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Sean Ellis

Boise, Idaho, Reporter
  • Phone 208-914-8264
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Cutworms damage fields in Oregon, Idaho

- Some alfalfa fields and rangeland grasses in eastern Oregon and southwestern Idaho have sustained significant damage from an infestation of army cutworms. The caterpillars appear to be cycling out for this year but they lef...

‘Proper’ sentence sought for crop duster shooter

- A Filer man convicted of shooting at a crop duster last year will be sentenced May 5 and Idaho farm groups are asking the judge to dole out a "proper" sentence. They want to send a message that it is not a minor thing to sh...

Thrips found on volunteer onions

- Thrips have been found on volunteer onions in fields in Eastern Oregon and Southwestern Idaho. Researchers are advising growers to control the volunteer onions before this year's onion crop begins to emerge.

Idaho hop acres increase again

- Idaho hop growers are expected to produce about 400 additional acres in 2014, the result of increased demand for aroma varieties from the craft brewing industry.

Idaho pulse acres expected to increase

- Pulse acres in Idaho are expected to increase modestly this year. Chickpea and dry pea acres should increase slightly, while lentil acres could be down.

Rains help east Oregon water picture

- The water supply situation in eastern Oregon has improved a little because of a series of spring rainstorms, but it's still dire in certain parts.

Bill would allow farmers to be paid for improving water quality

- A proposal that has been tabled for this year would allow farmers and ranchers to be paid to help other entities such as cities meet federally mandated water quality standards. Bill supporters plan to bring it back next year.

Idaho water situation continues to improve

- A series of snow and rain storms in March and April improved the southwestern Idaho water supply situation significantly and water supply managers now expect a normal irrigation season.

Livestock agent hopes to reduce feed costs

- Oregon State University's new livestock and rangeland extension agent in Malheur County wants to find ways to help reduce feed costs for area cattle and dairy producers. That will include looking at alternative feeds, inclu...

Ag companies ask about new tax credit

- An Idaho tax incentive bill recently signed into law includes the main elements of a previously proposed Ag Jobs bill that enjoyed widespread support from the state's farm community but failed to pass during the 2012 and 20...

UI gets $1.51 million more for ag research

- Some of the additional $1.51 million in state money appropriated to University of Idaho's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences will be used to hire a barley agronomist and fund a potato pathologist position.

Idaho dry bean acres increasing

- Idaho farmers expect to plant 17 percent more dry bean acres in 2014 compared with 2013, according to USDA estimates.

Idaho honey production down 10 percent

- Idaho honey production dropped by 10 percent last year compared with 2012, according to USDA estimates. Beekeepers blamed hot, dry weather conditions.

Idaho asks judge to dismiss lawsuit

- The state of Idaho has asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that targets a new state law that makes it a crime to interfere with agricultural operations or secretly film them.

Ag groups seek answer on Idaho dust rule

- A disagreement between Idaho regulators and farm leaders over a 1972 fugitive dust law will be addressed through the state's negotiated rule-making process. Ag groups worry the law could be used to fine farmers for creating...

Idaho ag department budget up slightly

- The Idaho State Department of Agriculture will have $287,000 more to work with in fiscal year 2015, a modest 0.8 percent increase over the 2014 budget.

Grocers say GMO labeling would increase farm costs

- A Grocery Manufacturers Association official told Idaho lawmakers that mandatory GMO food labeling requirements would significantly increase costs to farmers and consumers. He also said the safety of GMO food has been prove...

Tax district benefits east Oregon farmers

- Farmers and ranchers in eastern Oregon have benefited from a special taxing district that helps fund Oregon State University's Malheur County experiment station and extension office. Voters approved the district two years a...

Researcher pioneers variable-rate fumigation

- A nematologist and plant pathologist based in Parma, Idaho, is a leader in the use of variable-rate fumigation to control nematodes. Instead of fumigating entire fields, this approach involves testing soil in 1- or 2-acre g...

Study: Water call impact would be huge

- The negative impact of a major water call on the Magic Valley's farming economy would be huge, according to a University of Idaho report.

Label for herbicide’s use in onions extended

- The expiration date for an herbicide that has proven helpful in controlling volunteer potatoes and certain broadleaf weeds such as kochia in onion fields has been extended in Idaho and Oregon.

Idaho forest industry rebounded in 2013

- Idaho's forest products industry saw increased sales in every major category in 2013 and industry experts say conditions have rebounded significantly compared with the post-recession years.

Idaho legislative session good to ag

- The 105-member Idaho Legislature approved a lot of bills important to the state's agricultural industry in 2014 and farm leaders gave the recently concluded session high marks.

