Friday, September 30, 2011

Just in from Washington

Simpson Prevents EPA Regulation of Manure

Washington, D.C. - Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson has lent his support to a measure to prevent livestock operations from becoming Superfund sites. H.R. 2997, introduced by Representative Billy Long (R-MO), would ensure that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not impose regulations intended to clean up hazardous waste sites to livestock operations. Simpson chairs the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees funding for the EPA and is an original cosponsor of H.R. 2997.

“In light of EPA’s persistence in imposing its job-killing and unnecessary regulatory agenda on the American people, I believe it is important to clarify Congress’s intent on this issue,” Simpson said. “The Superfund law was never intended to regulate manure and other animal emissions as a toxic or hazardous substance. It defies common sense to presume that dairy and other producers who use manure as fertilizer should be regulated the same way as a chemical plant or mining operation.”

The Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, also known as the Superfund Law) was passed by Congress in 1980 to address the legacy of hazardous waste sites that pose a threat to the environment or human health. The law makes those involved in creating the Superfund site liable for cleaning it up. H.R. 2997 ensures that manure and other animal emissions cannot be regulated under CERCLA, preventing farmers from becoming liable for the cleanup of entire watersheds.

“It would be inappropriate, to say the least, to regulate manure under laws Congress intended for large-scale industrial waste,” said Simpson. “Idaho’s agriculture industry needs certainty in order to succeed, and this clarification ensures that producers can plan for the future without the risk of crushing and unreasonable liability hanging over their heads.”

Thursday, September 29, 2011

2011 State Resolution Meeting convenes in Boise

Boise--It's the first sign of fall at the Boise office of the Idaho Farm Bureau. Delegates from Idaho Farm Bureau Federation's five districts are meeting today at Farm Bureau offices at 500 W. Washington, two blocks from the Idaho Statehouse.

Delegates will review district resolutions line by line with final approvals forwarded to the House of Delegates which will meet in December. Resolutions that pass House of Delegates are printed in the Idaho Farm Bureau Policies booklet.

In this photo Farm Bureau Vice-President Mark Trupp discusses committee guidelines before addressing the first resolution which involved a right to work resolution.

The Idaho Farm Bureau is a free, independent, non-governmental, voluntary organization of farm and ranch families united for the purpose of analyzing their problems and formulating action to achieve educational improvement, economic opportunity, environmental awareness and social advancement, and thereby, to promote the national well being.

The Farm Bureau is local, statewide, national, and international in scope and influence and is non-partisan, non-sectarian, and non-secretive in character.

Tracking Milk and Egg Prices:

Milk and Egg Prices rise in the Third Quarter
Washington--For the third quarter of 2011, shoppers reported the average price for a half-gallon of regular whole milk was $2.46, up 15 cents from the prior quarter. The average price for one gallon of regular whole milk was $3.66, up 4 cents. Comparing per-quart prices, the retail price for whole milk sold in gallon containers was about 25 percent lower compared to half-gallon containers, a typical volume discount long employed by retailers.

The average price for a half-gallon of rBST-free milk was $3.40, up 12 cents from the last quarter, about 40 percent higher than the reported retail price for a half-gallon of regular milk ($2.46).

The average price for a half-gallon of organic milk was $3.71, up 6 cents compared to the prior quarter, about 51 percent higher than the reported retail price for a half-gallon of regular milk ($2.46).

Compared to a year ago (third quarter of 2010), the retail price for regular milk in gallon containers was up about 16 percent while regular milk in half-gallon containers rose 19 percent. The average retail price for rBST-free milk increased 1 percent compared to the prior year while organic milk was up 2 percent.

For the third quarter of 2011, the average price for one dozen regular eggs was $1.78, up 13 cents compared to the prior quarter. The average price for a dozen “cage-free” eggs was $3.10, down 10 cents compared to the prior quarter but 75 percent higher than regular eggs. Compared to a year ago (third quarter of 2010), regular eggs increased 26 percent while “cage-free” eggs increased 7 percent.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Food Prices on the Rise

Global Demand Drives Food Prices Higher in Third Quarter

September 13, 2011

Strong global demand, especially for pork and other protein-rich foods, was a primary driver behind higher retail prices at the supermarket during the third quarter of 2011, according to the latest American Farm Bureau Federation Marketbasket Survey.

