Sean Ellis

Boise, Idaho, Reporter
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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.

Survey: 167,000 U.S. farms sold food locally in 2015

- U.S. farmers sold $8.7 billion in products through direct-marketing, according to the USDA.

Above normal Owyhee snowpack raises irrigators’ hopes

- Total snowpack in Owyhee Basin at 144 percent of normal

Video highlights importance of Idaho agriculture

- An animated video produced by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture that tells the story of Idaho agriculture and highlights its importance to the state's economy is getting positive reviews from people involved with ag...

Feds tout farmer benefits of AgriMet weather stations

- The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is trying to inform more farmers about the potential usefulness of its AgriMet weather stations, which are located near irrigated cropland and can provide detailed weather information that can...

Study compares seed, foliar treatments on beet leafminer flies

- A three-year University of Idaho study found that foliar and seed treatments were equally effective when it comes to controlling leafminer flies in sugar beets. Under the right conditions, the flies can reduce sugar beet yi...

New administration could mean end of WOTUS rule

- A Trump administration might result in the Western water community getting some relief from over-regulation and onerous rules, says the head of the Idaho Water Users Association.

Study compares tillage methods for growing sugar beets

- A study has found that the use of different tillage practices had no major impact on the production of sugar beets.

Value of Idaho ag exports down 15 percent through third quarter

- The total value of Idaho farm products exported to other nations was down 14.9 percent during the third quarter of 2016 when compared with the same period last year.

Number of Idaho ag jobs projected to increase by several thousand through 2024

- Idaho's economy is expected to add about 4,000 farming-related jobs through 2024, according to Idaho Department of Labor projections.

Idaho’s second-quarter GDP gain driven by agriculture

- After declining in the first quarter of 2016, total gross domestic product from Idaho's farming sector increased in the second quarter. But it's down from the same quarter in 2015.

Conference to explore strip tillage and direct seeding of sugar beets

- Better management of crop inputs will be a main focus of the 2016 University of Idaho Snake River Sugar Beet Conference, which will be held Dec. 14 in Caldwell and Dec. 15 in Burley.

Republican rancher will chair Idaho House ag committee

- Rep. Judy Boyle, a Republican rancher from Midvale, has been chosen to chair the House Agricultural Affairs Committee. She takes over from former Rep. Ken Andrus, a Republican rancher from Lava Hot Springs who retired.

Final analysis recommends deregulation of GE bentgrass

- USDA has released a final environmental impact statement that recommends deregulation of a genetically engineered creeping bentgrass that escaped field trials in 2003 and has taken root in two Oregon counties.

Farm lobbyists to track several issues during 2017 Idaho Legislature

- The possibility of increased dyed diesel enforcement and changes to the state's field burning program are among the issues that Idaho Farm Bureau Federation officials will keep an eye on during the 2017 legislative session.

Olmstead named Idaho ag college assistant dean

- Milk Producers of Idaho Executive Director Brent Olmstead has been named the assistant dean for government and external relations at University of Idaho's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

Western Innovator: ‘A rancher fixing ranchers’ problems’

- As a rancher and Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission employee, southeast Idaho rancher Chris Banks has seen both sides of the fence when it comes to water and soil conversation efforts.

Wheat growers oppose dam breaching during public scoping meeting

- Wheat growers and members of other ag industries are being encouraged to participate in a public comment process and make their opinions known on the operation of the Columbia-Snake river system.

Farm Bureau leaders: Election results show power of rural America

- Idaho Farm Bureau Federation leaders pointed to the results of the recent national election to show IFBF members what can be accomplished when rural America makes its voice heard.

New lawmaker hopes to improve technology infrastructure in rural Idaho

- Improving technology infrastructure, exploring the transfer of federal lands to state management and curbing federal regulations are some of the top priorities for the new Idaho lawmakers who are farmers or ranchers.

Idaho ag industry happy with pick to lead experiment station

- Idaho farm industry leaders say they are happy that Mark McGuire has taken over as director of the Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station, which oversees the University of Idaho's nine research and extension centers.

Hunting stops growth in Idaho’s wolf population

- A Boise State University poll shows that Idahoans overwhelmingly support hunting wolves. Support for hunting as a wolf management tool was strong across all areas of the state.

Idaho Wheat Commission fully funds $1 million endowments

- Two $1 million research endowments created by the Idaho Wheat Commission in 2012 are now fully funded, five years ahead of schedule.

Expert: Dairymen should get ready for rising milk prices

- Milk prices are on their way up and will continue to climb over the next several years, an economist told Idaho dairymen during their annual convention.

U.S. sheep producers challenged to meet big goals

- A guest speaker at the West Central States Wool Growers Convention set some high goals for the sheep industry. Sheep growers who attended the annual meeting embraced his challenge and said they are optimistic about their in...

Dairy wins Idaho milk quality award for third time

- A southeastern Idaho dairy has won the state's milk quality award for the third time.

East Idaho producer inducted into Idaho Dairy Hall of Fame

- The owner of one of Idaho's smallest dairy operations, who has been involved with the industry for 62 years, has been inducted into the Idaho Dairy Hall of Fame.