Farmers' market training offered

BOISE -- The Idaho State Department of Agriculture is partnering with the University of Idaho Extension to provide farmers' market training this month.

A workshop will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Ada County weed and pest building in Meridian, Idaho.

Training will be provided in the areas of marketing, promotion and business planning. Break-out sessions will address topics specific to market managers and vendors.

"Consumers are increasingly looking for new options to purchase fresh local products directly from the farmer and truly enjoy supporting local businesses in these current economic times," ISDA trade specialist Lacey Menasco said.

For more information call Menasco at 208-332-8538, or lacey.menasco@agri.idaho.gov.

Wolves didn't bring tapeworms

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Idaho's wildlife agency wants to set the record straight: Tapeworms were in Idaho long before wolves were transplanted, and they only rarely infect people.

On Feb. 8, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game sent out a press release in response to a flurry of letters to local newspapers blaming the predators for introducing the quarter-inch tapeworms known as Echinococcus granulosus.

In fact, this tapeworm is endemic to most sheep-raising areas of the world and has been found in elk, mule deer and wolves in Idaho since at least 2006.

But they aren't new: Cysts formed by the tapeworm larva were found in domestic sheep from Idaho that were sent to California for slaughter in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Bill takes on employers who hire illegal workers

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- The third bill of the 2010 session to take on employers who knowingly hire illegal workers emerged in the Idaho Legislature.

This measure, introduced by Reps. Raul Labrador and Phil Hart on Tuesday in the House State Affairs Committee, includes provisions to suspend a business's license for up to a year.

Unlike a bill introduced earlier by Sen. Mike Jorgenson, however, their measure wouldn't require employers to use the federal E-Verify system to check if an employee is legal.

But using the system would be an absolute defense against prosecution, should an employee be found without appropriate documentation.

Currently, such employment violations are under federal jurisdiction.

But Hart says the state should intervene, because U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents aren't doing their jobs as well as they should be.

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