Monday, August 13, 2018

Valley\Adams County Farm Bureau addresses wolf kill

A record number of wolf-kill reports in Idaho this year

BOISE –At the Valley/Adams County Farm Bureau resolutions meeting this past week, Rancher Phil Davis said wolves killed 6 head of cattle in a week.

“Through the years it has gotten worse, now it's getting worse, faster. The problem has always been a one, now its bigger and we’ve lost so much livestock and I don’t think we can get a handle on controlling wolves,” said Davis.

Davis went the County Farm Bureau policy meeting to get some meaningful changes in wolf control and the first step changes in the Idaho Farm Bureau policy book.

“We’ve had two dead cows in two days, as of today its three dead cows, and seven in the last five days. I have three resolutions that I want to do,” Davis told his county leaders.

For two decades Davis has dealt with wolf kills at his Valley County Ranch. He’s worked with the Idaho Fish and Game and US Wildlife service to curb wolf impacts with mixed results, now he’s taking new ideas to the County resolutions meeting.

One resolution centered around changing the designation of the wolf from a game animal to a special predator. Davis and the group will figure out how to work the other resolutions and move the policy ideas to the District, State and ultimately the Farm Bureau policy book.

“We had lively resolutions out of Valley, but we’ve had kills in Adams County too, we want to get our resolutions through district this fall and onto State. This was a successful grassroots meeting and we hope to get something done,” said Valley/Adams Farm Bureau President Dean Dryden.

With 61 confirmed wolf kills documented in Idaho, US Fish and Wildlife Service says wolves have had a busy summer killing seven sheep in three separate attacks in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area between July 9 and July 13th, according to wildlife managers.

Since 1995, when wolves were reintroduced to Idaho, federal authorities investigated a record 113 different sheep and cattle ranches this year to perform necropsies on wolf-livestock kills, and 217 ranches to investigate wolf kills overall. The kills and investigations are both records

“This is a busy summer,” said Todd Grimm, Idaho State Director of federal APHIS Wildlife Services. “There’s greater awareness of cattle and sheep producers…and wolves are coming into more conflict with livestock.”

Idaho Farm Bureau members want to address the growing conflict with wolves. IFBF President Bryan Searle says the organization gives members a chance to be heard.

“Here we have an opportunity to hear from farmers and ranchers. People on the ground that live with these kills, they’re concerned about their livestock and are reaching, telling us about the damage from the wolves. These resolution meetings are an opportunity to be heard, to get their concerns out and put them in policy,” said IFBF President Bryan Searle.

With more than 80 to 100 packs of wolves in Idaho, the predators occupy most of the state north of Interstate 84. Wolf populations are expected to grow, according to Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Wolves have expanded from Idaho into Washington and Oregon and they’re spreading into California as well. DNA evidence also indicates that wolves freely travel back into Idaho from Montana, Wyoming, Washington and Oregon.

“It’s not getting better, it’s getting worse,” said Dryden. “We have an issue that will go in front of the Farm Bureau Western Presidents Council, President Searle will take it to that meeting for input and help.”

“When you’re sitting behind a desk, its hard to know whats going on. We need a policy, maybe an Executive Order from the President, we have ranchers that have lost cattle in just the past few days, we need to listen to them,” said President Searle.

When wolf populations soared to more than 1,000 animals by 2009, wolf packs killed more than 700 cattle and 550 sheep in Idaho, impacting a total of 412 different ranchers statewide.

Lemhi, Custer, Valley, Idaho, and Elmore counties still have “chronic livestock depredation” issues, according to state and federal officials. Last year, the number of confirmed wolf depredations in Valley County more than doubled from 17 to 38. Davis has had at least one mother cow killed by wolves in which there were no outward signs of trauma on the exterior of the animal – until a necropsy was performed by Wildlife Services – and then wolf bite marks and hemorrhages proved that it was a wolf kill.

Davis has documented more than 60 wolf kills on his ranch since the mid-1990s.“That’s the real sickening part about this, they say they’re not surplus killers, they don’t kill for sport, what do you call this?” Davis said. “Of our six kills in 2017, three of them were full-grown cows. So they’re getting more bold, more adept at it, and they’re killing cows, not just calves now.”

Mark Henslee, of Salmon Falls Land and Livestock, says they have six guard dogs protecting a band of sheep that suffered wolf attacks in July. The normal standard is two guard dogs per band of sheep to ward off coyotes, black bears, and mountain lions. The Henslees had noise-makers and strobe lights set up at night around the sheep in hopes of preventing wolf kills.

But wolves still killed two ewes and a lamb on July 9th, then came back and killed another two ewes and a lamb on July 10th, and another lamb on July 13. After Wildlife Services killed three wolves, the wolf kills on Henslee's place stopped.

