Agriculture

cows
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.

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

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

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

cow, dairy, calves
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.

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

cow
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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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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