Monday, November 30, 2009

From the Statehouse

Steve Ritter photo

Otter Supports Idaho's Young Farmers and Ranchers

By Jake Putnam

Boise--Idaho Governor Butch Otter met with Jake Putnam and Steve Ritter of the Idaho Farm Bureau to discuss the importance of Young Farmers and Ranchers to Idaho Agriculture. The Governor thinks organizations like YF and R not only builds leaders but improves the state's robust Ag Economy.

Idaho’s Young Farmers and Ranchers, how much of a part do they play in Idaho’s economy?

You have to realize that in a $51.5 billion dollar economy, hopefully we are going to grow that to $60, but agriculture will always be a player either in farm gate or ranch gate production, manufacturing or marketing. It comes down to what’s going on with farmers and ranchers on the ground. It’s also the speed at which technology moves and we have to keep up to date with that. The Young Farmers and Rancher organization and the Farm Bureau is the genesis of that information, it’s the distributor of that information, they do best practice work, and they validate research best practices. The result of that is that we continue to continue to produce better crops, better animals that yield higher even better marketable material for the entire world. In all the export missions I’ve led, it’s always been about the quality of Idaho products and our ability to adapt to the new innovations whether its yield or the quality of the product. So as long as you have an organization with strength and depth of the Farm Bureau and the association with Young Farmers and Ranchers, you are always going to have growth and people on top of the game. I say we’re going to have to stay with it because agriculture will continue to be one of the major players in our economy.

Were you involved as a Young Rancher?

I was in 4H forever; They had to throw me out because I got too old. We were constantly improving the growth rates, the production rates, whether it was in a milk cow and even row crops. It was unheard of in those days to have more than 280 bags to the acre of potatoes, or 240 bushel of corn, unheard of was 4-pound gain per day gain on a beef animal or a hundred pounds of milk or 3.8 percent butterfat from a milk cow. It’s the velocity at which technology moves is only successful if it can be adapted, Once again you have the brain trust within organizations like Young Farmers and Ranchers and the Farm Bureau. They’re the ones that will distribute the newest and the best practices and so I encourage them to constantly stay involved. Not just as a member but provide leadership and new ideas. I would also encourage YF and R members to study other areas, study other countries, and figure out what they’re doing. We are going to be in this game a long, long time and the agricultural industry in Idaho is going to continue to be one of the major players in our economy and our future.

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