“We haven’t had any problems in several years. But with as many wolves as we have in Idaho, you’re going to get hit somewhere, sometime,” said Henslee.

 County Farm Bureau Resolutions meetings are underway across the State. District meetings are scheduled this fall, The IFBF House of Delegates is scheduled for December.

If ranchers suspect that wolves have killed their livestock, they should call federal APHIS Wildlife Services to report the incident, 208-378-5631, and request a local trapper to investigate. Or, call your local IDFG office.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Dairy Revenue Insurance Available October 9 from AFBIS


WASHINGTON – A new dairy insurance service from American Farm Bureau Insurance Services will bring an extra level of support to a dairy sector that has been battered by losses over the past four years.

AFBIS’ Dairy Revenue Protection insurance policy, available by early October, covers potential revenue loss over five quarterly insurance periods.

The insurance product was developed by American Farm Bureau Federation Chief Economist John Newton in partnership with AFBIS and economists from the University of Minnesota and Cornell University. It fills a demand not met by previous products.

“Farmers have been suffering, and dairy farmers especially,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said. “The number of dairies that have had to close or sell to larger operations is shocking. We have always known revenue protection insurance could help farmers weather this storm, but no one offered it. That’s why AFBIS is stepping up and rolling out this insurance now when the need is so great. We appreciate the support from the Agriculture Department and look forward to the rollout by October 9.”

USDA officials support the move toward revenue insurance for dairies. “Expanding the federal crop insurance program to markets that need it is key to an effective farm safety net. Because of cooperation with partners like the American Farm Bureau Federation, we are able to offer this new product in a way that it can be flexible based on the needs of dairy producers,” Bill Northey, Under Secretary, Farm Production, and Conservation, said.

Dairy farmers will have the option to select between class or component pricing options. The class pricing option uses an average of Class III and Class IV milk prices based on the insured’s declared class price weighting factor. The component pricing option uses butterfat, protein and other solids prices, as well as the declared butterfat and protein test to determine an insured component value of milk. Pricing options allow farmers to customize their price elections more accurately according to individual price risk.

Coverage options start at 70 percent and are available up to 95 percent, in 5 percent increments.

For more information, visit www.dairyrp.com and https://www.fb.org/market-intel/dairy-revenue-protection-is-here



Thursday, August 9, 2018

Trade Assistance Package Welcome Relief


Washington--Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced USDA will authorize up to $12 billion for programs to help farmers and ranchers caught in the crossfire of a tariff war. The funding is in line with the estimated $11 billion impact of the retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods, according to USDA.

The agricultural assistance package will provide a welcome measure of temporary relief to farmers and ranchers who are experiencing the financial squeeze of a trade tit-for-tat, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a statement.

“This should help many of our farmers and ranchers weather the rough road ahead and assist in their dealings with their financial institutions. We are grateful for the administration’s recognition that farmers and ranchers needed positive news now and this will buy us some time,” Duvall said.

He continued, “This announcement is substantial, but we cannot overstate the dire consequences that farmers and ranchers are facing in relation to lost export markets. Our emphasis continues to be on trade and restoring markets, and we will continue to push for a swift and sure end to the trade war and the tariffs impacting American agriculture.”

USDA intends to use the Market Facilitation Program to provide payments incrementally to producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy and hogs. In addition, the department will implement a food purchase and distribution program through the Agricultural Marketing Service to purchase unexpected surplus of affected commodities such as fruits, nuts, rice, legumes, beef, pork and milk for distribution to food banks and other nutrition programs. Finally, the Foreign Agriculture Service, in conjunction with the private sector, will assist in developing new export markets for U.S. farm products.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Pahsimeroi Range Tour-Improving grazing on public lands!

Idaho Legend, Former Idaho farmer inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame


Pro Football Great, Jerrry Kramer poses with University of Idaho YF&R collegiate members at the YF&R annual meeting in Boise, January 28, 2012. Photo: Jake Putnam

BOISE - Former Green Bay Packer and Idaho dairy farmer Jerry Kramer was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 4th.

Kramer farmed in Parma until the late 80's and loves farming and returning to his roots. On January 28th, 2012 he was the keynote speaker at the Idaho Young Farmer and Rancher Leadership Conference in Boise. He recounted his years in football and talked about his relationship with legendary coach Vince Lombardi.

"Excellence is an acquired skill," Kramer told YF& R members at that meeting. "Being farmers each one of you strives for excellence each day, that's what farmers do."

Kramer was born in Montana but lived most of his life in Sandpoint, Parma, and Boise.

