Agriculture

Agriculture
6:40 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Alfalfa Growers Hope To Rake In More Green This Year

Drex Gauntt grows some of the earliest-harvested alfalfa in the Northwest near Burbank, Wash. Hay prices this year have him smiling.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Many Northwest alfalfa growers had a rough year with bad weather last summer.

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Policy
12:09 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Idaho Asks Judge To Toss Lawsuit On So-Called 'Ag-Gag' Law

Credit Ambersky235 / Flickr Creative Commons

Attorneys for Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging a new law that makes it illegal to secretly film animal abuse at agricultural facilities.

A coalition of animal activists, civil rights groups and others sued last month, asking U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill to strike down what they call an "ag gag" law. The coalition contends the law curtails freedom of speech and makes gathering proof of animal abuse a crime with a harsher punishment than the penalty for animal cruelty itself.

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Agriculture
9:32 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Idaho's Wine Industry Continues To Grow

Credit smcgee / Flickr

The executive director of the Idaho Wine Commission says the state is getting national attention for its wines.

Moya Dolsby credits a $400,000 annual budget funded through the state liquor tax and wine industry assessment as well as enthusiastic supporters.

Dolsby tells the Lewiston Tribune that she no longer has to beg restaurants and retailers to try Idaho wines.

The state's wine industry has grown from a single commercial winery in 1976 to 50 today.

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Agriculture
6:48 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Low Prices Prompt Northwest Asparagus Growers To Try To Delay Harvest

File photo
Anna King Northwest News Network

Northwest asparagus growers are just starting to harvest spears in the warmer sites around Pasco, Wash.

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Idaho Legislature
12:17 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Idaho Agriculture Industry Happy With 2014 Legislature

Credit UGA College of Ag / Flickr

Idaho's farmers, ranchers and producers say they're happy with the outcome of the 2014 Legislature.

The Capitol Press reports a lot of things went right for the agricultural industry during the 74-day session, where numerous industry-boosting bills found a foothold.

That included the Agriculture Security Act, a dairy-backed bill that punishes those who film agricultural operations, and is designed to protect farmers from spying activists.

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Lawsuit
5:47 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Lawsuits Charge 'Ag-Gag' Laws Violate Free Speech

The group Mercy for Animals released video in 2012 of workers at Bettencourt Dairy in Idaho abusing cows. The incident led Idaho lawmakers to outlaw surreptitious video at farms.
Mercy for Animals

A lawsuit led by the ACLU is challenging Idaho's brand new, so-called “ag-gag” law aimed at stopping undercover animal rights activists from making videos of abuse at farms and slaughter houses.

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Agriculture
10:12 am
Mon March 17, 2014

ACLU, PETA Sue Idaho Over New Law To Punish Animal Rights Activists

Credit Anna King / Northwest News Network

The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho, PETA and other groups are suing the state over a new measure that would prosecute people who secretly film agricultural operations. Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter signed the so-called 'ag-gag' bill into law at the end of February.

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Water
9:08 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Worried Washington Farmers Plead For Help To Water Fruit Trees

Becuase of the drawdown. this irrigation pipe for cherry orchards that lies four miles downstream from Rock Island Dam cannot reach water in the Wanapum pool.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 4:20 pm

In central Washington, state officials and farmers are scrambling to save orchards at risk of drying up because of a drawdown of the Columbia River.

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Idaho News
9:49 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Idaho Man Convicted Of Shooting At Crop Dusting Plane

Credit Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

A south-central Idaho man has been convicted of shooting at a crop duster.

The Twin Falls Times-News reports that a jury on Thursday found 42-year-old Christopher V. Lewis of Filer guilty of felony discharging a firearm at an aircraft.

Prosecutors say the pilot told police he saw someone holding a shotgun below him at about 10:45 a.m. on Aug. 24.

Authorities say that at about the same time, someone called the spraying company saying the pilot was flying too low over home and threatened to "dust the pilot with his 10-gauge shotgun."

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Agriculture
1:07 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Hummus Popularity Has Idaho, Washington Farmers Growing Huge Chickpea Crops

The rising popularity of hummus across the nation has been good for farmers like Aaron Flansburg.

Flansburg, who farms 1,900 acres amid the rolling hills of southeastern Washington, has been increasing the amount of the chickpeas used to make hummus by about one-third each year to take advantage of good prices and demand.

"I hope that consumption keeps increasing," he said.

