Friday, September 28, 2012

USDA Grain Stocks Report Released Today
Washington--As of Sept. 1, there were 988 million bushels of corn and 169 million bushels of soybeans in storage, according to the quarterly Grain Stocks report released today by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

By Sept. 1, there were 314 million bushels of corn stored on U.S. farms, down slightly from September 2011. There was a significant decrease in off-farm corn stocks. On Sept. 1, off-farm storage facilities held 675 million bushels of corn, down 17 percent from the prior year. The U.S. corn disappearance totaled 2.16 billion bushels during the summer of 2012, down from the disappearance of 2.54 billion bushels during the same time period last year.

A similar situation is replicated in soybean stocks. As of Sept. 1, there were 169 million bushels in storage. Of these, 38.3 million bushels were stored on the farms, and 131 million bushels off the farms, a 21 percent decrease for both categories. Indicated soybean disappearance during the June-August period totaled 498 million bushels, compared to 404 million bushels disappearance during the same time frame last year.

Click here for full reports on grain stocks, small grains, eggs, peanuts, hogs and turkeys.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

State Resolutions Meeting underway in Boise

Resolution Meeting convenes in Boise
Boise--Idaho Farm Bureau Vice President Mark Trupp called the State Resolution Meeting to order just after 9:30 this morning at the Farm Bureau headquarters in Boise. 

Representatives from the five state districts attended the meeting along with field staff and Executive Vice President Rick Keller.

The resolutions approved at the IFB Annual Meeting are the result of a year-long grassroot effort, involving input from every county in Idaho.

The center piece of the Idaho Farm Bureau's annual meeting in December is the delegate resolution process. Those policy resolutions adopted by voting delegates will become IFB's 2013 policy roadmap for agriculture advocacy, city councils, county commissions, the state legislature and the U.S. Congress. 

Idaho Farm Bureau has represented grassroots agriculture since establishment in 1939, this non-profit advocacy organization supports farm families who earn their living on the farm.

At last!

Farm to Fork Movement enters local schools

Credit: Paul Boehlke/ KTVB

by Dee Sarton
Bio | Email | Follow: @
Posted on September 26, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Updated yesterday at 11:16 PM
BOISE -- Unless your school age kids have told you, you may not be aware that big changes have been underway in their school lunchrooms this fall.

More fresh fruits and vegetables, it is not just a choice your kids are offered - it is a federal requirement. 

That massive overhaul of nutrition standards for schools is designed to address the problem of childhood obesity and overall poor eating habits.

Goals shared by the Farm to Fork Movement.

School lunches are not what they used to be. Oh, lunchrooms are still a bit chaotic ...but look at the choices students have these days.

Some students, like Sam Roseberry and Hailee Stotts from Middleton High School, choose healthy all the way.  What they do not know is, they're also choosing local. 

"What do you know about peach you have in your hand? Nothing really. That it's healthy. Do you like peaches? Do you eat them a lot? Yeah. Where do you think that peach grew? Some farm somewhere. How about just a few miles from here. Really? And picked off the tree just a few days ago. Wow. Makes it more delicious."

That's music to the ears of fruit growers like Jamie Mertz and Dar Symms with Symms Fruit Ranch.

"I still have a few trees that my great grandfather planted in," Mertz says.

His family's fruit ranch dates back nearly 100 years. Even though they ship all over the world, including Taiwan, it's important to grow up local consumers and keep the Idaho market strong.

"These things are grown in their backyard, right here in Canyon county they're fresh that's my goal is to get these off of the tree and they can be in the consumers mouth and have that juice drip off their chin," Mertz said.

And of course that takes logistics- that start in the packing shed.

Symms says, "We hope people will recognize and even request Idaho fruit. It would be great if we sold more fruit in the state of Idaho."

Good for them, good for you, and good for schools and here is why: transportation costs.

Food Servcies of America ships Idaho fruit all over the U.S. but also handles local distribution.

When Idaho schools buy local, they actually save money, for example they get $3.30 off each case of peaches.

Les Jenkins with Food Services of America says,  "It's a huge savings. When you annualize whose kinds of savings that's a lot of money. Plus, the children are getting fresh picked product, healthier product."

Which helps people like Barbara Bumgardner, who has to meet new federal guidelines when she plans menus and buys food for the Middleton School District.
She thinks fresh and local produce is helping change her students' habits.

"Our students in the district are so amazing with the fruits and veggies that they eat. We frequently have to bring in a second truck load in," said Bumgardner.

