John O’Connell

Eastern Idaho Reporter
  • Phone 208-421-4347
  • Email Send Mail
  • Dep Newsroom

Environmental group appeals Gateway West line

- Western Watersheds, based in Hailey, Idaho, has appealed the approved route of a section of the planned Gateway West Transmission Line, which provides an obstacle to a project that’s unpopular with farmers in its pat...

Potato cooperative sues attorneys after antitrust settlements

- A Salt Lake City-based potato cooperative and affiliated companies have filed a lawsuit against their former attorney, alleging poor legal advice led to antitrust lawsuit settlements.

New president joins Idaho Grower Shippers Association

- Shawn Boyle, a licensed attorney who was raised in Shelley, Idaho, has become the new president of the Idaho Grower Shippers Association.

200 Bushel Club studies companion crops

- An organization devoted to boosting Eastern Idaho wheat yields has publicized results of trials analyzing fertilizer placement and the use of so-called companion crops to boost yields.

Idaho irrigators back bills fighting Oregon fish plan

- The Idaho Water Users Association has drafted four bills positioning Idaho to fight an effort by the State of Oregon to force the reintroduction of endangered fish in the Snake River upstream of the Hells Canyon Complex of ...

Irrigation managers rush to save property from flooding

- Idaho irrigation and emergency managers are busy trying to protect property from overflowing streams and canals.

Bill seeks to end ‘duplicative’ pesticide permits

- Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo has introduced legislation to end a requirement that pesticide applications over or in waterways be permitted by the federal Clean Water Act.

Flooding raises Idaho crop disease concerns

- Idaho crop experts caution waterlogged grain could be at a heightened risk of diseases, including pythium, which appears to be developing resistance to treatments in southeast Idaho.

Strong Idaho snowpack triggers cloud seeding suspension

- Idaho Power Co. has suspended its cloud seeding, already having an ample mountain snowpack.

Potato breeders fry hundreds of experimental lines in trial

- The University of Idaho’s Aberdeen Research and Extension Center smells like a fast-food restaurant for a couple of weeks each winter while researchers evaluate the color of fries resulting from their experimental li...

UI to grow nuclear potato seed program

- University of Idaho has hired a new director and a promoted a worker to be a full-time greenhouse manager for its nuclear seed potato program, and intends to invest in new infrastructure.

Idaho cattle grant helps Mackay school start ranch

- Students at Mackay Junior-Senior High School in Idaho have started their own ranch to learn about animal husbandry.

Idaho Grain Producers offering discount to build membership

- The Idaho Grain Producers Association is offering a discounted membership rate to attract new members so more of the industry will understand its efforts on behalf of growers.

Report shows significant drop in Idaho spud costs

- A University of Idaho economist has estimated Idaho potato farmers saw their production costs drop from 5.5 percent to 8.5 percent, depending on their region and whether or not they use fumigation.

Some Idaho basins already approaching normal winter snow peak

- With 40 percent of winter remaining, some basins in Southern Idaho are already nearing their normal peak snowpack levels.

Idaho potato industry makes progress against diseases

- The Idaho Crop Improvement Association has zero tolerance for ring rot, rejecting any seed lots in which the disease is found.

New Northwest spuds offer strong disease resistance

- Two potatoes that will be released by the Tri-State Potato Breeding Program in the Northwest should help growers cope with losses of effective fumigants, due to their strong resistance to diseases.

Chip brand finds higher purpose for off-grade spuds

- A Pennsylvania company has created an Uglies brand of chips using rejected potatoes.

Spore samplers give farmers an early warning system against crop diseases

- Plans are in the works to use spore samplers for early detection of diseases attacking potatoes, barley, wheat, sugar beets, beans, onions, oilseeds, grapes and hops.

Potato growers prepare for new sustainability audit

- A new audit that potato growers some growers will complete this season seeks to provide a common standard for sustainability.

College of Southern Idaho mulls trout farm purchase from state

- The College of Southern Idaho may purchase the former Pristine Springs fish facility in Jerome, which could help CSI expand its agriculture programs with the property in the long term.

