Sean Ellis

Boise, Idaho, Reporter
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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.

Caldwell business people learn about area’s agriculture

- Members of the Caldwell business community got a closer look at some of the challenges the state’s farming industry faces Oct 10 during a panel discussion by farm industry leaders.

Oregon-Idaho bulb onion crop smaller, but prices are much higher

- A 50-pound bag of jumbo yellow onions is selling for $10 to $11, nearly twice the price of a year ago.

Chickpea acreage continues to soar, with prices ticking up

- U.S. acreage totaled 603,000 in 2017, up from 325,000 in 2016.

Dairy cow delivers pizzas to shocked customers

- The annual event is a way for the state’s dairy industry to help bring the farm to consumers in a fun and unforgettable way, according to Dairy West officials.

Idaho bean growers racing weather to bring in crop

- Idaho’s 2017 dry bean crop looks good so far but recent rainstorms and a hard frost have some growers and dealers concerned about the remaining crop still in the field.

Idaho high school re-starts its ag education program after 50-year pause

- Caldwell High School, located in Idaho’s sixth largest city, has restarted its ag education program and farm industry members are promising to help it grow.

Bureau will ask water board to help fund water storage study

- The Idaho Water Resource Board, water users and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials continue to explore ways to add more water storage capacity on the Boise River system.

Farmers owed millions after collapse of Farmers Grain

- Dozens of farmers and other ag-related businesses in Eastern Oregon and southwestern Idaho are owed millions of dollars after the financial collapse of Farmers Grain, a Nyssa, Ore., grain brokerage that is now in Chapter 7 ...

FDA proposes extending water rule compliance dates

- Farmers covered by FDA’s new produce safety rule could have at least another four years before having to comply with the rule’s water testing requirements.

Idaho pulse crop yields way down; chickpea acreage up

- Chickpea acreage in Idaho was up significantly this year but acreage for lentils, dry edible peas and Austrian winter peas were down.

Treasure Valley irrigators wind down one of best water years ever

- Near-record snowpack in the Boise River basin supplied southwestern Idaho irrigators with a full supply of water this year and it will also ensure they have a large amount of carryover they can use during the 2018 growing s...

Idaho’s 2017 wine grape crop takes a big hit

- Idaho’s main wine grape growing region was hammered by a January cold spell and vineyard owners and managers expect this year’s crop to be down significantly as a result.

Idaho ag department helping farmers navigate FSMA regs

- Idaho’s agriculture department is offering on-farm readiness reviews, training courses, online tools and other resources to help farmers know whether they are ready to meet the requirements of the FDA’s new fo...

Idaho wheat crop one of ‘best’ ever

- Although total Idaho wheat production in 2017 is down 9 percent from last year and 5 percent from the five-year average, growers and industry leaders are reporting excellent overall quality.

Taiwanese wheat purchases keep 200 Idaho and 800 PNW farms in business

- Taiwan’s annual purchases of U.S. wheat support about 200 farms in Idaho and 800 farms in the Pacific Northwest, according to Idaho Wheat Commission estimates. The IWC also estimates that 5 percent, or 5 million bush...

Idaho bean, seed groups to seek legislation to protect crops from soybean diseases

- Groups representing Idaho’s dry bean and seed industries will ask legislators in 2018 to approve two pieces of legislation they believe could help prevent soybean seed from bringing in diseases that could harm the st...

Decision expected soon on proposed Galloway dam project

- The Idaho Water Resource Board expects to make a decision in the next several months on whether to proceed with a proposed new dam and reservoir that would add 700,000 acre-feet of storage capacity on the Weiser River system.

Researchers take aim at soil-borne diseases in bulb onions

- A research project supported by a $109,000 specialty crop grant seeks to help onion growers in southwestern Idaho and East Oregon develop best management practices for controlling soil-borne diseases in bulb onions. These d...

Treasure Valley districts will have good amount of ‘carryover’ water

- Irrigation districts in southwestern Idaho and Eastern Oregon will end this water season with an above-normal amount of carryover water that can be used for the 2018 growing season.

Ag committee chairs push Idaho farm commission leaders to talk about challenges

- When the directors of Idaho farm commissions present before the Idaho House and Senate ag committees, they’ll be encouraged to do a better job communicating the issues and challenges their members are facing.

Much of SW Idaho’s fruit crop decimated by January cold snap

- A cold snap that brought temperatures as low as 23 degrees below zero has reduced the region’s fruit and grape crop. Apple and almond trees do best.

Idaho farm income estimates closely match USDA numbers

- An annual estimate of total Idaho farm cash receipts and net farm income that is used to help set state budgets was remarkably close to USDA’s official numbers this year. The estimates by University of Idaho agricult...

Idaho farmers lead the West in per capita farm receipts

- Idaho farmers generated far more farm cash receipts per Idahoan than any other Western state in 2016.

Idaho wine industry grant goes to better educate growers, vintners

- The Idaho Wine Commission will use a specialty crop grant to try to increase the expertise of the state’s wine industry by providing additional educational opportunities.

Elected officials, media get up-close look at ag

- A day-long tour of farm country in southwestern Idaho provided elected officials, other community leaders and the media an in-depth look at agriculture.

Idaho Wine Commission gets grant to boost marketing

- The Idaho Wine Commission’s ongoing marketing and promotion efforts received a boost this year.

Northwest farmland values continue to increase

- The average value of cropland in Idaho, Oregon and Washington is on the rise this year, while around the nation it’s unchanged from 2016.

Agriculture’s importance to Idaho continues to grow

- Agriculture directly and indirectly accounted for 16 percent of Idaho’s total Gross Domestic Product in 2014, up from 14 percent in 2012, according to a University of Idaho report.

Onion industry scrambles to rebuild damaged facilities

- Some of the onion storage sheds in Idaho and Oregon that collapsed under the weight of snow and ice this winter won’t be rebuilt before this year’s harvest begins in earnest. But yields are expected to be down...

Planning for onion rail transload facility off to a good start

- With the Idaho-Oregon onion industry facing chronic transportation issues, a planned rail transload facility in Malheur County, Oregon, can’t come soon enough, industry leaders say. The facility is expected to lower ...

Multi-state specialty crop grant program has $7 million for this year

- The two-year-old USDA multi-state specialty crop grant program has proved to be popular.