Sean Ellis

Boise, Idaho, Reporter
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Bill grants livestock producers capital gains tax deduction

- A bill that has passed the Idaho Legislature would ensure that partners in a livestock operation are treated the same as other industries when it comes to a state tax deduction for capital gains.

Idaho ag groups weigh in on transportation funding plans

- Idaho farm groups are being asked to weigh in on the debate about increasing transportation funding, an issue that has recently heated up in the Idaho Legislature.

Idaho grain, cattle producers agree on ‘open range’ plan

- Groups representing Idaho grain and cattle producers have developed a plan they hope will help settle open range disagreements at the local rather than state level.

Hearing on Idaho Ag Security Act lawsuit set for April 28

- A hearing on plaintiffs' motion for summary judgement in the federal lawsuit against Idaho's Agricultural Security Act is scheduled for April 28 in Boise.

PCN-affected spud growers plead their case to Idaho lawmakers

- Potato growers from East Idaho who are regulated under a federal pale cyst nematode eradication program told lawmakers March 17 they need help dealing with the regulations, which they said are over-reaching and unfair.

Idaho lawmakers OK $200,000 for sheep station

- The USDA's sheep experiment station near Dubois, Idaho, which is targeted for closure, will receive $200,000 in ongoing state funding. Supporters say it's a message to the USDA that Idaho supports the continued operation of...

Bad water situation in Eastern Oregon getting worse

- The 2015 water supply situation for Eastern Oregon farmers who get their water from the Owyhee Irrigation District could be worse than in 2014, which was one of the worst water supply years in the project's history.

Idaho cottage foods bill sent back to House committee

- A bill that would set statewide standards for Idaho's cottage food producers has been sent back to committee and could be dead for this year.

2015 water supply outlook for SW Idaho still not settled

- Water supply managers in Southwestern Idaho are tentatively expecting that farmers in the region will have an adequate amount of irrigation water this year.

Idaho House, Senate split on proposed elk importation rule

- A pending Idaho rule that would allow the importation of commercial elk from states where meningeal worm is endemic is on the ropes in the Idaho Legislature. Lawmakers are one vote away from either accepting or denying the ...

Bill would allow Boise irrigators to fund cloud seeding efforts

- A bill working its way through the Idaho Legislature would allow water districts to use money collected from user assessments to fund cloud seeding efforts.

East Oregon ag worried about proposed minimum wage hike

- Agribusinesses and farmers in Eastern Oregon say they would be hard-pressed to absord the extra labor costs that a significant increase in the state's minimum wage would bring. Some say they would consider crossing the bord...

Idaho barley industry emerges from 2014 losses in healthy condition

- Despite sustaining $60 million to $70 milion worth of damage from heavy August rains in 2014, Idaho still led the nation in total barley production last year.

Idaho cottage food bill advances despite scrutiny

- A bill that would set standards for Idaho's cottage food producers faced some tough questioning during a public hearing but has been sent to the House floor with a "do-pass" recommendation.

Owyhee Project water supply outlook worsens

- Hopes for a near-normal water season for farmers in Eastern Oregon who get their water from the Owyhee Project have all but faded.

Customers remain committed to Idaho wheat despite 2014 losses

- The Idaho wheat industry's main customers have told Idaho Wheat Commission officials they remain committed to the state despite major losses in 2014 due to heavy August rains.

Some of Idaho fruit crop was damaged by November cold snap

- Record low temperatures in November have caused damage to Idaho's fruit crop, but the extent of the damage won't be known until May or June.

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...