One Drought, Two Idaho Farmers, Very Different Outcomes

Aug 21, 2012

Some of Idaho’s most fertile farm ground has been hit by the drought that’s crippling crops nationwide.  Farmers who have deep wells and irrigation are faring well.  Those who don’t aren’t.  It’s one indication of the very different economics of dry-land and irrigated farming.

Not long ago, farmer Hans Hayden stood at the edge of his drought-withered spring wheat field, and described how it should look at this time of year. “It should be twice this tall,” he said.  “It would actually look like a wheat field!  At this point in time it kind of looks like a desert.”

Not far away, farmer Jim Tiede marveled at his own beautiful crop.  Looking out at it, Tiede had a different note in his voice: one of barely contained glee.  “You spend all year babying it and pampering it and watering it and fertilizing it just right and now’s the payday!” he said, chuckling.  Click here to continue reading...