Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Just in

Farm Bureau Praises Trump’s WOTUS Action

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 28, 2017 – The following may be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall:

“President Trump’s executive order to ditch the Waters of the U.S. rule is a welcome relief to farmers and ranchers across the country today.

“The flawed WOTUS rule has proven to be nothing more than a federal land grab, aimed at telling farmers and ranchers how to run their businesses. The Environmental Protection Agency failed to listen to farmers’ and ranchers’ concerns when drafting the rule and instead created widespread confusion for agriculture. Under the rule, the smallest pond or ditch could be declared a federal waterway.

“Farmers and ranchers have been calling for a common-sense approach to regulatory reform, and today the Trump administration responded to that call. EPA has too long been characterized by regulatory overreach that disregards the positive conservation efforts of farmers and threatens their very way of life. Today’s action is as much a beginning as an end, and there is much work to do to ensure that any revised rule is transparent and fair for America’s farmers and ranchers.”

Monday, February 27, 2017

Just in from Washington


CRAPO, RISCH, MCCASKILL BILL WOULD PROVIDE REGULATORY RELIEF TO FARMERS, WATER USERS

Washington – Idaho Senator Mike Crapo and Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill led a bipartisan group of senators in introducing legislation that would eliminate a costly and redundant U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation affecting pesticide users.  S. 340, the Sensible Environmental Protection Act (SEPA), seeks to clarify congressional intent concerning the federal regulation of pesticides and codify longstanding interpretation of regulatory statutes after a 2009 court ruling imposed an additional layer of needless red tape on pesticide applicators.  The bill is also cosponsored by Idaho Senator Jim Risch.  

For more than 30 years, the EPA has implemented a comprehensive and rigorous regulatory structure for pesticide applications under what is commonly known as FIFRA, or the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.   FIFRA governs the sale, distribution and use of pesticides, with the goal of protecting human health and the environment.  The statute requires pesticides to be evaluated (undergoing more than 100 tests) and registered with EPA, and for users to comply with agency-approved, uniform labeling standards. Unfortunately, despite this federal regulatory framework already in place, a 2009 court decision forced EPA to begin requiring Clean Water Act (CWA) permits for certain applications of pesticides in or near water.  This duplicative regulatory requirement went into effect in 2011. 

“For too long, a variety of stakeholders in Idaho and across the nation have been subjected to unnecessary and duplicative federal regulations that add compliance costs and increase the threat of litigation,” said Crapo.  “SEPA will restore the proper regulatory regime for the use of pesticides Congress intended and provide much needed regulatory relief for our farmers, irrigators, pest control authorities, forest managers and others.” 

"Idaho businesses, farmers, irrigation districts, and many more are being disproportionately impacted by these redundant EPA and other federal regulations” said Risch. “This legislation would take another step to reduce red tape and bureaucracy.”

SEPA clarifies that CWA permits are not required for pesticide applications in or near water.  The bill also requires EPA to report back to Congress on whether the FIFRA process can be improved to better protect human health and the environment.

As a result of this dual regulation, EPA has estimated an additional 365,000 pesticide users—including farmers, ranchers, state agencies, cities, counties, mosquito control districts, water districts, pesticide applicators and forest managers that perform 5.6 million pesticide applications annually—were  required to obtain CWA permits.  This is nearly double the number of entities previously subjected to permitting requirements, costing more than $50 million a year. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Just in


Farm Bureau Hails Pruitt Confirmation

WASHINGTON – The following may be attributed to Zippy Duvall, president, American Farm Bureau Federation:

“Scott Pruitt’s confirmation to lead the Environmental Protection Agency will bring a breath of fresh air to the post. America’s farmers and ranchers look forward to working with Administrator Pruitt as he leads the EPA with a welcome level of common sense in the important job of protecting the environment.

“For too long, farmers and ranchers have been victims of EPA’s harsh regulatory overreach. Farmers are conservationists to the core and we want to play a positive, cooperative role in protecting the environment we rely on to produce food for this nation.

