Agriculture

Agriculture
9:44 am
Mon July 28, 2014

USDA Approves Emergency Grazing In Eastern Idaho

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved emergency haying and grazing on land normally used for the Conservation Reserve Program in parts of eastern Idaho.

Officials in Bingham, Bonneville, Fremont, Madison and Power counties requested the emergency access because of drought and crop damage. The USDA's Farm Service Agency in Idaho announced Monday that the requests were approved.

The emergency haying is allowed through the end of August, and participants must leave at least half of each field unhayed for wildlife. The hay can't be sold.

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Agriculture
2:44 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Twin Falls Haystack Bursts Into Flames; Will Burn For A Week

Hay, like this field, can spontaneously burst into flames if not stacked with care.
Credit Nikos Koutoulas / Flickr

Firefighters say nearly $100,000 of alfalfa went up in flames Thursday after a large stack spontaneously combusted in Twin Falls.

Rock Creek Fire District spokesman Taylor Hunsaker says the stack, which was made of 480 tons of hay, will burn for almost a week.

Craig Giles, who grew the alfalfa, says he hired a custom operator to bale it. He says the bales were stacked with enough distance between them to allow moisture and heat to escape.

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Water
7:02 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Farmers Urge EPA To 'Ditch' Proposed Clean Water Act Revisions

Angela Bailey farms decorative trees and shrubs near Gresham, Oregon.

Water is a common and often contentious issue in the West. But now, farmers across the country are also riled up because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to revise the 1972 Clean Water Act.

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Policy
12:04 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Why Idaho May Have Trouble Defending Its 'Ag-Gag' Law

Credit jennie-o / Flickr Creative Commons

On Wednesday a federal judge hears arguments on Idaho’s new “ag gag” law, which creates stiff punishments for people who surreptitiously video or photograph agricultural operations.

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Agriculture
6:27 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Northwest Wheat Harvest Could Be Down This Summer

Farmers in Oregon, Idaho and Washington are expected to harvest less wheat this summer. The weather forecast has a lot to do with it.

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Policy
2:24 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Dairymen Denied Joining Idaho's Ag-Gag Lawsuit

Credit MHall209 / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal judge has denied a request by the Idaho Dairymen's Association to join Idaho in defending the recently passed law criminalizing surreptitious recording at agriculture facilities.

The Times-News reports that U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill shot down the request Monday. Winmill said in his ruling that the state can represent the dairymen's interests without the group getting involved.

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Agriculture
7:35 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

New Organic Fertilizer Less Smelly, More Popular With Farm Workers

Alan Schreiber is an organic and research farmer. He’s testing a new better-smelling organic liquid fertilizer at his farm near Eltopia, Washington.

When you think organic, you probably visualize fresh, sweet-smelling fruits and vegetables. But what makes that delicious organic produce grow?

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Agriculture
11:42 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Idaho Milk Processing Company To Pay $170,000 Fine

Credit Michael_McCullough / Flickr Creative Commons

A south-central Idaho milk processing company has agreed to pay a $170,000 fine for dumping wastewater with acidity levels high enough to damage Jerome's wastewater treatment plant.

The Times-News reports that the Environmental Protection Agency announced the agreement with Idaho Milk Products in a statement on Monday.

The agency says the company between March 2009 and July 2012 exceeded its acidity limit 138 times.

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Agriculture
4:07 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Washington's Third-Largest Cherry Crop Queued-Up This Season

File photo

Northwest sweet cherry growers say this season they'll likely pick their third-largest haul ever -- 20 million boxes.

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Agriculture
9:49 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Farms In Northwest Fewer In Numbers, But Bigger And More Valuable

File photo of calves at a dairy operation in southern Idaho.

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 7:00 pm

According to newly-released data from the USDA's agricultural census, the number of farms in the Northwest is dropping.

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Agriculture
4:11 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

High Milk, Beef Prices Spur A Northwest Cattle Rush

Dean Hibbs, with All West Select Sires, could be called the date doctor for dairy and beef cows. He’s tallying their traits and seeing which bull might be the best match to produce the highest-quality dairy calf.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 11:24 am

We’ve all heard of the Western Gold Rush. But how about the Northwest cattle rush?

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Agriculture
10:20 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Idaho Dairymen's Group Asks To Join In 'Ag-Gag' Lawsuit

Credit Will Merydith / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho Dairymen's Association is asking a federal judge to intervene in a lawsuit challenging a new law that makes it illegal to secretly film animal abuse at agricultural facilities.

The industry group filed a motion to become a defendant in the lawsuit late last week.

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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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