The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $53.12, up $1.95 or about 4 percent compared to the second quarter of 2011. Of the 16 items surveyed, 13 increased, two decreased and one remained the same in average price compared to the prior quarter.

“Global demand for meat and dairy products remains strong and continues to influence retail prices here in the U.S.,” said AFBF Economist John Anderson. “Many nations around the world rely on America to provide the food they need to improve their standard of living, particularly through the addition of protein to the diet. Strengthened demand for meats began in 2009, continued through 2010 and remains important as we look ahead to the close of 2011.”

Other factors also came into play.

“On-farm production costs for energy, fertilizer and fuel continue on an upward trend but those costs are largely borne by farmers and ranchers. But, in addition, after food leaves the farm or ranch, higher costs for transportation, marketing, processing and storage are added,” Anderson explained. “As long as these costs remain elevated, consumers will continue to feel it in the form of higher food prices at the supermarket.”

Meat and dairy products accounted for about 40 percent of the quarter-to-quarter retail price increase. Boneless chicken breasts increased 24 cents to $3.33 per pound, bacon rose 23 cents to $4.41 per pound, sliced deli ham was up 17 cents to $5.43 per pound, shredded cheddar increased 14 cents to $4.70 per pound and whole milk was up 4 cents to $3.66 per gallon.

Other items that increased in price compared to the second quarter were Russet potatoes, up 36 cents to $3.43 for a 5-pound bag; Red Delicious apples, up 27 cents to $1.83 per pound; flour, up 21 cents to $2.73 for a 5-pound bag; vegetable oil, up 20 cents to $3.21 for a 32-ounce bottle; eggs, up 13 cents to $1.78 for one dozen; orange juice, up 10 cents to $3.28 for a half-gallon; bagged salad, up 6 cents to $2.73 for 1-pound bag; and bread, up 2 cents to $1.88 for a 20-ounce loaf.

“At the beginning of 2011, a number of factors including growing demand pointed to continued increases in retail food prices, especially for meats. But there’s always a lag time as farmers and ranchers increase the size of their herds to meet higher demand,” Anderson explained. “Extreme weather conditions around the nation have further compounded the issue, diminishing production and further increasing costs.”

Most items showing an increase in retail price from quarter-to-quarter also showed year-to-year increases. Compared to one year ago, Russet potatoes increased 30 percent; flour was up 27 percent; eggs and vegetable oil were each 26 percent higher. Year-to-year increases were also tallied for bacon, up 21 percent; sliced deli ham and milk, each up 16 percent; and shredded cheddar cheese, up 15 percent. The total average price for the 16 items was up about 15 percent compared to one year ago.

Two items decreased in price: sirloin tip roast dropped 20 cents to $4.28 per pound and ground chuck dropped 2 cents to $3.27 per pound. Toasted oat cereal remained the same in price, at $3.17 for a 9-ounce box.

The year-to-year direction of the Marketbasket Survey tracks with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index ( report for food at home. As retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped.

“In the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 16 percent, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series,” Anderson said. USDA’s new Food Dollar Series may be found online at

Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the farmer’s share of this quarter’s $53.12 marketbasket would be $8.50.

AFBF, the nation’s largest general farm organization, has been conducting the informal quarterly marketbasket survey of retail food price trends since 1989. The mix of foods in the marketbasket was updated during the first quarter of 2008.

According to USDA, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world. A total of 85 shoppers in 32 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in August.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Just in

Final Idaho 2010 Potato Crop numbers down slightly; Sugarbeets up 9 Percent

Blackfoot--On the eve of the 2011 spud harvest, final numbers show that Idaho’s 2010 potato crop came in a bit short at 113 million cwt, that's down of 1.3 percent from earlier estimates. Field run yield of 384 cwt is 5 cwt less than the previous estimate and 31 cwt less than the 2009 crop’s yield.

Total Harvested acres for last year's crop was 294,000 acres, unchanged from the previous estimate. For this year's potato crop, preliminary yield surveys shows that the Russet Burbank accounts for 58.2 percent of the potato acreage planted in Idaho. Russet Norkotah makes up 15.6 percent of plantings, while Ranger Russets are 14.3 percent of the total. Frito Lay varieties, at 1.2 percent, and Umatilla Russet, also at 1.2 percent, complete the top five varieties planted in Idaho for the 2011 crop.

