Sean Ellis

Boise, Idaho, Reporter
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Huge 2017 snowpack gives Idaho irrigators a boost

- Many reservoirs in Idaho and Eastern Oregon have significantly more water than normal for this time of year and irrigators who depend on them are looking at a promising water season in 2018.

Idaho ranchers encouraged to claim stock watering rights on federal land

- Idaho ranchers attending an Idaho Farm Bureau Federation conference were encouraged to file stock watering claims on federal grazing allotments. A bill passed by the legislature earlier this year provides them a great oppor...

Idaho Farm Bureau members support protecting water rights

- Idaho Farm Bureau Federation members debated several issues during their annual meeting this week, including wolves, water rights and wheat discounts.

Idaho Farm Bureau leaders tell members they make a difference

- During the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation’s annual meeting, members were told they are making a difference but they were also encouraged to not rest on their laurels and continue making their voices heard.

Where agriculture gets respect in the legislature

- At least 24 percent of the Idaho Legislature — 25 out of 105 lawmakers — are either current or retired farmers or ranchers or involved in agribusiness.

Idaho wheat groups to move forward with proposed rule change

- A rule change proposed during the 2018 Idaho Legislature would give the Idaho Wheat Commission the ability to collect the names and contact information of all wheat farmers in the state.

Grazing slowly returns to land scorched by 2015 Soda Fire

- BLM officials will use 30 miles of targeted grazing fuel breaks as part of its plan to protect the restoration work it has done following the 2015 Soda Fire, which scorched tens of thousands of acres of grazing land in sout...

FFA tractor raffle has raised awareness of the importance of ag education

- The Idaho FFA Foundation’s tractor raffle, which heads into its eighth year in 2018, has raised enough money to award $129,000 in scholarships to FFA members.

Idaho farm cash receipts, ag exports projected to be up in 2017

- Idaho’s farming industry is on a different, more positive track than the nation’s overall agricultural industry in terms of cash receipts and net farm income.

2014 Idaho initiative has benefited ag ed, FFA programs

- Since the Idaho Ag Education Initiative was approved in 2014, FFA membership in Idaho has increased significantly, along with the number of FFA chapters and ag education teachers.

Southwestern Idaho has a shortage of housing for H-2A workers

- As an increasing number of agricultural produces in southwestern Idaho turn to the H-2A foreign guest worker program, housing authorities are scrambling to find enough units to house those workers.

Wheat acreage leads the field in Pacific Northwest

- A total of 4.1 million acres of winter and spring wheat were grown in Idaho, Oregon and Washington in 2016, making wheat the region’s top crop in terms of acreage.

Water year off to a good start in Eastern Oregon, SW Idaho

- Basins in southwestern Idaho and Eastern Oregon have above-average amounts of snowpack for this time of year, and area reservoirs have higher than normal amounts of carryover water from the 2017 season.

High school senior proposes bill mandating ag education

- A bill will be proposed during the 2018 Idaho legislative session requiring all students who graduate high school to have taken at least two agriculture education classes.

Idaho livestock owners eligible for cattle inspection fee refund

- Because of a paperwork error, Idaho livestock owners were overcharged $100,000 in cattle brand inspection fees between July 1 and Oct. 1 and are eligible for a 25-cent-a-head refund.

University, Idaho Wheat Commission agree on new royalty plan

- The university and IWC had been negotiating the issue since last November and commission board members took a firm stand in June.

Idaho ag export value up 12 percent in 2017

- After decreasing in 2015 and 2016, the total value of Idaho agricultural exports increased 12 percent through the first nine months of this year.

Speaker: Dairymen need to be able to adapt to rapid changes

- Rapid technological innovation will cause major changes in the food industry and dairy producers need to be ready and able to adapt to stay competitive, a keynote speaker told Idaho dairymen recently.

Idaho producers seeking H-2A workers could rise significantly

- Idaho ranks third in the country in total H-2A applications filed and the number of Idaho ag producers seeking temporary foreign workers could increase significantly in coming years.

Farm could be first in Idaho to grow large-scale blueberries

- A southwestern Idaho hop farm is trying to become the first producer in Idaho to grow blueberries successfully on a large scale. The farm has grown them for two years now and is trying to overcome low yields and high soil p...