Bottom line, youngsters have to eat their fruits and veggies in school and they seem to love it. So maybe jumping on board with the Farm to Fork movement by buying local and fresh is getting a boost in our local schools.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Just in from Moscow

U-Idaho Celebrates Ag Days Oct. 5-6 

MOSCOW, Idaho – College of Agricultural and Life Sciences alumni and friends, and high school students interested in learning about agricultural careers will help celebrate Ag Days on the University of Idaho campus Oct. 5 and 6.

Some 200 high school students typically attend Ag Days to participate in FFA career development events and sample the college’s academic offerings through workshops on food science, dairy management, veterinary science, horticulture and livestock judging. Others explore GPS in agriculture, family and consumer sciences and agricultural communications.


Packages for high school students range in cost from $45 to $80, which reflect options including barbecues, football game tickets and a visit to the Clearwater Corn Maze at the Lewiston Roundup Grounds that is operated by CALS students.


Sept. 30 is the deadline for high school students to sign up for Ag Days activities. Online registration is available at

Ag Days coincides this year with a full agenda of exciting Homecoming festivities at the University of Idaho. More about homecoming is online at

The 20th Annual North Idaho Chili Cookoff is planned Friday, Oct. 5, by the School of Food Science operated jointly by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and Washington State University.


The public can sample chili entries during a food and activity fair operated by student groups that will occupy the mall east of the Agricultural Science Building Friday from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.


The Ag Days Barbecue is planned from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Idaho Commons Food Court. Idaho Vandals will square off against the New Mexico State University Aggies in the ASUI/Kibbie Dome at 2 p.m. Game tickets are available by calling the U-Idaho Vandals ticket office at (208) 885-6466.


More information about Ag Days is available online at .

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Just in

Potato Growers Urged to Take Aggressive Action to Control Bacterial Ring Rot Flare-up

IDAHO FALLS–College of Agricultural and Life Sciences potato experts at the University of Idaho are reviving a task force to help growers address a flare-up of bacterial ring rot disease.

Phillip Nolte, a University of Idaho Extension seed potato specialist at Idaho Falls, said the disease is reaching levels not seen in a decade. Mainly a threat to the appearance and storage of potatoes, bacterial ring rot is not associated with any human health concerns.

“It’s a cyclic thing. We last saw problems with it in 2002, and there was an earlier flare up in the mid-1990s,” Nolte said.

Growers then controlled the disease and largely eliminated it by stepping up their sanitation practices while cutting seed during spring planting and thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting all equipment and storages between crops," Nolte said.

The same practices will control the current outbreak, Nolte said. The task force will help the potato industry, state and University of Idaho experts help growers tackle the disease and prevent the problem from becoming worse, said Nolte, who will lead the group.

Early monitoring shows that infection rates are heavy in some fields, but more monitoring is needed to determine the regional impact. Harvest will provide the most detailed information on the extent of the disease.

In cases where monitoring shows a significant problem with bacterial ring rot, Nolte said, growers will want to delay harvesting those fields until last. That’s because infected potatoes will rot in the soil and fewer will have to be sorted out before storage.

The cyclic nature of bacterial ring rot’s appearance has much to do with relaxed vigilance by both seed potato producers and commercial growers, Nolte said. “After it appears, everyone is very aware and aggressive in their sanitation programs. Then we don’t see bacterial ring rot for several years and people get complacent.”

The bacterial disease is spread to healthy tubers when a contaminated tuber leaves bacterial inoculum on potato seed cutting and handling equipment. Bacterial ring rot can remain viable in dried bacterial slime and in dried potato sap on equipment and storage surfaces for many years if they are not properly disinfected. The disease also can infect tubers but cause no symptoms, which is what makes it so difficult to prevent unless all recommended sanitation practices are aggressively followed, Nolte said.

In a publication, “Guidelines for Recognizing and Managing Bacterial Ring Rot of Potato,” prepared for growers, Nolte and Nora Olsen, a potato storage expert at the Kimberly/Twin Falls Research and Extension Center, offer cleaning and disinfection recommendations. A copy of this guide is available upon request via email from either Nolte at or Olsen at

Nolte and Olsen warn growers to take the recommendations seriously: “There are no shortcuts when dealing with BRR, the approach to eliminating this disease must be aggressive and thorough and involves sanitation practices that go far beyond what is considered to be normal clean up procedures.”