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Agriculture
2:11 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Governor Otter Signs Idaho's 'Ag-Gag' Bill

Credit Mouldfish / Flickr Creative Commons

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed a bill threatening people who secretly film animal abuse at Idaho's agricultural facilities with jail and fines.

Otter inked the new law Friday, two days after it cleared its final hurdle in the House.

Otter, a rancher, said the measure promoted by the dairy industry "is about agriculture producers being secure in their property and their livelihood."

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Policy
10:58 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Chobani CEO Urges Gov. Otter To Veto Idaho's 'Ag-Gag' Bill

Credit Provisions / Flickr Creative Commons

Food processing heavyweight Chobani is urging Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to veto a bill that would make penalties stricter for animal rights activists caught secretly filming Idaho agriculture facilities.

Chobani, which operates a huge Greek yogurt facility in Twin Falls, buys its milk from Idaho dairymen. In a press release, Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya says if passed, the measure would limit transparency.

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Agriculture
6:03 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Northwest Wine Industry Matures With Appellation Milestones

The Walla Walla appellation will mark their 30 year anniversary in March.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Many of the distinct wine grape growing regions in the Northwest are celebrating 30 years since the federal government recognized them as appellations -- or distinct growing areas.

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Idaho Legislature
8:41 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Idaho Bill Banning Secret Video Of Farms Moves Ahead

U.S. Agricultural Research Service

A measure that seeks to bar animal rights activists from making undercover video in Idaho dairies is moving ahead in the state House.

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Agriculture
8:25 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Idaho Farm Profits Up, Number Of Farms Continues To Fall

In 2012, crops accounted for $3.4 billion dollars of Idaho's ag sector. Livestock and related products totaled $4.3 billion.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The value of Idaho’s agriculture products grew from $5.7 billion to $7.8 billion between 2007 and 2012. That’s according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA.) It released preliminary results from its Census of Agriculture Thursday.  The USDA provides the update every five years and the latest covers 2012.  

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Gardening
4:15 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Author To Offer Tips On Creating Sustainable Gardens In A Dry Climate

Credit Toby Hemenway

Home gardeners are often frustrated by Idaho’s dry climate. Finding the plants best suited for your garden is not always easy. Toby Hemenway is an author who teaches and writes about permaculture and sustainable gardens and he’s coming to Boise.

“Rather than try to learn permaculture from a theoretical point of view, or try to understand it all, it’s a lot easier to just get involved in one aspect of it,” Hemenway says.

He says water conservation is an easy, gateway into learning permaculture.

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Idaho Legislature
5:56 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Disputed 'Ag Gag' Bill Advances In House Committee

Credit Mouldfish / Flickr Creative Commons

Lawmakers voted to send a bill blocking activists from secretly filming agricultural operations in hopes of capturing abuse on camera forward to full House debate.

The 13-1 vote came Thursday after the House Agricultural Affairs Committee heard testimony from dozens of farmers and animal rights supporters.

The Senate has already backed the measure, 23-10.

The bill, backed by Idaho's dairy industry, would slap those who sneak onto farms or get access under false pretenses to film animal abuse with fines and up to a year in jail.

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Idaho Legislature
1:03 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Disputed 'Ag Gag Bill' Advances In Idaho Senate

Credit Mingerspice / Flickr Creative Commons

Dairy farmers enraged by spying animal-rights activists got a boost when senators agreed to intensify punishments for those who film their operations without permission.

Idaho's Senate voted 23-10 Friday to put people caught surreptitiously recording agricultural operations in jail and fine them $5,000.

The bill now goes to the House.

This measure stems from a 2012 incident at an Idaho dairy where activists captured images of workers caning, beating and stomping on cows.

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Business
6:45 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Walla Walla Winemakers Go On Tour To Promote The Region

Wine barrels at Russell Creek WInery in Walla Walla, Wash.
Tom Carmony Flickr

The Northwest wine industry has matured to the point where certain regions are trying to set their wines apart -- think the Willamette Valley pinots, or Columbia Valley cabs.

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Business
5:15 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Applesauce-Maker GoGo SqueeZ To Open Idaho Facility Creating 230 Jobs

Credit TheImpulsiveBuy / Flickr Creative Commons

Applesauce-maker GoGo squeeZ says it plans to open an $85 million food processing facility in Nampa, Idaho that will employ at least 230 people.

The Idaho Department of Commerce announced the company's Idaho investment in a press release Thursday.

The Idaho Statesman reports the average wage at the new facility will be $16 an hour, more than double Idaho's minimum wage.

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