Sean Ellis

Boise, Idaho, Reporter
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SY Ovation top wheat variety planted in Idaho, survey shows

- SY Ovation was the most planted wheat variety in Idaho in 2014, according to an annual Idaho Wheat Commission survey. Brundage and ORCF 102 were second and third.

Cutting-edge technology boosts precision

- New University of Idaho researcher Olga Walsh is focusing on developing ways to use precision agriculture techniques to help farmers improve the efficiency of their crop production.

Idaho House panel supports federal policy for GMO labeling

- An Idaho House committee has approved a joint memorial that asks Congress and the Food and Drug Administration to establish a national policy on the labeling of foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients.

Bill sets guidelines, standards for Idaho’s cottage food industry

- A bill introduced in the Idaho Legislature would set guidelines for the state's cottage food industry. It would define the industry and set safety standards for those who sell limited amounts of food produced in their home ...

Group asks Congress to reject closure of Idaho sheep station

- A diverse group trying to save the USDA sheep experiment station near Dubois, Idaho, has finalized a document that explains the research being done there and asks Congress to reject its proposed closure.

Idaho bill to help PCN-affected potato growers dies

- A bill that would have allowed Idaho potato growers who are part of a federally regulated area designed to control pale cyst nematode to obtain a refund of their state assessment has been rejected by a House committee.

Idaho Barley Commission mulls $382,000 in research funding requests

- The Idaho Barley Commission has received what some IBC members say is the best lineup of research funding requests in recent memory. But with IBC funding projected to be down this year, those requests will be scrutinized c...

Ethanol component not critical to food processor project

- The person proposing to build an ethanol facility near Greenleaf, Idaho, has appealed a planning and zoning commission decision to deny a conditional use permit that is necessayr to construct it.

Idaho lawmakers close to setting budget for college of ag

- The dean of University of Idaho's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences explained to lawmakers Feb. 19 how state funding for the college is being used to help Idaho's farming sector.

Eight people recognized for support of Idaho agriculture

- Eight people received awards for their contributions to Idaho agriculture Feb. 17 during the annual Larry Branen Idaho Ag Summit.

Bill would allow only commercial beekeepers to vote on assessment

- Only commercial beekeepers who have to pay Idaho's per-hive assessment could vote to increase or decrease the fee under legislation introduced in the Idaho Legislature.

Idaho ag exports set record for fourth straight year

- Idaho set another record for total agricultural exports in 2014, despite a slowdown in sales of dairy products, which are the state's top farm export.

Plant geneticist educates Idaho lawmakers about GMO crops

- An expert on plant genetics explained to Idaho lawmakers what genetically modified organisms are Feb. 12 in a presentation designed to educate legislators about the sometimes controversial issue.

Gould confirmed for another four-year term as Idaho ag director

- The Idaho Senate has confirmed Celia Gould, the first female director of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, to another four-year term. If she completes the term, Gould will become the longest-serving ISDA director e...

Idaho bill would ensure state primacy over seed industry

- A bill that would ensure local governments can't ban the planting or processing of conventional or genetically engineered seed crops has been introduced in the Idaho Legislature.

Idaho House committee reverses course, approves elk import rule

- An Idaho House committee has approved a proposed rule that would lift import restrictions on domestic elk from certain states where a parasite is endemic. The committee earlier rejected the rule but changed course Feb. 10.

Idaho expects $1.91 million in specialty crop funding

- The Idaho State Department of Agriculture expects to receive almost $2 million this year from USDA for its specialty block grant program. ISDA in 2014 received a similar amount, which was nearly double what it normally rec...

Idaho House rejects rule eliminating aquifer boundry

- A pending rule that could make an additional half a million irrigated acres in the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer subject to future water calls has run into trouble in the Idaho Legislature.

Idaho Legislature rejects proposed rule on livestock trader lots

- A proposed rule that would require all animals that leave a livestock trader lot to be insepted by a veterinarian has been rejected by Idaho lawmakers. Legislators were concerned the rule would place an unfair burden on tra...

Conference draws farmers, school food-service officials

- A Farm to School Conference helped Idaho farmers learn more about the challenges school food service personnel face when trying to purchase local food. Three similar conferences will be held around the state in June to educ...

House ag committee rejects rule lifting elk import restrictions

- An Idaho House committee has rejected a proposed rule that would have removed restrictions on importing domestic elk from certain states. The rule would have simultaneously added import requirements meant to minimize the ri...

Farm groups on alert over Idaho’s dyed diesel law

- Idaho farm groups are again keeping an eye out for any attempts to alter the state's dyed diesel law. Ag groups have beat back several atempts in the past.

Water supply outlook bleak for E. Oregon farmers

- Snowpack and reservoir storage levels in the Owyhee basin are a little ahead of last year's pace but not enough to assure Eastern Oregon farmers of a normal water year in 2015.