Idaho provides more money for ag education

- Idaho lawmakers approved most parts of a proposal to use $2.24 million to shore up and expand the state's secondary agricultural education programs.

Outfitters bill exempts private property

- A bill that would exempt landowners who conduct agritourism type actitivies on their own land from having to obtain a license has passed the Idaho Legislature.

Caldwell, Pioneer close to final settlement

- The city of Caldwell has agreed to drop its emiment domain action against Pioneer Irrigation District and the two sides believe they are close to reaching a final settlement that will resolve their six-year battle over stor...

City dismisses eminent domain case against irrigation district

- Pioneer Irrigation District and the city of Caldwell are closer to ending their long-running dispute over stormwater discharges and other issues afer Caldwell dismissed its eminent domain case against Pioneer March 19.

Idaho lawmakers voice treaty concerns

- Idaho lawmakers are asking the U.S. State Department to respect Idaho's sovereignty over its water rights in the Columbia River Treaty negotiations with Canada.

Farm groups say Ag Security Act is constitutional

- Multiple animal rights, civil liberties, food safety and other groups have filed a federal lawsuit against an Idaho law that makes it a crime to secretly film or interfere with agricultural operations.

Plan alters how feds fund firefighting efforts

- Members of the Idaho and Oregon congressional delegations have created a bipartisan plan that would alter the way the federal government funds its wildfire fighting efforts. The plan is included in President Obama's propose...

Idaho water users hail $15 million plan

- Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has signed into law legislation that provides $15 million for various water supply improvement projects across the state.

Lawsuit targets Idaho’s Ag Security Act

- A coalition of animal rights and other groups is seeking to overturn Idaho's new Ag Security Act, which was signed into law Feb. 28. The groups have filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the act, which make...

Ranchers ask for help with elk invasion

- Ranchers in the Mayfield area southeast of Boise say an invasion of up to 6,000 elk in their area is threatening their livelihoods. They came to Boise March 12 to ask lawmakers for help in addressing the problem.

Bill could undo eminent domain case against irrigation district

- A House committee has approved legislation that could undo the city of Caldwell's eminent domain action against Pioneer Irrigation District. The committee sent the bill to the full House with a "do-pass" recommendation.

Pay for Idaho dairy commissioners could rise

- A bill making its way through the Idaho Legislature would allow the Idaho Dairy Products Commission to pay its nine commissioners a maximum compensation rate of $150. The current rate commissioners can be paid for each day ...

Southwest Idaho water outlook improves

- The water supply outlook in much of southwestern Idaho has improved significantly since January, thanks to a series of February storms. Precipitation in the Boise basin was twice its normal level last month.

Idaho bill allows inmates to be used as farm laborers

- Legislation making its way through the Idaho Legislature would allow agricultural operations to use state inmates to harvest or process perishable commodities in the event of a worker shortage.

Bills would resolve Pioneer-Caldwell fight

- Pioneer Irrigation District and the city of Caldwell are being pushed by rancher and Idaho Speaker of the House Scott Bedke to resolve their long-running dispute over stormwater runoff and the use of eminent domain. Bedke h...

East Oregon water situation tight

- The water situation in eastern Oregon will be particularly tight in 2014. A series of rainstorms has done little to improve the water supply outlook, Owyhee Irrigation District officials told about 200 farmers March 4.

Bill exempts food donations from Idaho use tax

- A bill that easily passed the Idaho House would ensure that farmers and ranchers who donate food to individuals and non-profit groups don't have to pay the state's 6 percent use tax.

Idaho could lead U.S. again in barley

- Idaho barley acres and production are expected to be in line with the 2013 totals and the Gem State could retain its title as the top barley producer in the United States.

Bill could reduce Idaho metal thefts

- Idaho's farming community is supporting legislation designed to cut down on metal thefts. The bill amends the state's Scrap Metal Act in an effort to make it easier for law enforcement to track down metal thieves.

Ag Forum draws 220 in Canyon County

- About 220 people, including about 20 farmers, attended the 2014 Ag Forum in Canyon County. The forum, which will become an annual event, is designed to highlight the important role farming plays in the local economy.

Bean herbicide could be brought back

- Idaho's dry bean industry is hopeful that a discontinued herbicide that was helpful in controlling nightshade will soon be on the market again.

Barley group to spend more on research

- The Idaho Barley Commission will spend $322,507 on a variety of research projects in fiscal year 2015, a 5.7 percent increase over 2014.

Idaho wheat to get molecular geneticist

- The Idaho Wheat Commission will provide the start-up money needed to create a wheat molecular geneticist position at the University of Idaho. That person will work at the molecular level to identify and develop new traits t...