The most notable numbers came nationally where production of 2010 fall potatoes finalized at 367 million cwt, 7 percent below the 2009 crop and 3 percent below 2008. Final production of potatoes from all four seasons in 2010 totalled 403 million cwt, down 7 percent from 2009 and 3 percent below 2008.

Idaho’s 2011 sugarbeet production is forecast to be 5.73 million tons, up 1 percent from the August forecast and up 9 percent from a year ago. Yield of 32.2 tons per acre is up from 2010's 31.0 tons per acre. Harvested acreage is expected to total 178,000 acres, up 8,000 acres from 2010.

Idaho Hop Harvest

Harvested hops soon to be dried, baled and shipped, Bob Smathers photo

Idaho Hop Harvest Near Completion
Parma--The Idaho Hop harvest is nearly complete. Almost all of the crop is out of the fields and on drying room floors, according to Diane Gooding the Hass, once all moisture is out of the hops, the crop is ready for shipping.

According to Hass, Idaho produces about 15 percent of all hops produced in the U.S. She said that the state of Washington produces 50 to 60 percent of the nation’s hops. She says that specialty beers use more hops per barrel of beer produced and says that hops is a growing market and that demand is on the rise.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Just in from Washington

Simpson Supports Time-Out for EPA Regulations

Washington, D.C. – Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today joined his colleagues in passing H.R. 2401, the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation, or TRAIN, Act. The bill passed the House of Representatives 249-169.

“Like many Idahoans, I am deeply concerned that the EPA has drastically expanded its regulatory authority,” said Simpson. “By pumping out new regulations every week, the Obama Administration is using the EPA to force on the American people an extreme environmental agenda that is hurting our fragile economy.”

The TRAIN Act calls for a needed “time out” from some of the EPA’s most egregious regulatory proposals, including the Utility MACT and the new transport rule. Recent reports claim that if the proposed Utility MACT went into effect, it would effectively shut down one-sixth of the country’s coal-fired power plants, dramatically increasing energy costs and moving our nation further away from energy independence. The bill also requires an analysis of the cumulative impact that EPA’s proposals on job creation and global competitiveness.

“If we really want to turn around our debt crisis, we need to get our economy going again. Unfortunately, the EPA is the wet blanket that is preventing companies small and large from investing in their businesses and creating jobs,” said Simpson. “Regulations like the Utility MACT and the transport rule are creating vast uncertainty in the market, leaving employers unwilling to risk hiring new employees. The TRAIN Act is about carefully weighing the costs and benefits of government regulation. It is about creating certainty in the marketplace, and it is about assuring businesses that it is safe to start hiring people and getting our economy moving again.”

Simpson chairs the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees funding for the EPA. Language similar to H.R. 2401 was included in H.R. 2584, the Interior and Environment Appropriations Act for FY12.

Just in

Stallman: USFRA Town Halls ‘Create Conversation’

“It seems that all the big farm groups—from beef and pork producers to sugar and soybean growers—have been paying attention to those Know Your Farmer’ bumper stickers,” wrote Allison Aubrey, NPR food correspondent, in herblog Thursday.

Aubrey was writing from the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance town hall held Thursday in Washington. She noted that farmers and ranchers know that lots of Americans think the U.S. is on the wrong track in the way the country produces food.

Aubrey reported on the just released consumer and farmer surveys commissioned by USFRA. The survey found that Americans think about food production a lot, yet 72 percent of consumers say they know nothing or very little about farming or ranching.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman, who serves as USFRA’s chairman, told Aubrey that the town hall meetings were designed to improve the dialogue with consumers. “The whole purpose is to create a conversation,” Stallman said.

U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance news release

Friday, September 23, 2011

Onion Harvest is on, Yields down from 2010

The Idaho Onion Harvest is going full speed, according to Middleton farmer Sid Freeman.

Middleton--Sid Freeman says the crop got off to a slow start but that’s not all bad. “What happened is that we had a cooler than normal summer, not many 100 degree days and that meant that the plants were able to grow 24/7, you see they shut down when it gets real hot. The onions had a chance to catch up and its been good for size,” said Freeman.

