Sean Ellis

Boise, Idaho, Reporter
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Idaho bill puts court decision on stock watering rights into state law

- Idaho lawmakers will consider legislation that would put into state law an Idaho Supreme Court decision on who owns in-stream stock watering rights on federal land.

Bill would do away with dyed fuel in Idaho

- A bill introduced in the Idaho Legislature would require farmers and others who currently use dyed fuel to pay the taxes on diesel fuel up front and apply for a refund.

Idaho farmers inducted into onion industry hall of fame

- Ken Nelson and Clinton Wissel have been inducted into the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Hall of Fame.

Disposal of 200 million pounds of cull onions challenge growers

- Idaho and Oregon state officials are scrambling to find ways to handle the estimated 200 million pounds of ruined onions that have to be disposed of by April 15.

Oregon, Idaho governors view snow damage in Treasure Valley

- The Idaho and Oregon governors pledged to do everything they can to assist with recovery efforts.

Snow damage recovery will challenge onion industry

- The Idaho-Oregon onion industry faces many challenges as it tries to rebound following the collapse of dozens of storage and packing buildings this winter.

Idaho agriculture growing faster than U.S. ag overall

- While Idaho net farm income and farm cash receipts were both down in 2016, the state’s farm industry is growing much faster than U.S. agriculture overall, an ag economist told Idaho lawmakers.

Bill would create dyed fuel enforcement program in Idaho

- Agricultural groups have told lawmakers they are willing to discuss such a program as long as it’s not burdensome and doesn’t unfairly target farmers.

Idaho proposal seeks state funding for farm best management practices

- Idaho legislators will be asked to provide up to $3.2 million in state funding to assist farmers in implementing best management practices to improve water quality.

Idaho farm groups oppose ‘sanctuary city’ bill

- Idaho’s farm industry is concerned about the implications of a proposed “sanctuary city” bill. They are worried it will send a “you’re not welcome here” message to much of the state...

Idaho FFA members descend on Capitol for Day on the Hill event

- Hundreds of blue FFA jackets were seen around Idaho’s Capitol Jan. 30 as FFA members from across Idaho met with legislators and ag industry leader during the annual Cenarrusa Day on the Hill event.

Farmworker goes from illegal immigrant to legal dairy foreman

- Dairy foreman who crossed the U.S. border illegally and later gained legal residency advises other immigrants to take advantage of the opportunity this nation offers them.

Snowpack in Owyhee River Basin far above normal

- Snowpack in the Owyhee River Basin is at 164 percent of normal, which bodes well for area farmers, who have 118,000 acres of irrigated farmland.

Snow damage to Idaho-Oregon onion industry nears $100 million

- Dozens of onion storage sheds and packing facilities collapsed under the weight of several feet of snow.

Idaho field burning bill heads to the Senate floor

- An Idaho Senate committee has approved a bill that would amend the state’s field burning program and prevent farmers from suffering a major reduction in the number of allowable field days.

Bureau of Reclamation backs Boise River system water storage study

- U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s regional director told Idaho Water Resource Board members Jan. 23 her agency is interested in conducting a water supply storage study for the Boise River system. The $5.5 million study wo...

Scotts defends decision to seek GE bentgrass deregulation

- Scotts, USDA defend decision to deregulate a genetically engineered creeping bentgrass that escaped field trials in 2003 and has taken root in two Oregon counties and part of one Idaho county, but environmental groups vow t...

Commission seeks to change how winery assessment is calculated

- A proposed change in how Idaho’s wine assessment is calculated seeks to simplify record-keeping for the state’s 50 wineries.

Idaho Senate committee votes to introduce field burning bill

- A bill to amend Idaho’s crop residue burning program to avoid a large reduction in the number of allowable burn days has been printed.

APHIS deregulates Roundup Ready creeping bentgrass

- Last month APHIS released a final Environmental Impact Statement that recommended deregulation of the genetically engineered creeping bentgrass because it “is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk....”

Idaho ag dean is pushing aggressive plan for college

- University of Idaho ag college dean Michael Parrella is moving ahead with an aggressive plan to upgrade the college’s agricultural research stations, increase enrollment and expand graduate student housing.

Onion facilities collapse under weight of snow

- Severe weather in the Treasure Valley area of Eastern Oregon and Southwestern Idaho has caused the roofs of about 18 onion storage and packing facilities to collapse. That has caused major production disruptions that have r...

Idaho ag college asks state for $1.85 million infusion

- University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences seeks additional $1.85 million in state funding for graduate student housing, new farm equipment and major lab renovations.

Government payments to Idaho farmers fell 25 percent in 2016

- University of Idaho ag economists estimate that federal government payments to Idaho agriculture decreased 25 percent in fiscal year 2016. Most of those payments went to farmers enrolled in conservation programs.

Gov. Otter recommends $10 million for major ag research center

- Idaho Gov. Butch Otter’s proposed fiscal 2017 budget recommends $10 million for ag research center, $400,000 for wolf control efforts and $500,000 in ongoing funding for graduate student housing at University of Idah...

Bill would codify landmark water rights victory in Idaho law

- Idaho lawmakers in 2017 will again attempt to introduce a bill that codifies in state law a 2007 Idaho Supreme Court decision over who owns in-stream stock watering rights on federal land.

Idaho legislative committee agenda change shows lawmakers’ regard for ag

- An Idaho economic outlook committee has streamlined its agenda and agriculture is one of the survivors. Lawmakers said that’s because the state’s farming industry is critical to the state’s overall econ...

Idaho farm cash receipts drop $290 million from 2015

- University of Idaho’s annual Financial Condition of Idaho Agriculture report for 2016 doesn’t contain many bright spots and UI ag economists say 2017 could be similar to last year for Idaho farmers.

Study will develop model of Treasure Valley aquifer

- The Idaho Department of Water Resources and U.S. Geological Survey have begun work on a five-year project to develop a groundwater flow model for the Treasure Valley aquifer system.

Managing federal lands could be major issue in Idaho Legislature

- A bill that sets basic parameters for how Idaho would manage any federal land it acquires will be re-introduced in 2017.

Rural-urban divide missing in Idaho, survey finds

- A University of Idaho survey found that people in Idaho’s main urban area strongly support livestock grazing and multiple uses on public land in neighboring Owyhee County.

Idaho’s ag industry wage increases outpace national rate

- The average private sector wage in Idaho is growing at twice the national rate, which is one of the factors that have created a tight labor market for the state’s farming sector.