After graduating from Sandpoint High in 1954 Kramer accepted a football scholarship at the University of Idaho. Kramer’s size, speed, and athletic ability elevated him to star status for the Vandals. After graduation Kramer played in the East-West Shrine Game and the College All-Star Game, defeating the defending NFL Champion Detroit Lions. Kramer had his jersey retired by the University of Idaho.

Kramer was drafted by the Green Bay Packers and won the starting right guard position his rookie year. As a Packer, the former Vandal won five NFL titles and the first two Super Bowls. Kramer also was the team’s kicker in ’62, 63, and part of 1968.

Kramer was named All-Pro five times and is the only member of the NFL's 50th Anniversary All-Time team who is not a member the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Near the end of his career in 1967, Kramer collaborated with Dick Schapp on his first book, the best-selling Instant Replay, a diary of the season which chronicled the life of an offensive lineman in the NFL.

Kramer and Schaap would write two more books together. Kramer played his last year under new head coach Phil Bengtson in 1968. After that season, which saw the aging Packers fall to a losing record of 6-7-1, Kramer wrote a second book, Farewell to Football. After retiring, Kramer briefly worked as a color commentator on CBS National Football League telecasts.

At his induction speech on Saturday Kramer captivated the audience with his closing remarks.

"After the game is all over and the Stadium lights are out. The parking lot is empty and you are finally back in the quiet of your room. The championship ring rests on the dresser. The only thing left for you at this time is to live a life of quality and excellence.  Make this world a better place because you were in it! You can if you will," said Kramer.

The newly minted Hall of Famer walked off the stage to a standing ovation.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Farm Bureau Policy Development

Two Epic water years in the Books, Next Year looking Good

Irrigators dumped 1.7 million acre-feet in the Aquifer for the largest increase in 80 years.

By Jake Putnam

Twin Falls-Late rain and snowfall in the Upper Snake River Basin combined with one of the biggest snow years has allowed a record recharge this year into the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer.

The Idaho Department of Water Resources and Irrigators dumped 1.7 million acre-feet in the Aquifer for the largest increase in 80 years.

“We charged a half million acre-feet last year and over a million this year,” said Brian Olmstead of the Twin Falls Canal company. “The Aquifer is responding. We’ve had two fabulous years and the reservoirs are in good shape.”

Hydrogeologist Mike McVay says he measured the Eastern Snake Aquifer increase by measuring 350 wells across the East Snake River Plain. The increase shows that the historic 2015 water settlement forged by farmers in the ESPA region is working and we’ve had two winters in a row with “exceptional precipitation.”

“We’ve had a significant uptick,” McVay said. “But we have to remember that this is a long-term plan, and this is a good start. We’ll still need to build the aquifer back over time.”

Before the epic winter of 2017, the Water Resource Board concluded that the aquifer was over-drafted by more than 200,000 acre-feet per year. That’s alarming because water from the aquifer is the driving force behind agriculture, and the state economy not to mention manufacturing plants, cities and drinking water for more than 400,000 Idaho residents.

Mat Weaver, Deputy Director of Water Resources says that farmers that took part in the 2015 water settlement should be recognized for doing their part in stopping the aquifer decline. “The reductions and private recharge that have occurred as a result of the settlement agreement have been hugely impactful.”

Olmstead says water not used in irrigation this year will be put to good use all across the Snake River Plain.

“If we don’t need it we give it the Water Resource Board and they recharge it, mostly in the Upper Valley because that water stays there. Most of the recharge in the Upper Valley stays above American Falls, most of the recharge in the lower Valley really helps the Hagerman Springs. That's the number one priority for everyone, filling the reservoirs, so it’s our bank essentially,” said Olmstead.

Dean Stevenson, chairman of the Magic Valley Ground Water District, said it was good to see positive results on ESPA water levels.

“We have to remember that really we’re just getting started with the recharge program and the water settlement implementation. The long-term trend is what matters. We have to stay the course,” Stevenson said.

Olmstead says with two good winters and good carryover that all of these factors have played a part in increasing water levels in the aquifer and for the first time an unheard of windfall.

“We have money in the bank. And we have to give Idaho Power credit, they have been a good partner. Normally we don’t like to send water below Milner Dam but this year with the hot weather, and the very full reservoirs, there was no demand on what we call the common pools or the water bank, so Idaho Power agreed to buy 70,000 acre-feet at a higher price than water bank going rate so it was a benefit to them and to irrigation companies and they will put it toward conservation improvements,” added Olmstead.

Hopefully, Mother Nature will continue to cooperate, he said, adding that even if she doesn’t the pieces are in place to succeed.