Cattle groups defend Idaho ranchers in grazing reduction cases

- As cattle groups brace for a lengthy and costly legal battle over reduced grazing on Bureau of Land Management allotments in Southwestern Idaho, a local rancher is donating a registered Angus heifer to raise money for the e...

Idaho Fish and Game asks for $2.3 million to purchase ranch

- Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials have asked state lawmakers for an additional $2.3 million to purchase a 10,400-acre ranch in Blaine County. Under the agreement, grazing would continue on most of the property.

Farming sector driving Idaho’s gross state product growth

- Agriculture is driving growth in Idaho's gross state product.

Hundreds of Idaho FFA members meet with lawmakers, ag leaders

- Five Idaho legislators were singled out for their support of agriculture Jan. 26 during the Idaho FFA's annual "Day on the Hill" event.

Idaho House OKs farm-friendly change to dust rule

- An Idaho House committee has approved a temporary rule that would ensure farmers and ranchers can't be fined for creating dust while engaging in common agricultural practices. The Senate still has to approve the rule before...

2 farm reps added to Idaho ag dean search committee

- University of Idaho has added two more representatives of the state's agricultural industry to a committee that is advising the university in its search for a permenant dean for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences...

Planning commission recommends against rezoning ag land

- Planning and zoning commissioners in Canyon County, Idaho, denied a request to rezone 38 acres from agricultural to rural-residential. They made that decision after hearing from a local farmer opposed to the rezone.

Idaho bean meetings to focus on direct harvest of edible beans

- Direct harvest of dry beans will be the focus of bean meetings Jan. 29 and 30 in Twin Falls and Nampa, Idaho. An update on Gowan Co's reintroduction of its Eptam 20G herbicide will also be provided during the free meetings.

$1.53 million in new funding would support Idaho ag research

- Gov. Butch Otter has asked the Idaho Legislature to provide an additional $1.53 million in ongoing funding for University of Idaho's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. The money would be used to support 21.5 new or ...

Rule would allow free movement of hops material among Idaho, Oregon, Washington

- The Idaho Legislature is being asked to approve a temporary rule that would allow the free movement of hops material among Idaho, Oregon and Washington. It would also require a negative disease test for hops green matter co...

GM sugar beets save Idaho, Oregon growers millions

- Genetically modified sugar beets have resulted in a positive impact of about $22 million to Idaho growers since they began planting them in 2008, according to Snake River Sugar Co.

Planning, zoning board deadlocks on proposed ethanol plant

- A decision on a proposed ethanol facility near Greenleaf, Idaho, will have to wait for at least another three weeks after planning and zoning commissioners deadlocked on a conditional use permit for the proposed plant.

Idaho net farm income jumped 46 percent in 2014

- An 11 percent increase in total farm revenue in 2013, coupled with a 6 percent decrease in expenses, resulted in a 46 percent increase in net farm income for Idaho farmers last year.

Idaho wine industry has $169 million impact on economy

- A new impact study shows Idaho's wine industry brought in almost $170 million to Idaho's economy in 2013. It was also responsible for 1,226 full-time equivalent jobs.

Otter’s budget includes $1.53 million more for ag research

- Gov. Butch Otter's proposed fiscal year 2016 budget includes additional funding for ag research, wolf control efforts, sage grouse preservation, ag education and rangeland management.

Idaho goat producers could be assessed 80 cents per head

- Pending legislative approval, goat producers in Idaho will be assessed a checkoff fee for the first time, beginning this year. The fee of 80 cents per head will be collected at the point of sale.

Idaho farm gate receipts, net income set records in 2014

- Idaho set a record for total farm-gate cash receipts in 2014. The $9.7 billion total was a 16 percent increse over the 2013 level and the increase was largely driven by the state's livestock sector.

Idaho cattlemen hail proposed processing plant

- Idaho beef cattle and dairy producers will save a significant amount of money on freight costs after a new $100 milllion beef processing plant near Kuna opens next year.

Simplot plans $100 million Idaho beef processing plant

- A $100 million beef processing facility that could process 1,700- head per day will be built in Kuna, Idaho, J.R. Simplot Co. announced Jan. 6. Simplot will partner with Caviness Beef Packers on the plant, which is expecte...

GMO, wolves, water, on tap for Idaho Legislature

- Wolf control funding, GMO labeling, more funding for agricultural research and water issues are some of the topics likely to pop up during the 2015 Idaho legislative session.

‘Perfect storm’ pushes onion prices below costs

- Onion prices have dropped significantly and are below the cost of production for most growers. The West Coast port slowdown, a decline in exports and the Russian embargo are some of the many factors causing the price decrea...

Materne’s new Idaho factory buying Washington apples

- Materne North America has begun trials on the first production line at its new applesauce facility in Nampa, Idaho, and is already purchasing apples from Washington. Idaho growers are hopeful the company will begin buying f...