“In his position as attorney general in Oklahoma, Pruitt stood up for common-sense, effective regulation that protects the environment and the rights of the regulated community. We’re optimistic that he will retain those same values as administrator and we look forward to working with him. But what we truly look forward to is working with someone at EPA who understands how farmers and ranchers care for our nation’s natural resources each and every day.”

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Immigration reform--now


Idaho Ag leaders call for Immigration reform

BOISE- Idaho Ag leaders are calling for meaningful immigration reform in Congress saying President Trump’s anti-immigrant policies could hurt the state economy.

At a news conference at the Idaho Farm Bureau in Boise, leaders said that migrant workers account for hundreds of millions of dollars in the State Economy.

“Idaho’s economic vitality rides on the shoulders of the immigrant work force, many working in agriculture, that pay taxes,” said Bob Naerebout of the Idaho Dairymen of Idaho.

More than 8,000 immigrants work in the Dairy sector, which makes up 33% of all agri-business in the state. Naerebout blasted the administrations plan to deport workers saying it would be disastrous to the economy and rack up even more national debt.

“It costs between $11 and $22-thousand dollars to deport a single illegal worker, if theres 12-million illegals we’re looking at $150-billion to deport workers in this country, it’s fiscally irresponsible, yet its one of President Trumps campaign promises.” said Naerebout.

"Immigrants in Idaho pay more than $460 million in taxes every year," Naerebout says. "They have more than $1.5 billion in spending power and they’ve started 4,000 businesses in Idaho.” Including agriculture those businesses employ more than 14,000 people and affect every sector of Idaho’s economy.

Braden Jensen of the Idaho Farm Bureau said theres a sound economic solution: a year-round guest work visa program for workers.

"Operations like dairies require year-round labor and do not qualify for seasonal guest worker programs and of all the Ag sectors they’re hurting the worse, they need year-round Visas right now just to stay in business,” said Jensen.

By offering year-round visas to immigrant workers, leaders say we can fill employment vacancies in all of Idaho's largest industries, low paying jobs that get harder to fill with a shrinking work force.

"Many people's jobs stand on the shoulders of foreign-born labor," Naerebout said. "We should be building these people up. We should be looking at how we can help them in this country and how we move this country forward.”

Pastor Marc Schlegel-Preheim of the Hyde Park Mennonite fellowship got involved with the issue because this issue goes beyond political ideology.

“Millions of people are painfully caught in our broken immigration system, we have families that are pulled apart and some with different immigration status within their families. We encourage strong families as a nation but this immigration system is breaking up families and fear continues to grow. Congress needs to address immigration reform now,” said Schlegel Preheim.

All the leaders addressed concerns about immigrants diverting benefits from Americans saying that immigrants have paid $2 billion more into Medicare than they’ve drawn down.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Just in


Leadership Committee Donates to McDonald House

Boise--The Idaho Farm Bureau’s Women’s Leadership Committee met at Boise's Ronald McDonald House this morning with gifts and a big laminated check that they donated to the House and families of sick children.

The mission of the Ronald McDonald House is to provide a home away from home for families of sick children getting medical treatment at Saint Lukes Medical Center in Boise.

Executive Director Mindy Plumlee says 539 families spent time at the facility this past year and they're booked just about every week.

"This money will be used in comfort and care of these families staying here and we thank you,” said Plumlee. "We always welcome the Farm Bureau Women's donation and their gracious gift of food and household items because it means so much to families staying here.”

Womens Leadership Chairman Judy Woody explained that the donations came from all over the state. “This check is a little more than a thousand dollars, the money comes from farm families that care very much about the Ronald McDonald house and everything you do here,” said Woody.

The Ronald McDonald House, located on Main St. near St. Luke's Hospital, started back in 1988 and provides affordable alternative housing for out-of-town families with sick children.

