By SEAN ELLIS
NAMPA, Idaho -- A major snowstorm in Idaho's Treasure Valley created icy and treacherous road conditions Jan. 10, but it didn't stop several hundred people from attending the Idaho Irrigation Equipment Show and Conference.
"Given the weather conditions, I'm ecstatic about the turnout," said event organizer Tondee Clark, who estimated turnout was about average for the annual event hosted by the Idaho Irrigation Equipment Association.
The all-day event, which showcases the latest products and information in the irrigation industry, included 66 booths, up from 56 last year. Clark attributed that increase to a lot of new products by irrigation equipment manufacturers, dealers and distributors of agricultural irrigation products.
"Our irrigation companies are always developing new products and they want to show those products to their customers," she said.
The event included free classes in which industry representatives educated people on many topics, including proper winterization methods to prevent broken sprinklers, water design efficiency, basic pump sizing, drip irrigation systems for several western Idaho crops and pesticide hazards.
During the conference, Natural Resources Conservation Service Water Supply Specialist Ron Abramovich said overall snowpack levels in Idaho are close to average but they're extremely variable depending on what part of the state you're in.
For example, a handful of sites above 7,000 feet in central Idaho reported record high snow water content levels in December while neighboring lower elevation sites reported near record lows.
"We have record high and record low snowpacks," he said. "It's a very unique snowpack we've built this year. Nothing comes close to this one so far."