Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ag Summit 2009

Iron Creek at the Iron Creek Angus Ranch on Creek near Salmon

Governor Honors Five during Annual Ag Summit

Boise—Governor Butch Otter honored five Idahoans for their contribution to Agriculture during the annual Larry Branen Idaho Ag Summit at the Red Lion Riverside this week.

The purpose of the prestigious award is to recognize outstanding individuals that impact agriculture in a positive way.

Education and/or Advocacy: Carl Crabtree grew up on a ranch in Kooskia, Idaho and learned from an early age the importance of 4-H. Nothing taught him more about cattle than 4-H and it carried over into a live-time passion.

“It’s interesting when I was in High School,” he remembers. “I did a lot of 4-H judging and in the back of my mind what I knew what cattle ought to look like. I kind of superimposed that image and when the limousine bull was introduced in 1968, that was it. Now I’m thinking a little differently,” he laughs. “But, that was the perfect beef animal at the time, it got me interested in cattle and I’ve never looked back.”

Crabtree’s crowning achievement came just a few years ago when he helped author the Beef Quality Assurance Training Manual while serving on the National Beef Board, he also put together a strategic planning group for the E-quality assurance program and out of that came a number of recommendations that lead to the manual that’s used throughout the country.

Environmental Stewardship: Clyde and Jan Phillips of Salmon were married back in 1971 and started working on Gene Hussey’s ranch in 1990 they eventually leased it and finally bought the picturesque place back in 2003. Thats when they started working with the Lemhi Soil and Water Conservation District on the Iron Creek Reconnection Project.

In the old days the SalmonRiver produced the biggest Steelhead and Salmon runs in the Columbia River Basin, but with low return numbers and new ESA requirements the Phillips decided that they wanted to be a part of a high-tech, holistic conservation project.

The built fences to protect riparian sections along Iron Creek and built a stock water system to all their troughs that drastically cut sedimentation into the creek. They also installed a pump and irrigation system. In the old days Iron Creek would dry up, now it has water year round for the fish.

The Phillips project was unique and groundbreaking because it partnered eleven state and local agencies together on one project and along the way improved habitat on the upper reaches of the Salmon for future generations of Idahoans. They demonstrated a commitment to improving water quality with innovation and partnerships and serve as a model to their Idaho peers.

Marketing Innovation: From an early age Bill Meadows has had a knack for seizing opportunity It all started back in 1970 while working at the Aberdeen U of I Research Center.

Starting in 1970 while working at the Research center, Meadows went to work developing new crops and markets with a passion and now three decades later his contributions are legendary:

“Basically, I’m a dry land farmer but we expanded into growing oilseeds, I grow flax and even mustard in rotation with winter wheat.

Phillips knew the specialty crops would break the disease cycle on his dry land farm, as well as be profitable. But what he didn't know was what his pioneer farming practices would lead too.

He and a few fellow farmers started shipping their oil crops to California that lead to buying elevator locations and a shipping operation.

“Thirty-one years later I have the same farmers growing oil crops and its become a crop that people made fun of to a crop where you can make very nice returns, compared to wheat,” said Meadows.

Meadows and fellow farmers grew the oil crop to 30-thousand acres in three decades and its growing every day.


Technical Innovation: Bill Dean spent most of his adult life perfecting the pinto bean at the U of I research station in the Magic Valley outside of Twin Falls.

“I started out washing petre dishes in the path lab,” he recalls. “I eventually got moved down to the greenhouse making tomato crosses, I had arrived!”

“Working out the labs he worked with farmers in eliminating plant diseases that could not only wipe out a crop but the farmer as well, he did it by building on the work of researches that came before him:

“Researchers before me like Walt Pierce recognized the fact that there were some plants within the great northern population that didn’t get mosaic and he also proved they had genetic resistance to curly top, I built on that and it became the basis for UI 3 and UI 34 which carried both resistances, mosaic and curly top. It all centered on the transmitter virus that we put on the plants.

Bill Dean has always been modest to a fault. “I’ve appreciated the fact that my professional colleagues appreciated the work I did. I did make some significant contributions to the bean world but I had help, I guess that’s something to be proud of. I am proud of it, buts its not earthshaking,” he said.


Lifetime Achievement: For more than 35 years, Rich Garber worked in Idaho Agriculture, from the fields of the family farm in Nampa to lobbying at the statehouse, to judging a young farmer and rancher discussion meet. Through it all, Garber is passionate about getting the youth of Idaho interested in Agriculture.

“They're our future,” he says. "I think our 4-H and FAA programs are critical in bringing a new generation of leaders that understand the value of Idaho agriculture and natural resources. I've had an opportunity to influence the youth of Idaho and it's been a privilege and an honor.”

Garber’s resume reads like an Idaho Ag guidebook serving on irrigation districts, the national association of wheat growers, water users, Leadership Idaho, Food Producers and his current job as director of government affairs for the U of I, Garber did it all his way:behind the scenes.

“Growing up on a farm was a privilege not many have that opportunity. It creates a work ethic that few experience and you also gain respect for the land as a resource, the importance of taking care of that resource and along the way one can correlate Agriculture to the seasons of life. When you’re farming you understand the seasons and the timeliness of doing things in a way that others never realize," said Garber.

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