Packing sheds are not talking prices or yields, but Freeman says demand is down, and prices are down 33 percent below last years record prices. “Input prices are up 10 percent, fuel is up and fertilizer is up,” we don’t know yet how it will all shake out,” he said. "We're thinking we will make money, just not as much as last year."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Just in

Peterson Opposes Crop Insurance Cuts

Washington--Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that farmers are being asked to do more than their share in President Barack Obama’s deficit reduction plan. He’s particularly concerned about cuts to the crop insurance program.

“I’m very opposed to cutting more from crop insurance,” Peterson said. “We took $12 billion out of it already [in the 2008 farm bill].”

Minneapolis Star Tribune article

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

University of Idaho, Parma Research Station Tour

Photo by Steve Ritter

Annual Fruit Tour a U of I Success!

Parma--Tables lined with amber-ripe peaches, purple grapes, red, yellow and green apples; proof positive of a bountiful harvest at the University of Idaho’s Parma Research and Extension Center.

On Tuesday the Center hosted its annual pomology program fruit field day in lush orchards to an appreciative crowd. U of I President Dr. Duane Nellis says the Research Center presents opportunity to growers.

“Its extraordinary and it shows people the great opportunities here in Idaho and the opportunities working with University of Idaho Researchers," said Nellis. "We're on the cutting edge with all of these varieties and the general public doesn't have a sense of opportunity. The can take the research and start growing some of these crops, it's just amazing."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Declo grain elevators

Declo grain elevators, originally uploaded by Jake Putnam.

The grain harvest is in, and finally things are starting to slow down at grain elevators across the State.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Just in

AFBF Pleased by DOT Guidance on Ag Transportation

WASHINGTON– The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration listened to farmer and rancher concerns regarding changes to agricultural transportation regulations and commercial drivers license provisions.

As a result of comments received from AFBF and others, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said today that the FMCSA has no intention to propose new regulations governing the transport of agricultural products, and that the agency has released guidance to states so they clearly understand common-sense exemptions “to allow farmers, their employees, and their families to accomplish their day-to-day work and transport their products to market.”

“This public announcement and the guidance sent to states today by the FMCSA is great news for America’s farm and ranch families,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “The key word is common-sense, and it was refreshing to see that our federal authorities heard the concerns we expressed. It lifts a big cloud of uncertainty in farm country and the action is greatly appreciated.”

Stallman said he was pleased by Secretary LaHood’s clarity in stating the department “had no intention of instituting onerous regulations on the hardworking farmers who feed our country and fuel our economy.”

“Operating and moving the machinery necessary to tend and harvest crops and care for livestock is a vital part of farming and ranching,” Stallman said. “Long established protocols are in place at the state and local levels to ensure that safety is paramount, and that farmers are able to do their jobs and transport their goods to market.”

Friday, September 16, 2011

Deadlines of note

USDA Outlines SURE Eligibility Requirements for 2011 and 2012 Crops

BOISE, ID September 16, 2011 – The legislative authority for the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program ends on September 30, 2011. Producers must meet specific eligibility requirements to receive SURE assistance for disasters that occur on or before September 30, 2011, and affect fall 2011 and 2012 crops.

Producers can apply for a 2011 or 2012 SURE payment if a crop of economic significance located in a primary or contiguous disaster county under a Secretarial Disaster Designation suffered at least a 10 percent loss because of disaster occurring on or before September 30, 2011. Producers can also qualify if they suffered production losses greater than or equal to 50 percent of the normal production on the farm when there is no disaster declaration in place.

Crops are not required to be harvested on or before September 30, 2011, to maintain SURE eligibility. A loss claim will only trigger after FSA determines that the loss was because of disaster occurring on or before September 30, 2011. Losses that result from disasters that occur after September 30, 2011, will not be eligible for SURE benefits during this sign-up period.

Producers with 2011 and 2012 crops that suffer losses caused by disasters that occur on or before September 30, 2011, must also meet the following criteria:

· For insured crops, the insurance policy defines the coverage period as beginning on or before September 30, 2011

· For Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) crops, the coverage period begins on or before September 30, 2011

· The final planting date according to RMA and FSA (NAP crops only) occur on or before September 30, 2011.

