Idaho tour

Stewart Dairy, near Nampa, was among the stops on a congressional aides’ tour of southwestern Idaho.

A southwest Idaho agricultural tour for congressional aides succeeded to the extent that organizers plan to replicate it next year in another part of the state.

Idaho Sugarbeet Growers Association Executive Director Brad Griff, former staffer for Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, coordinated the Aug. 12-16 tour with help from the nonprofit Leadership Idaho Agriculture Foundation and commodity and farm organizations.

Next year’s location is yet to be selected, but one good candidate is the ag-heavy Magic Valley, Griff said. Northern and eastern Idaho have hosted similar tours in the past.

“Our goal is to provide an overview of the diversity of crops in Idaho,” he said. “We hope it goes for many, many years.”

Organizers also hope the tour, held during the August recess of Congress, will include more staffers from Capitol Hill.

The tour’s mission is education rather than lobbying, per House ethics rules.

“We wanted them to get off the bus and into the field, and experience the different commodities up close and personal,” said Griff, who, as a congressional staffer participated in similar tours. “Once they come, experience and live in agriculture, they walk away with an understanding and appreciation for the issues and challenges facing the industry.”

Speakers at pre- and post-tour events included Idaho Gov. Brad Little and state Agriculture Director Celia Gould.

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