cause damage in southeast Idaho

- Grasshoppers are causing damage in southeast Idaho crops, and growers in other areas of the state are keeping an eye on the pests as populations build.

IDWR order requires well monitors in Snake Plain

- The Idaho Department of Water Resources has issued an order requiring Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer well users to install water meters to better monitor their usage.

Reports show slight spud acreage reduction

- Potato acreage is down slightly in both the U.S. and Idaho, but industry sources caution a return to normal yields would increase the harvested tonnage.

First potato psyllids arrive in Eastern Idaho

- Potato psyllids, which spread zebra chip disease, have been captured in Eastern Idaho potato fields.

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.