BOISE — Six people were honored for their contributions to Idaho agriculture Feb. 18 during the annual Larry Branen Idaho Ag Summit.
Governor’s awards for excellence in agriculture were presented to five people by Lt. Gov. Brad Little, a Gem County rancher.
“These awards epitomize what’s taking place in Idaho,” he told about 200 people attending the summit, which is organized and sponsored by multiple farm-related groups. “It’s incredible what is taking place in our industry.”
Nampa farmer Robert McKellip received a governor’s award for technical innovation for being the first farmer in the area to use a drip irrigation system for multiple crops.
He placed the nation’s first mint field under a drip system in 2012 and it resulted in a 33 percent increase in crop yield, according to his award biography. University of Idaho’s Parma research station has set up a model based on his system in its mint plots.
Sheep and cattle rancher John Faulkner of Gooding County received a lifetime achievement award. According to his biography, the family’s ranching operation includes potatoes, hay, grain and corn and does custom farming work for several dairies.
Faulkner has served on multiple cattle and range associations.
Craig Corbett, a grain producer from Grace, was awarded for marketing innovation. He has served as a risk management advisor to the Idaho Barley Commission and has taught advanced grain marketing and risk management strategies as an unpaid consultant since 2000, according to his biography.
A new barley crop insurance product he designed in 2006 was adopted as a federally subsidized insurance policy by USDA’s Risk Management Agency in 2010. The policy was pioneered in Idaho but is now available in all barley-producing states.
Neil Rimbey, a range economist, received an award for environmental stewardship. He is involved in major research and extension programs dealing with public lands grazing and has helped producers develop marketing strategies.
He has also served on several industry advisory groups and helped train BLM personnel from 1996-2002.
Dan Sample, who manages his family farm in Star, was awarded for his agricultural education and advocacy efforts, which include supporting FFA and 4-H programs over the years.
University of Idaho agricultural economist Paul Patterson was presented the Pat Takasugi Leadership Award for his contributions to the growth and development of Idaho agriculture.
The award was established in 2012 in honor of Takasugi, who served as the director of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture for 10 years and passed away in 2011.
John Foltz, dean of UI’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, said Patterson “has made major contributions to the economic sustainability of Idaho agriculture through his rigorous economic analyses and extensive dissemination of credible and relevant information to the agricultural sector….”
Foltz said one of Patterson’s biggest contributions to the Idaho farming industry is the in-depth surveys he conducts “to produce unbiased, third-party data on potato costs of production and how costs change from year to year.”