Schilder newest member of Idaho Dairy Hall of Fame

- John Schilder, an Idaho dairyman who passed away in January 2015, has been inducted into the Idaho Dairy Hall of Fame. His wife and their children and families were on hand to receive an award honoring him Nov. 9 during Dai...

Hilt Dairy wins Idaho Milk Quality Award for 2017

- Hard work, good employees and a love for their cows are the keys behind Hilt Dairy winning Idaho’s Milk Quality Award in 2017, the operation’s owners said.

Onion growers benefit from research related to produce rule

- Oregon State University researchers are starting to publish in scientific journals some of their findings from four years of field trials on bulb onions and the risk of contamination from bacteria in irrigation water.

Farm festival, activities educate public about ag

- The owner of a corn maze in Meridian, Idaho, that attracts national attention said getting noticed by national media is fun but he cares more about educating residents of Idaho’s fastest-growing city about agriculture.

Western Innovator: Farmers strike out on their own

- Seven years ago, Alex Bowman-Brown volunteered on an organic farm. Now, after falling in love with farming, he is the co-owner of a certified organic farm near Boise.

Grain marketer: Farmers who ‘identity preserve’ their wheat could benefit

- Wheat buyers looking to set their products apart are increasingly asking for grain with specific traits and farmers who separate their wheat by variety or trait stand to benefit from that trend, a representative of a grain ...

More Idaho ag employers turning to H-2A program

- The number of agricultural employers in Idaho who applied for the H-2A guest worker program rose 32 percent in the past two years and is expected to increase significantly again in 2018.

Industry leaders: Idaho wheat crop one of the best

- Idaho wheat growers produced an exceptionally high quality crop this year, according to industry leaders, although total production was down 12 percent from last year.

110,000-plus acres of farmland will vanish, researchers say

- Between 110,000 and 240,000 acres of farmland in southwestern Idaho will disappear by 2100, according to a report by a team of Boise State University researchers. How much actually vanishes depends in part on decisions made...

New Year’s potato drop garners more support from Idaho Potato Commission

- The New Year’s Eve potato drop in Boise has garnered national and international attention and draws around 35,000 people to downtown Boise. As the event has grown over five years, so has the Idaho Potato Commission&#...

Idaho Land Board could vote on change to state grazing rate

- The Idaho Department of Lands is reviewing the methodology used to determine the grazing rate on state endowment lands.

Bureau will study feasibility of raising three Boise River dams

- The Idaho Water Resource voted 7-0 Oct. 24 to commit $3 million in funding toward a study of the feasibility of raising the three Boise River dams by several feet.

East Idaho dairy’s expansion into the Boise area pays off

- An Eastern Idaho dairy’s expansion into Idaho’s largest urban center has helped it stay in the milk bottling business.

Weather prevented 114,000 acres from being planted in Idaho this year

- The typical amount is 20,000 acres.

Decision expected soon on proposed Dry Creek Valley petition

- A district judge is expected to issue a written decision soon on whether a county clerk must file a petition that seeks to ask voters to overturn a county ordinance that paves the way for a major development on 1,400 acres ...

Idaho ag production value down 6 percent in 2016; rebound likely

- Idaho’s total farm production value decreased in 2016 and 2015 but agricultural economists expect it to be up slightly in 2017.

50 antique tractors on display at Boise community center

- A collection of 50 antique tractors, some of them the last of their kind, are displayed in a Boise community center. The $70 million facility was funded by the family of J.R. Simplot, who was known in Idaho as Mr. Spud for ...

Inmates pitch in to help Idaho farm businesses

- Six Idaho agricultural businesses that face a critical worker shortage are using state inmates to help them grow, harvest and pack farm commodities. The author of the 2014 bill that created the program hopes to expand it du...

Idaho’s biggest pumpkin weighs in at 1,400 pounds

- The pumpkin is on display at a popular corn maze in Meridian.

States offer training required by produce safety rule

- The FDA’s new produce safety rule requires at least one person from each covered farm to attend a approved, one-day training course. Those courses start net month in Idaho, Oregon and Washington and have already begu...

GMO Answers website attracts more than 2 million visits a year

- The seed companies that fund the website believe they are helping change the online conversation about the technology.