Groundwater users committed to reducing consumptive use by 13 percent, about 240,000 acre-feet annually, in a 2015 agreement with surface water users. The board is steadily expanding its recharge program and, hopefully, the Legislature will keep stepping up to fund the program, he said.

The Snake River Plain aquifer is starting to rebound.

“All the hydrologists predicted that it would take three years for the recharge to break even on the aquifer because we had a hole to fill. We are already going up and doing great,” said Olmstead.

IWRB estimates the aquifer was being depleted by 200,000 acre-feet a year between 1952 and 2017. Its goal is to recharge 250,000 acre-feet annually, averaging wet years with dry years, to bring the aquifer to average levels it was at between 1991 and 2001 by 2026. That will take an increase of 3 million acre-feet.

“We’re in really good shape and already off to a good start next year,” added Olmstead.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Sale at Public Action:



Treasure Valley Properties on the auction block for non-payment of irrigation taxes


Nampa--Six Ada and Canyon County properties with a combined assessed value of $704,400 will be sold at public auction August 21 because the owners have failed to pay a total of $3,087 in irrigation taxes owed to the Nampa and Meridian Irrigation District, NMID officials announced today.

In one instance, a Boise home assessed at a value of $393,900 could be sold for $643.51 in unpaid taxes, an amount that represents less than two-tenths percent of its assessed value.

One property is in Boise, two in Meridian and three in Nampa.

The tax deed auction comes because the owners have failed to pay their irrigation taxes for the years 2014 through 2018.

A certified letter warning of the pending tax deed action was mailed in June to the property owners in addition to several other written notices. Legal notices listing the properties were also published in the local daily newspaper, according to Daren Coon, NMID Secretary/Treasurer.

“These sales are extreme cases that represent just a tiny fraction of the more than 37,000 patrons in our District. Still, the owners’ failure to pay the annual assessments has put the properties in jeopardy. We go to great lengths to try to avoid these types of tax deed sale situations but it is out of our hands. Idaho law is very specific about what steps the District is required to take to recover the tax money owed on the property,” according to Coon.

Although not required, NMID officials generally take an extra step by trying to find and personally notify the property owners by a final-hand delivered notice. Coon plans to do that this coming week.

The tax deed sale, mandated under Idaho law, sets the minimum bid for each property at the amount of taxes owed plus expenses related to the delinquency. However, the property owners can avoid their property being sold by paying the taxes due prior to the opening of the bids. Most tax deed bills are paid before the properties are sold, Coon noted.

The problem arises in some instances when the property is sold but the new owner information is not provided to NMID. That results in the annual tax assessment wrongly going to the previous owners. In other cases property owners mistakenly believe they do not need to pay the annual NMID assessment because they do not receive or use irrigation water, Coon added.

“Idaho law specifies that all property owners in the district are to help pay the costs of maintaining the irrigation system, whether they use water or not. Also, some property owners wrongly believe the irrigation tax payment is part of their escrow tax payment being made by the mortgage company” Coon said.

Local residents can find out if they have unpaid NMID irrigation taxes by visiting the District website at nmid.org. They can also check with the District office at 466-7861.

NMID has since 1904 delivered irrigation water to 69,000 acres of farm, residential and commercial land in the Treasure Valley including pressurized irrigation to more than 15,000 residential and commercial lots. For information about the District call 466-7861 or visit its internet website: www.nmid.org.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Gear Up for Advocacy with Farm Bureau’s Trade Toolkit



Washington--A toolkit developed by the American Farm Bureau Federation is now available to assist farmers and ranchers in their advocacy efforts on trade during the August congressional recess. The toolkit includes a list of town hall-style meetings in targeted states, pro-trade messages, suggested social media posts with graphics, a sample op-ed, myths and facts and additional resources.

This toolkit was developed to support state Farm Bureau efforts to engage grassroots volunteers in conveying the message to lawmakers that the current trade uncertainty needs to end soon. Download the toolkit at https://fb.org/tradetoolkit.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

FARM BILL: NOT BROKEN, DON’T FIX IT

Senator Crapo listens to input from Idaho agriculture groups at an August Farm Bill Listening Session in Parma, ID

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

Parma--A message I have heard clearly from Idahoans in the town meetings I have been holding across our great state and in discussions with Idaho producers and agricultural leaders is the current Farm Bill is not broken and does not require major changes. I have approached the current effort in Congress to reauthorize the Farm Bill with this principle in mind. While Farm Bills have largely been bipartisan, the Senate passed its version of the 2018 Farm Bill with the most bipartisan vote in recent history. This overwhelmingly, bipartisan vote, of 86-11, for this legislation that generally maintains the support for American agricultural production in current law recognizes the need to get a new Farm Bill reauthorized without delay due to the slump in the farm economy.

