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Forum to highlight ag in Canyon County

Sean Ellis

Capital Press

The important role agriculture plays in Canyon County's economy will be highlighted Feb. 26 during an inaugral Ag Forum in Nampa.

NAMPA, Idaho — The inaugural 2014 Ag Forum will become an annual event that highlights the important role agriculture plays in Canyon County, organizers say.

The Feb. 26 event is sponsored by the Nampa Chamber of Commerce, which thought it was important to remind local residents and businesses how important farming is to their county, said chamber president and CEO Debbie Kling.

“Part of the goal is to raise the visibility of agriculture and (highlight) how important it is to our local communities,” she said. “It’s extremely important to our area.”

There are almost 2,400 farms in Canyon County, far more than any other county in Idaho, and they produce about $420 million annually in cash receipts.

Though small in size compared to other Idaho counties, Canyon County farmers produce about 140 different agricultural commodities.

Agriculture is the lifeblood of Canyon County and people need to be reminded of that fact, said Linda Ramsey, chairman of the Nampa-Caldwell Agribusiness Committee, which is helping support the event.

“We want to reach as many people as we can and bring them up to speed on what is happening in agriculture in this area,” she said.

The forum will take place from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at the Nampa Civic Center and will feature a presentation by Michael Swanson, an agricultural economist and consultant for Wells Fargo, one of the largest commercial agricultural lenders in the United States.

Based in Minnesota, Swanson’s responsibilities include analyzing the impact energy has on agriculture, forecasting for key agricultural commodities and performing macroeconomic and international analysis of ag production and agribusiness.

The forum will include a special presentation by Idaho State Department of Agriculture Director Celia Gould, as well as updates on ag and water related issues pending in the Idaho Legislature.

“The main emphasis of the event is educating the businesses here on how important agriculture is in this valley,” said NCAC Chairman Don Ogawa, a seed technologist with Crookham Seed Co.

Kling said the chamber plans to make the forum an annual event and grow it each year.

A main focus of the forum will be to inspire students to become involved in the farming industry, she said.

“We want to inspire them to be involved in agriculture and better understand the future they can have in the industry,” she said. “Agriculture and agribusiness take on so many different faces and there is tremendous opportunities within those fields.”

For more information about the forum or to purchase tickets, call the NCOC at (208) 466-4641 or e-mail dcallaham@nampa.com



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