Dick Rush, State Executive Director, points out that, "Idaho has had several counties declared as disaster areas but if the final planting date is after September 30, 2011, the crop will not be eligible for SURE benefits."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cattle up to weight

Steve Ritter photo
Notus--Sam & Tucker Shaw weigh a newborn calf at the Shaw Cattle Company ranch in Notus. The Shaws raise seed stock cattle and prefer a fall calving season. This years crop is averaging 80lbs at birth.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Just in!

FAPRI: Farm Program Cuts May, May Not Raise Food Prices

Columbia--In a column published Saturday in the Columbia (Missouri) Daily Tribune, Pat Westhoff, director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri, noted that cutting direct payments in the farm bill would have only small effects on consumer food prices.

“The payments are small relative to the value of what farmers earn from the products they sell and are even smaller relative to what consumers spend on food,” he wrote.

Westhoff explained that the crop insurance program keeps marginal land in crop production, which helps hold down food prices. “In contrast, the conservation reserve program pays farmers to idle environmentally sensitive cropland for 10 years or more. If budget cuts resulted in fewer acres enrolled in the conservation reserve, more land would be available for crop production. The result would be a modest reduction in food prices,” he wrote.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wheat Market news

Chicago--Projected U.S. wheat ending stocks for 2011/12 are raised 90 million bushels this month with higher expected imports and lower expected food use and exports. Imports are raised 10 million bushels with larger supplies in Canada.

Food use is projected 5 million bushels lower in line with revisions to 2010/11 based on the latest and final U.S. Bureau of Census mill grind estimates and reflecting reduced prospects for per capita flour consumption during calendar year 2011. Exports for 2011/12 are projected 75 million bushels lower with larger supplies and exports expected for Canada and the EU-27. Global wheat for 2011/12 are projected 7.6 million tons higher mostly on larger beginning stocks in Canada and increased production for Canada, EU-27, and Ukraine.

Beginning stocks for Canada are raised 1.3 million tons and production is raised 2.5 million tons, both reflecting the latest estimates from Statistics Canada. EU-27 production is raised 2.3 million tons with increases for Germany, Romania, France, Spain, and Bulgaria as harvest reports and revisions to official estimates to indicate higher yields. Production for Ukraine is raised 1.0 million tons based on the latest harvest reports.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Just in from Washington

Corn Crop Pegged Down 3 Percent in September Crop Report

Washington--Corn production is forecast at 12.5 billion bushels, down 3 percent from the August forecast but up fractionally from 2010, according to the Agriculture Department’s September Crop Production report released today.

If realized, this will be the third-largest production total on record for the United States. Based on conditions as of Sept. 1, yields are expected to average 148.1 bushels per acre, down 4.9 bushels from the Aug. 1 forecast and 4.7 bushels from 2010. If realized, this will be the lowest average yield in the United States since 2005.

Chasing cattle

Chasing cattle, originally uploaded by IdFarmBureau.

Ranchers like Jessica Wade of Downey, Idaho are getting in the last good summer rides of the season. Wade and husband Kyle spent the day moving cattle on their ranch. Jake Putnam photo

Friday, September 9, 2011

Farm Bureau Display huge hit at Fair

Farm Bureau Agricultural Display: Huge Success

Blackfoot--At the Eastern Idaho State Fair in Blackfoot the Farm Bureau Agricultural display is an irresistible stop for young families.

Bingham County Farm Bureau President Gary Judge volunteers at the Ag display and says business is brisk at the display.

“This is my first day but I have visited with others and there’s been a tremendous response. We’re starting to wonder if we can get to all of the classes with the requests we’ve had for our mobile classroom. Its been a great response and thats what we have hope for,” said Judge.

The mobile classroom was on display at the fair, interested teachers can fill out a form and bring the cow and classroom to their classroom free of charge.

The display includes a large tent of farm animals and an artificial cow that kids can milk, the displays have a very specific purpose:

“It so these kids can figure out where their food comes from,” explains Judge. “Farm Bureau purchased the cow and its set up so it can go to the different schools. If we can get the teachers that are interested in it, we can load this cow up with our little trailer and take them over to the classroom so the kids can understand where their food comes from.”