Many farmers and ranchers are struggling through multi-year low prices. Farm incomes are half of what they were just a few years ago. They are working hard to feed their families, employees, fellow Idahoans and consumers around the world while facing increased pressure from high input costs, decreased farm revenues, more demands on land and water, weather uncertainty and more. I supported passage of S. 3042, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, known as the Senate version of the 2018 Farm Bill, that backs farmers and ranchers by maintaining a fair floor of support for producers while increasing resources for selling American farm products overseas.

Differences between the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill are now to be worked out in a House-Senate conference for final consideration of the legislation. I have stressed often that the Farm Bill affects a wide swath of federal policy far beyond traditional agricultural commodity programs. Federal nutrition, conservation, rural development, energy, world market access, forestry, specialty crop, organics and many other programs are part of the Farm Bill. The Senate Farm Bill includes a number of provisions of importance to Idaho communities.

The legislation would preserve the ability for farmers to manage risk by maintaining crop insurance and commodity programs. It would maintain robust conservation programs to protect and enhance the natural resources farmers and ranchers depend upon to produce food, feed, fuel, and fiber.

Strong research and promotional programs for specialty crops would be maintained.
The bill includes an expansion of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program that has spawned active collaborative land-use efforts in Idaho and other states. I led legislation to reauthorize and expand this program that helps improve forest and watershed health. Important resources would be devoted to research and boosting sales of U.S. farm goods in world markets.

The legislation would preserve the sugar program that ensures sugar beet growers can continue to contribute to an affordable, abundant food supply. The bill also includes the Timber Innovation Act, which I pushed for, to boost the development and creation of new markets for building materials derived from forest products. The nutrition title includes new program integrity initiatives for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to ensure beneficiaries are not claiming benefits in multiple states and offer new job training programs for recipients.

The debate will continue over reforms to keep federal nutrition programs solvent, but I expect we will have a strong, bipartisan show of support for our farmers in the final vote on the Farm Bill legislation. As the final legislation is ironed out, I will continue to work to ensure Idaho producers’ concerns and priorities are addressed as I press for enactment of a strong law best enabling Idaho farmers and ranchers to continue to put high-quality food on all of our tables while sustaining critical land and water resources.









Wednesday, August 1, 2018

BEEF PARTNERSHIP TO FEED IDAHO’S HUNGRY



BOISE-- Idaho’s beef industry stands as the state’s second largest agricultural industry, making it a strong contributor to the state’s economy. Yet Idaho’s cattle ranchers contribute to the community in many other ways as well. In August, the Idaho Beef Council (IBC) is one of several partners kicking off a month-long Beef Counts campaign to benefit The Idaho Foodbank. Beef Counts is an industry-driven initiative that helps put nutritious beef on the tables of the food-insecure.

Sponsored by Albertsons, Agri Beef and IBC, the upcoming Beef Counts campaign begins on Wednesday, August 1, with a BBQ from 3 -7 p.m. in the parking lot of Albertsons at 1219 W. Broadway Ave. in Boise. This will be followed by a second Beef Counts BBQ event held Saturday, August 4 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Albertsons at 590 E. 17th St, Idaho Falls.

The events feature the popular Cowboy Ninja on American Ninja Warrior and Idaho beef producer, Lance Pekus, who will be available to greet fans and sign autographs. During each BBQ, beef will be on the menu as Albertsons serves up Double R Ranch Beef Hot Dogs with chips and a drink. A Beef Counts Raffle will complete the week’s events by providing a made-in-Idaho Sawtooth Pellet Grill and a Double R Ranch’s “Best of the West” Beef Collection to the winner valued at approximately $1,500. Raffle tickets will be sold at both BBQs, with the drawing to be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday following the second BBQ.

The events draw attention to the needs of Idaho’s hungry and the families that rely on The Idaho Foodbank for crucial meals. During the entire month of August, Albertsons and Agri Beef will donate up to $20,000 based on purchases of Double R Ranch Beef at southern Albertsons stores.

“The Beef Counts program is a great way to give back to the community,” says Trish Dowton, IBC Secretary/Treasurer of the Board and Pahsimeroi valley rancher. “As a rancher, I believe strongly in the quality and commitment that goes into producing beef and beef products in this state. As a good neighbor, I and other ranchers want to make sure that all Idahoans have access to the nutrient-dense protein of our beef.”

Valley\Adams County Farm Bureau addresses wolf kill

A record number of wolf-kill reports in Idaho this year BOISE –At the Valley/Adams County Farm Bureau resolutions meeting this past week...