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Commission pushes Idaho dry bean fee hike

Sean Ellis
The Idaho Bean Commission plans to increase the state's dry bean assessment fee, IBC members told growers and other industry representatives Feb. 12. The increase is needed to help fund a $1 million endowment with the University of Idaho.

NAMPA, Idaho — The Idaho Bean Commission is moving forward with a plan to increase Idaho’s dry bean tax from 12 cents to 24 cents per hundredweight.

The current assessment fee is 8 cents per hundredweight for growers and 4 cents for bean dealers. The money generated by the assessment, about $200,000 a year, is used to fund the commission’s research, promotion and education efforts.

The commission plans to increase both the grower and dealer assessment fees to 12 cents each.

Much of the money generated from the increase would be used to fund a $1 million IBC endowment with the University of Idaho that will fund bean research in the state of Idaho.

Some of it could also be used to help fund a potential regional bean research program being discussed by public and private entities in Idaho, Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming

IBC members plan to ask Idaho lawmakers in 2015 for permission to increase the assessment and, if it’s approved, the increase would be effective later that year.

IBC Chairman Doug Carlquist, a farmer from Eden, told about 200 growers and other industry folks Feb. 12 that commissioners want input from growers on the plan.

“Without grower support, this will not go forward,” he said during the 2014 Treasure Valley Bean School.

Based on average yields, growers’ portion of the increase would equal an additional 96 cents an acre, up from $1.92 now.

Carlquist said the decision to fund the endowment and increase the bean tax was made after a lengthy discussion about the best way to move the industry forward and ensure bean research occurs in Idaho forever.

“We came to the conclusion that it was important for us to establish a long-term relationship with the University of Idaho,” he said.

IBC commissioner Don Tolmie said reduced federal funding for research has resulted in research funding for land-grant universities being pared down as a result.

“We as an industry are going to have to step up to the plate if we’re going to continue to have research funds available for our universities,” he said.

The endowment is contingent on the IBC receiving permission from lawmakers to raise the assessment.

Tolmie said the proposal is to keep the bean tax at 24 cents for four years until the endowment is fully funded. Then it would drop back down to the 16- to 18-cent range.

The current 12 cent amount is not sufficient to fund the IBC’s promotion, education and research efforts, he said.

The tax hasn’t been raised since 1992 and the commission would need to raise the assessment to 20 cents just to maintain the purchasing power that money had in 1992, said IBC Administrator Lacey Menasco.

Because of the decreased purchasing power of that money, “the ability of the commission to fund research and promotion efforts has decreased significantly,” Carlquist said.

Comments can be submitted at the IBC website at www.bean.idaho.gov



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