Sean Ellis

Boise, Idaho, Reporter
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Researcher studies alternative crops, organics

- Bill Buhrig, a crop agent with Oregon State University's Malheur County extension office in Ontario, didn't have to travel far when he took the job. He was born in Ontario and was already closely linked with the local farmi...

Oregon farmers stunned to see wolf in Malheur County wheat field

- Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials confirmed that a lone wolf has been hanging around Adrian in Eastern Oregon for more than a week. It is believed to be the first wolf that has spent more than just a brief mo...

Dozens view first legal UAV ag flight in Southern Idaho

- The first legal commercial flight of an unmanned aerial vehicle for agricultural purposes in Southern Idaho took place April 22 at Bitner Vineyards near Caldwell. Representatives of several Idaho farm commodities were on ha...

Idaho lawmakers approve rule lifting elk import restriction

- Idaho lawmakers have approved a rule that will lift certain import restrictions on domestic elk. The rule was supported by commercial elk breeders but opposed by sportmen's groups.

Idaho ag fared well during 2015 legislative session

- The 2015 Idaho Legislature was a relatively quiet one for agriculture but the industry fared well on the issues that did surface, according to farm sector leaders.

Increased dyed diesel enforcement looms in Idaho

- Idaho lawmakers intend to discuss greater enforcement of the state's dyed fuel laws next year.

University of Idaho ag school open to partnering with BYU

- John Foltz, dean of University of Idaho's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, met with more than 30 people in Caldwell April 16 during an informal "coffee with the dean" meeting. Foltz said UI would be open to partne...

Owyhee Irrigation District farmers face another tough year

- The Owyhee Irrigation District has set the 2015 water allotment for its irrigation customers at 1.5 acre-feet and this year's water supply situation could be as bad and maybe worse than last year.

Idaho receives fewer applications for specialty crop funds

- The Idaho State Department of Agriculture received 22 requests for specialty crop grant funds this year, 16 fewer than last year's record number.

Potato growers plead for help with PCN regulations

- Potato growers in a federal quarantine area near Shelley, Idaho, have asked lawmakers for help from what they say are overly burdensome and mostly unnecessary regulations.

Southwestern Idaho water supply ‘marginally adequate’

- Treasure Valley water supply managers say the 2015 season is shaping up to be adequate for most irrigators in Southwest Idaho but that could change if natural river flows don't hold up.

Good Friday freeze worries orchard managers in SW Idaho

- Fruit orchards in Southwestern Idaho may have weathered a severe cold snap last November better than they had feared, but now they're more concerned about the impacts of an April 3 freeze.

Idaho’s 2014 farm wage beat national average

- Idaho's average and median wages were well below the national average in 2014 but they were higher when it comes to farm labor.

Commission delays decision on proposed Idaho ethanol facility

- A decision on a requested conditional use permit to build an ethanol facility in Southwestern Idaho has been delayed until May 5. Canyon County commissioners said the issue is important and complex and they need more time t...

Idaho farm sector posted big rise in personal income in 2014

- Personal income in Idaho increased at one of the fastest rates in the country last year and the gains were partly driven by a large increase in farm income. However, 2015 is shaping up to be a different story.

Eight candidates vie for Idaho ag school dean

- The list of candidates seeking to become the next University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences dean has been narrowed from 25 to eight.

Farm groups help halt proposals to increase fee on dyed fuel

- Idaho farm groups appear to have beaten back a proposal that would have increased a fee on dyed diesel and used the money for road maintenance.

Idaho cottage food bills will not advance in 2015

- There will be no cottage food bill passed in the Idaho Legislature this year. However, cottage food supporters will be able to weigh in on the issue during a series of meetings that will be held around the state beginning A...

Wolf control board money helped decrease depredations in 2014

- Money from a new wolf depredation control board helped keep Idaho wolf depredations down last year, according to several sources.

2015 could be a break-even year for Idaho dairy farmers

- During a presentation to lawmakers by United Dairymen of Idaho officials, most of the questions from legislators centered around Fairlife, a new premium milk product being distributed by the Coca-Cola Co.

Idaho hop acres expected to increase by almost 1,100

- Idaho hop acres are expected to be up almost 1,100 acres this year, which would be a 29 percent increase over the 2014 total.

New Idaho rules relax import restrictions on livestock

- The Idaho Legislature has approved two pending rules that would relax import restrictions on some livestock. Idaho State Department of Agriculture officials said the new rules would still ensure herd health is protected.

