Agriculture

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.  

Toby Hemenway
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.

Cows
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.

Cow
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.

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.

Materne, GoGo Squeez
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.

cow
Ambersky235 / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho's $2.5 billion dairy industry wants to put people who film their operations surreptitiously in jail for up to a year, a bid to block animal-rights groups from spying on farms in hopes of catching animal cruelty on tape.

Sen. Jim Patrick of Twin Falls Thursday introduced the measure on the heels of videos produced in 2012 by a group at one of Idaho's largest dairies documenting cows being beaten.

If the measure passes, anybody who enters an agricultural production facility without permission and records operations could face a year behind bars and a $5,000 fine.

Northwest farmers call him “the weather man.” And at a farming conference in Spokane, he offered a reason for them to be optimistic about the upcoming season.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s senators Tuesday sided with a majority of their colleges to pass the revamped farm bill. It now goes to President Obama for a signature. Both Idaho senators had said they were undecided in the days leading up to the vote.

drought, field, agriculture
Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

Growers of sugar beets and potatoes in eight counties along southern Idaho's Snake River could be in jeopardy after a fish hatchery's complaint it isn't getting its fair share of water.

Idaho Department of Water Resources' director Gary Spackman signed an order Wednesday telling 2,300 water-right holders they'll have to shut down irrigation if they can't reach a compromise with Rangen Inc, a Hagerman-based fish farm.

CompassioninWorldFarming / Flickr

Idaho’s Republican delegation in the U.S. House voted early Wednesday in favor of the new farm bill. Rep. Raul Labrador and Rep. Mike Simpson cast votes in favor of the legislation, which cuts more than $8 billion in food stamp spending while ending a direct subsidy to crop farmers. It also expands crop insurance programs backed by the federal government.

Northwest farmers are trying to get into the business of biofuels.

Wheat Field
JayneAndd / Flickr Creative Commons

Direct payments from the government to Idaho farmers and ranchers dropped 17 percent in 2013 compared to the previous year.

University of Idaho agricultural economists tell The Capital Press that the projections are based on data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service.

John Foltz, dean of University of Idaho's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, says government payments to Idaho farmers will likely continue to decline in future years.

The Northwest wine industry has grown tremendously over the last few decades. That’s had a big economic impact but has also changed the region’s landscape.

Northwest farmers hired significantly more foreign guest workers this season under a special immigration program.

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