So far the experiment is working the display tent and the cow are big hits. Fair Board director Max Collard praised the Farm Bureau effort.

“We’re right in the middle of agricultural country and we value that a great deal, we want to continue that and showing what can be done in agricultural displays is evident here. The agriculture here is hands on, kids can get up close and see,” said Collard.

Mexican Millers Visit Idaho Wheat Growers

Clark Johnston, Dennis Brower, Martha Beatriz, Armando Rosales, Armando Orellana, Frank Priestley, and Blaine Jacobsen tour Southeast Idaho wheat producers, Putnam photo

Idaho Farm Bureau Hosts Mexico Wheat Buyers

Ririe--The Idaho Farm Bureau is hosting key Mexican wheat buyers who say the quality of the 2011 crop is the best they’ve seen this year.

“We visited a few growers and as the wheat came off the combines they commented that it was cleanest and most beautiful wheat they’ve seen this year,” said Idaho Farm Bureau President Frank Priestley who hosted the delegation.

The Farm Bureau is hosting buyers Armando Rosales and Martha Beatriz with hopes of making permanent ties with the powerful Bimbo food group of Mexico, Bimbo is the 4th largest food corporation in the world while Idaho ranks 4th in U.S. wheat production.

Their visit to Idaho has a sense of urgency because a drought in Mexico has has cut deep into their supply, and they’re looking for quality wheat to make up for the shortfall.

“Mexico has to import wheat and the drought has put pressure on the market,” said Armando Orellana, of the Idaho Trade office in Guadalajara. “ So people like the buyers with us today have been buying wheat from Canada and other states. So we’re very happy to have them here. Again supply in Mexico is down from the drought and hopefully it means opportunity for growers in Idaho.

According to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture's crop production report, Idaho winter wheat yields will average 80 bushels per acre compared to 82 bu. last year. It’s the same situation for spring wheat (76 bu. versus 78 a year ago) and spring barley (90 bu. versus 92 bu.)

Despite the numbers, quality is good in a tight market and it’s having an impact in Idaho, The buyers want to inspect the crop with the hopes of buying wheat to supplement their supply.

“All of the Southern States are going to be short on their wheat, and of course Mexico is very short on wheat this year,” said Dennis Brower, Marketing Director of the Idaho Farm Bureau. “The crop they have harvested is going to be very good quality but the number of bushels and tonnage is way down. We think its a good opportunity to get some additional contracts.”

The United States is well positioned to take advantage of the Texas and Mexican drought, according to Clark Johnston, a grain marketer with Agrisource/JC Management, who also was part of the touring delegation.

“We have good varieties. But what they’re impressed with is the size of the kernels, the Kernels have been plump and the grain has been clean and they saw it first hand, they’re not seeing that out of other areas. They’ve seen a lot of dockage and the controlled environment of our wheat is a big deal,” said Johnston.

“My estimation is that this is the best time for the buyers to visit. We want to attract their business so we can export more from Idaho, they are key in all of this,” said Orellana.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Just in!

Digital Cameras Open New View of the West

Cheyenne--An Agriculture Department aerial photography survey of 38,000 wildfire-burned acres in Idaho has provided what is believed to be the first evidence that the invasive leafy spurge weed is displacing seedlings of native mountain big sagebrush. Terry Booth, a rangeland specialist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research ServiceRangeland Resources Research Unit in Cheyenne, Wyo., designed the survey using a technique he developed called Very Large Scale Aerial imagery. The survey of Idaho’s “Deep Fire Burn” was done with two cameras at different resolutions aboard a Moyes-Bailey Dragonfly two-seat, light-sport airplane flying just over 300 feet over the area.

When supplemented by ground-based methods, VLSA can be used for early detection of invasive species that might threaten native plant populations. Pesticides and biological-control insects were used to control leafy spurge before and after the wildfire. But the survey, done three years after the fire, showed that leafy spurge still managed to expand in drainage areas and up canyon slopes.

ARS news

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wades move cattle

Wades move cattle, originally uploaded by IdFarmBureau.

Kyle and Jessica Wade move cattle on their Downey Ranch on Wednesday afternoon. The Wades are members of the Idaho Farm Bureau's Young Farmers & Ranchers.

Just in!