Bill grants livestock producers capital gains tax deduction

- A bill that has passed the Idaho Legislature would ensure that partners in a livestock operation are treated the same as other industries when it comes to a state tax deduction for capital gains.

Idaho ag groups weigh in on transportation funding plans

- Idaho farm groups are being asked to weigh in on the debate about increasing transportation funding, an issue that has recently heated up in the Idaho Legislature.

Idaho grain, cattle producers agree on ‘open range’ plan

- Groups representing Idaho grain and cattle producers have developed a plan they hope will help settle open range disagreements at the local rather than state level.

Hearing on Idaho Ag Security Act lawsuit set for April 28

- A hearing on plaintiffs' motion for summary judgement in the federal lawsuit against Idaho's Agricultural Security Act is scheduled for April 28 in Boise.

PCN-affected spud growers plead their case to Idaho lawmakers

- Potato growers from East Idaho who are regulated under a federal pale cyst nematode eradication program told lawmakers March 17 they need help dealing with the regulations, which they said are over-reaching and unfair.

Idaho lawmakers OK $200,000 for sheep station

- The USDA's sheep experiment station near Dubois, Idaho, which is targeted for closure, will receive $200,000 in ongoing state funding. Supporters say it's a message to the USDA that Idaho supports the continued operation of...

Bad water situation in Eastern Oregon getting worse

- The 2015 water supply situation for Eastern Oregon farmers who get their water from the Owyhee Irrigation District could be worse than in 2014, which was one of the worst water supply years in the project's history.

Idaho cottage foods bill sent back to House committee

- A bill that would set statewide standards for Idaho's cottage food producers has been sent back to committee and could be dead for this year.

2015 water supply outlook for SW Idaho still not settled

- Water supply managers in Southwestern Idaho are tentatively expecting that farmers in the region will have an adequate amount of irrigation water this year.

Idaho House, Senate split on proposed elk importation rule

- A pending Idaho rule that would allow the importation of commercial elk from states where meningeal worm is endemic is on the ropes in the Idaho Legislature. Lawmakers are one vote away from either accepting or denying the ...

Bill would allow Boise irrigators to fund cloud seeding efforts

- A bill working its way through the Idaho Legislature would allow water districts to use money collected from user assessments to fund cloud seeding efforts.

East Oregon ag worried about proposed minimum wage hike

- Agribusinesses and farmers in Eastern Oregon say they would be hard-pressed to absord the extra labor costs that a significant increase in the state's minimum wage would bring. Some say they would consider crossing the bord...

Idaho barley industry emerges from 2014 losses in healthy condition

- Despite sustaining $60 million to $70 milion worth of damage from heavy August rains in 2014, Idaho still led the nation in total barley production last year.

Idaho cottage food bill advances despite scrutiny

- A bill that would set standards for Idaho's cottage food producers faced some tough questioning during a public hearing but has been sent to the House floor with a "do-pass" recommendation.

Owyhee Project water supply outlook worsens

- Hopes for a near-normal water season for farmers in Eastern Oregon who get their water from the Owyhee Project have all but faded.

Customers remain committed to Idaho wheat despite 2014 losses

- The Idaho wheat industry's main customers have told Idaho Wheat Commission officials they remain committed to the state despite major losses in 2014 due to heavy August rains.

Some of Idaho fruit crop was damaged by November cold snap

- Record low temperatures in November have caused damage to Idaho's fruit crop, but the extent of the damage won't be known until May or June.

SY Ovation top wheat variety planted in Idaho, survey shows

- SY Ovation was the most planted wheat variety in Idaho in 2014, according to an annual Idaho Wheat Commission survey. Brundage and ORCF 102 were second and third.

Cutting-edge technology boosts precision

- New University of Idaho researcher Olga Walsh is focusing on developing ways to use precision agriculture techniques to help farmers improve the efficiency of their crop production.

Idaho House panel supports federal policy for GMO labeling

- An Idaho House committee has approved a joint memorial that asks Congress and the Food and Drug Administration to establish a national policy on the labeling of foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients.

Bill sets guidelines, standards for Idaho’s cottage food industry

- A bill introduced in the Idaho Legislature would set guidelines for the state's cottage food industry. It would define the industry and set safety standards for those who sell limited amounts of food produced in their home ...