New advisory panel generates industry support for potato research priorities

- The potato industry has formed a committee to identify research priorities and generate support for related projects.

Crop advisors gain certification in sustainability

- An entity that certifies crop advisors has big hopes for a new certification to help farmers meet customers’ sustainability requirements.

Western Innovator: Variable rates boost crops

- Ryan Christensen of Grace, Idaho, has installed variable-rate irrigation on his family’s farm and taken a different approach to developing prescription maps.

Shippers, truckers prepare for FSMA transportation rule

- The deadline is forthcoming for larger businesses and certain carriers to implement the final Food Safety and Modernization Act transportation rule.

Potato pathologist warns of future disease threats

- North Dakota State University potato pathologist Neil Gudmestad warned Idaho growers several new or heightened disease threats may be looming on the horizon.

IDWR issues water right curtailment notices

- The Idaho Department of Water Resources has sent notices curtailing 70 junior water rights on the Eastern Snake Plain.

Scottish expert describes challenges of widespread PCN infestation

- The head nematologist for Scotland told Idaho growers why they should jump at the opportunity to eradicate pale cyst nematode in a quarantine area of Eastern Idaho.

Researchers program drone to hunt PVY in potatoes

- Researchers say they’ve accurately detected potato virus Y using cameras mounted on drones.

National potato leader voices optimism about Trump

- An official with the National Potato Council offered reasons why he believes Trump is likely to implement beneficial policies for the potato industry.

Spud equipment sales remain steady

- Potato equipment manufacturers at the Agricultural Expo in Pocatello have reported continued strong sales, despite a generally poor agricultural economy.

Election provides fund-raising windfall for environmental organizations

- Environmental organizations say money has been rolling in since the election of Donald Trump.

Public lands transfer backers seek convention of states to amend Constitution

- Advocates for forcing the transfer of public lands to Western states say they hope to take up the issue by calling for a convention of states.

Progress made on Mexican potato access

- New rules could allow fresh spuds from the U.S. greater access to the Mexican market.

Officials confirm another PCN-infested field

- Officials with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service say a 150-acre field has been added to their list of Eastern Idaho farm fields under regulation for pale cyst nematode infestation.

Drone companies prepare to train pilots, expand opportunities

- Western commercial drone companies say they’re preparing for growth, following a Federal Aviation Administration decision to relax remote-pilot standards.

NPC recognizes East Idaho potato farmer for stewardship

- Ririe, Idaho, farmer Boyd Foster has won the National Potato Council’s 2016 Environmental Stewardship Award.

Agency testing product to control annual grasses in burn area

- The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is feeding elk in winter range where forage was lost to fire last summer to protect surrounding farm fields and is testing a biological product to control annual grasses that threaten t...

Gene lab will help researchers breed better crops

- University of Idaho plans to open a new laboratory for genomic editing of crops, starting with wheat.

Potato industry targets Paleo diet

- Potato industry leaders have found fault with a diet that seeks to replicate what cavemen ate.

Idaho irrigators oppose Oregon endangered fish reintroduction effort

- Irrigators in Idaho are fighting an effort by the State of Oregon to reintroduce endangered steelhead trout and chinook salmon to the Snake River above Hells Canyon.

IPC, retailers partner on maintaining spud quality

- The Idaho Potato Commission is considering a program to partner with retailers, who would share information to help identify possible causes of poor potato quality.

Ample snow followed by extreme cold in Idaho

- December brought above-average snowfall throughout Idaho, but January has delivered extreme cold.

Idaho farmer says growers need not abandon cover crops

- Farmer develops cover crop blend he says will maximize water efficiency.

Company to make fish feed from raw processing waste

- An Idaho fish processor has purchased an innovative feed mill to convert raw fish guts into high-quality feed.

Company officials weigh options after fire destroys fresh potato facility

- A fire has destroyed a fresh potato packing facility in Ucon, Idaho.