On any seed potato seed farm where the disease has been detected, Nolte recommends testing seed potatoes for BRR if they were not directly linked to diseased lots. If there is any risk that a lot was exposed to the disease it should not be used as seed.

A thorough cleaning of all potato handling equipment from harvesting to transportation and storage must be performed on all seed and commercial potato farming operations.

The next step, disinfection, requires three steps: removal of all potato debris and contaminants, washing all newly cleaned surfaces with hot water and detergent and then application of a disinfectant solution to all surfaces.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Idaho wheat exports to Mexico up 300%

By Justin Corr, KTVB
BOISE -- Some good news for Idaho wheat farmers means good news for everyone, as prices and exports are way up.
"The wheat harvest is now in, and there's good news," said Jake Putnam with the Idaho Farm Bureau.
That "good news" is wheat prices are up 10 cents per bushel over last month, and 44 cents per bushel over last year. But, Idaho farmers' gain is midwest farmers' loss, after a summer drought devastated most of their crops, including wheat. Unlike the Midwest, Idaho farmers irrigate, and don't necessarily depend on rainfall to water their crops. That's why they're seeing prices rise on one of Idaho's largest exports.
"We're getting very good prices," said Putnam. "We're going to continue to see very good prices well into the winter."
While the summer drought devastated midwest wheat, it also devastated Mexican wheat.
"Because of the Mexican harvest, and those numbers being off, they're looking to us," said Putnam. "They're buying wheat from us, because they know that we have very very good wheat."
Since the mid-90's, the Idaho Department of Commerce, the Farm Bureau, the Wheat Commission, and the governor's office have all worked to maintain relationships with millers in Mexico, and market Idaho's wheat.
"Millers down there will not do business with people they don't know," said Putnam. "They know Idahoans."
Thanks to those relationships, Idaho wheat exports to Mexico are up 300% this year. Putnam says, when the main economic driver in this state (agriculture) sees a boost, everyone does.
"If we don't get the prices that we need, then all of a sudden, they're going to be charging more for haircuts on main street," said Putnam. " So, all of agriculture is local. And, when we're doing well, main street does well."
Again, wheat is one of Idaho's top exports. In fact, Idaho is in the top five states in the nation for wheat production.
Meanwhile, Putnam says Idaho corn is doing pretty well, and will also benefit from a weak harvest in the Midwest.
As for Idaho's marquee crop, Putnam says the potato market is flooded, and prices will be down. While Idaho's spud harvest has been good, he believes it will likely be a break-even year

Friday, September 21, 2012

EPA’s Latest Action to Increase Use of Biodiesel
Washington--The Environmental Protection Agency set the 2013 volume of biodiesel products required to be included in diesel fuel markets at 1.28 billion gallons. 

The action comes under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which established the second phase of the Renewable Fuel Standards program. EISA specifies a one- billion-gallon minimum volume requirement for the biomass-based diesel category for 2012 and beyond. It also calls on EPA to increase the volume requirement after consideration of environmental, market and energy-related factors. Friday’s final action follows careful review of the many comments and additional information received since EPA proposed the volume last spring.

“Today, we are importing less foreign oil than we have in nearly two decades and we are creating jobs by producing more of our energy here at home,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Friday during a plant tour of Iowa’s AGP Biodiesel.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Capital Gains Tax Precludes Farmers from Passing Torch

Washington--The American Farm Bureau Federation today urged Congress to reform the capital gains tax because of its detriment to young and beginning farmers. In a statement submitted to the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees’ joint hearing on tax reform, AFBF said the cumbersome tax makes it difficult for current farmers to pass the torch to a new generation of agriculturalists. 

“Since approximately 40 percent of farmland is owned by individuals age 65 or older, capital gains taxes provide an additional barrier to entry for young farmers and ranchers at a time when it is already difficult for them to get into the industry,” said the AFBF statement. “Capital gains tax liabilities encourage farmers to hold onto their land rather than sell it, creating a barrier for new and expanding farms and ranches to use that land for agricultural purposes.”
The top capital gains tax rate will increase by a third on the first of the year, from 15 percent to 20 percent. Farm Bureau supports a permanent extension of the 15 percent rate.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

2012 Harvest

Potatoes On a Roll
Shelly--The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service issued its initial potato forecast July 11 of 345,000 acres planted in Idaho.
That’s up 8% from the 320,000 acres planted in 2011, according to the report.
Nationwide, potato acreage is expected to be about 5% higher this year, with total planted acreage estimated at 1.15 million. The figure includes plantings from all four season, with fall being about 1 million acres alone.
The July 11 estimate was based on mail surveys and follow-up phone interviews with growers, said Brad Early, an agricultural statistician with the service’s Boise office.
The USDA will issue an objective crop estimate Nov. 9 based on digging three hills of potatoes in two locations in selected fields just before harvest. The results are used to develop per-acre yields, he said.
Bryan Searle of Shelly says the norkotah crop is looking good with high yields and packouts. He says he's looking forward to the russet burbanks.