USDA Announces Harvest Prices for 2011 Crop Year

Small Grains and Canola Revenue Products

SPOKANE-- USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced approved harvest prices for 2011 crop year for revenue protection plans of insurance within the Common Crop Insurance Policy for wheat, barley and fall canola and rapeseed in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington as applicable.

Harvest prices for spring canola and Alaska barley will be announced in early October.





Barley (Alaska)


TBD approx. 10/1/11
















TBD approx. 10/1/11




(set equal to Projected Price)




(set equal to Projected Price)










Wheat (Alaska)




For producers who purchased a 2011 crop year Multi-Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI) Revenue Protection and Revenue Protection with Harvest Price Exclusion policies, the harvest price is used to determine the calculated revenue. The harvest price is multiplied by the appraised and/or harvested production to determine the calculated revenue. The calculated revenue is subtracted from the final revenue guarantee to determine possible indemnities (insurance losses).

Producers should contact their insurance agent to learn additional program details related to these price announcements.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Just in!

Safe Meat Cooking Practices Remain a Mystery to Many

Washington--Approximately 80 percent of adults do not use a thermometer to determine doneness of hamburgers or poultry burgers when cooking, according to new poll results released by the American Meat Institute. Just 19 percent of home cooks use an instant read thermometer to determine that burgers are safely cooked and ready to eat. Nearly three-quarters of adults who cook hamburgers or poultry burgers incorrectly rely on sight to determine doneness; 57 percent incorrectly rely on cooking time (percentages add up to more than 100 because respondents could select more than one answer).

The numbers are even more dismal for adults between the ages of 18 and 34, many of whom prepare food for small children at home. Only 13 percent of them use a thermometer to determine when hamburgers or poultry burgers are properly cooked.

Just 20 percent of adults surveyed were aware that hamburgers should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit for safe consumption; about 40 percent mistakenly believe that hamburgers should be cooked to a temperature less than 160 degrees F.

September is National Food Safety Education Month. The goal of the annual campaign is to heighten awareness regarding the importance of food safety education.

Marketwatch article

Friday, September 2, 2011

Cattle News

Research Blends Crops and Livestock Grazing on Same Land

Lincoln--Integrated crop and livestock researchlooking for ways to use the same piece of land to grow crops and also graze cattleis under way at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

UNL crop and livestock specialists are working together to test the feasibility of grazing cattle on various forages planted in rotation between proso millet and wheat on dryland plots at the ag lab north of Sidney.

From a livestock producer’s perspective, grazing such a forage crop would allow a herd to utilize the cropland for a month or so before the next crop is planted, giving native pastures a break from grazing pressure.

From a dryland farmer’s perspective, it would be an opportunity to earn some extra income by reducing the fallow time in a crop rotation. It’s also cheaper to fence the field temporarily and move cattle in to graze, than cutting and baling forage and moving it to pastures to feed the herd.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln news release

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Just in!

USDA: Net Farm Income Should Reach Record $103.6 Billion

Washington--U.S. net farm income should reach a record $103.6 billion this year, according to an updated report released Tuesday by the Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service. This represents a 31 percent jump over last year, with ERS citing higher crop and livestock prices as reasons for the big gain. ERS pegged 2010 net farm income at $79.1 billion.

In its February estimate, ERS forecast net farm income for 2011 at $97.3 billion.

The ERS report Farm Income and Costs: 2011 Farm Sector Income Forecast notes that crop receipts are expected to rise by more than 19 percent in 2011 as large increases are expected across a number of crop categories. Livestock receipts are expected to rise nearly 16 percent, led by strong sales of dairy, meat animals and turkeys. Many different crop and livestock categories are expected to achieve record high sales.

Feed crop receipts are expected to increase almost 37 percent, achieving a record level in 2011. Sales of corn for grain, which are expected to account for almost 86 percent of 2011 feed crop receipts, are expected to increase more than 38 percent in 2011. While the quantity of corn sold in 2011 is expected to decline less than 5 percent, this will be more than offset by an almost $2-per-bushel increase in price.

Bloomberg article

USDA Partners to Improve Rural Water Infrastructure

Six Projects in Idaho Will Improve Quality of Life and Build a Foundation for Rural Prosperity BOISE– Assistant to the Secretary for ...