Just in

Farm Aid Promotes Biotech Labeling    

Hershey--Mandatory labeling for foods made with biotech ingredients will be a top issue at Saturday’s Farm Aid concert in Hershey, Pa.

The Farm Aid board, which includes musicians Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews, has partnered with labeling advocate Just Label It and will encourage concert-goers to sign Just Label It’s petition urging the Food and Drug Administration to make biotech food labeling mandatory.

Just Label It says its petition already has the most signatures—1.2 million—on a food petition in FDA history.

Farm Bureau opposes mandatory labeling, except in instances where sound science has shown a consumer health concern. The worry is that labeling a food with biotech ingredients will mislead consumers to believe the product is harmful.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Just in

Spud Harvest in Full Swing
Shelly--The 2012 Idaho Spud Harvest in full swing across Southern Idaho. Bryan Searle is digging norkotahs on his farm outside of Shelly. The fresh pack potatoes were dug and processed this morning, shipped this afternoon and will be in East coast restaurants by Thursday.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Alfalfa seed harvest

Seed Harvest nearly done in Oneida County
Malad--Alfalfa seed harvest is in full swing outside of Woodruff, Idaho Monday afternoon. Dave and Sharon Harris are putting the final touches on the seed...they hope to start their 4th cutting of hay in two weeks.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Just in from Parma

Idaho Governor Butch Otter shares grapes with a bystander at the University of Idaho annual pomology fruit field day in Parma.

, Idaho – People lined up to taste familiar and exotic fruits at the Parma Research and Extension Center's annual pomology program held this morning at the research facility campus. Table grapes, peaches, nectarines, apples, quinces, Asian pears, persimmons, jujube, haskaps and mulberries number among the crops researchers grow at Parma. 

The pomology program at Parma is led by professor Essie Fallahi and draws hundreds of visitors each year. Those attending got to explore the fruits, variety trials of apples and other commercial crops. Researchers talked about new production methods, including use of growth bioregulators and irrigation techniques.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Groundwater Even More Important in Drought
Washington--The America Farm Bureau Federation encouraged the public to take action to protect public health and the environment on Protect Your Groundwater Day, Sept. 11, and every day. 

Eighty-eight million Americans rely on groundwater supplied by community water systems and another 42 million depend on their own household wells. The groundwater that feeds those systems and wells is even more precious during a drought such as the one that more than half of the U.S. has experienced this summer.

“…Drought has put a strain on many household water wells—sometimes resulting in a reduction or loss of water flow as the water table drops,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. Conservation of groundwater is more important than ever, he said.

Protect Your Groundwater Day, sponsored by the National Ground Water Association, is an occasion for citizens to ACT: Acknowledge the issue, Consider how it applies to you and then Take action. Tips on protecting groundwater and taking care of water wells are available at

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

‘Farm Bill Now’ Rally Spotlights Need for Passage
Washington--Agricultural, conservation, hunger-relief, energy and other organizations are joining together today to call on Congress to pass a new, five-year farm bill without further delay. American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman and Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, are emceeing the “Farm Bill Now” rally being held on Capitol Hill today at 11 a.m. EDT.

“We appreciate all of the work done to date by Congress and look forward to working with the House to get a farm bill passed and into conference as soon as possible,” said Stallman. “In light of the drought, it is imperative for America’s farmers that a farm bill is passed this year.”

The Farm Bill Now coalition includes 80 groups representing a cross-section of the economy and public interests.
livestream of the event will be available.

Just in from Canyon County

2012 Hop Harvest
Wilder--Harvest is underway at Obendorf Hop Farm near Wilder.  More than 125 employees working two shifts  and will cut, dry and pack 900 acres of hops through next month.  

Grower Brock Obendorf says the 2012 crop looks good; hops are used in brewing of beer. (Photo and story by Steve Ritter)

USDA Extends Application Deadline for Dairy Margin Protection Program

Re-enrollment Continues Through June 22, Dairy producers urged to act now WASHINGTON– U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announ...