“We're happy to help these struggling families and we want the people of Idaho to know that we have the best, most plentiful and cheapest food supply in the world and we're sharing that good fortune with those who need it, and they need it now.” said Chairwoman Woody.

Plumlee noted that the Ronald McDonald House and Leadership Committee has a twenty-year bond that continues to grow each year. “We’ll spend it all on food, and things needed to sustain the families during their stay here,” she said.

The McDonald House is a landmark in Boise. It was built in the early 1900s then purchased by the late J.R. Simplot for the Ronald McDonald Foundation. Families are charged a minimal rate and the balance is paid with public and private donations to the house, and families unable to pay are never turned away.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Just in


Jerome Student Wins Women's Leadership Committee Speech Contest
Boise--15 year old Kaitlin Mirkin of Jerome won the Women's Leadership Committee Speech Contest this morning at the Idaho Statehouse.
"I grew up on dairy and I do a lot of public speaking because of  4-H and FFA. I know this labor issue first hand and I've had a lot of practice. Its a matter of going out and doing the speech a lot, doing it for different groups, family, friends and doing it in front of a mirror also helps," said Mirkin
Mirkin's speech captured the statehouse audience by addressing the economic importance of the migrant work force. She said that milk prices could double if we lose  migrant workers. "I'm not paying upwards of $6 for a gallon of milk, I can't afford and I don't think the people of Idaho can afford it. I don't think we realize the importance of the migrant labor force and the impacts on Idaho agriculture across the board," said Mirkin.
Idaho Lieutenant Governor Brad Little welcomed the 6 contestants to the West Wing of the Senate. He emphasized the importance of communication in agriculture setting goals and urged students to not only farm, but to tell the world about their farming operations.
Mirkin won $150, she'll use the money for her college fund. All the contestants went on a special guided tour of the Idaho Statehouse after the contest.

Food Check Out Day



Women's Committee kicks off Food Check Out Day at the Idaho Statehouse

Boise--Monday, February 20th is Food Check-Out Day at the Idaho Statehouse.

This 20th day of February marks the number of work days from the first of year it takes to pay for a year's worth of food for the average family.

In observance of Food Check-Out day, the Idaho Farm Bureau’s Women’s Leadership Committee packed bag lunches and delivered them to the Statehouse to remind lawmakers where their food comes from and how cheap it’s produced.

It takes the average American 77 days to earn enough income to pay their federal taxes; 62 days to pay for housing and household operation expenses; 52 days to cover health and medical care costs; 39 days for state and local taxes; and 36 days for recreation, clothing and accessories.

“The snack bags are made up of different Idaho grown foods that representative of commodities grown here like potatoes, wheat, milk and fruit. For the first time we packed trout jerky, grown in Twin Falls said Judy Woody, chairman of the Idaho Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee.

USDA says the average American spends about $2,400 on food consumed at home and in restaurants. Farmers get about 22 cents of every dollar spent on food in this country. But there are additional costs things like wages, materials for production, processing, marketing, transportation and distribution of the nations food supply.

"Todays event is a reminder of where our food comes from and its important to note that only two percent of our population actually farms, produces the food, fiber and fuel in this country," said Woody. 

While Americans spend slightly less than 10 percent of their disposable income for food, those figures are considerably higher abroad: Japan, 14 percent; Israel, 20 percent; China, 26 percent; the Philippines, 38 percent; and Indonesia, 55 percent.

Back in 1980, farmers received 31 cents of every dollar spent but it took Americans a longer time to pay for it. In 1970, it took American families an extra two weeks to pay for their annual food supply.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Just in


CRAPO, RISCH, MCCASKILL BILL WOULD PROVIDE REGULATORY RELIEF TO FARMERS, WATER USERS
Duplicative EPA regulations that are costly and burdensome, yet provide no additional environmental protections

Washington–Idaho Senator Mike Crapo and Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill led a bipartisan group of senators in introducing legislation that would eliminate a costly and redundant U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation affecting pesticide users.  S. 340, the Sensible Environmental Protection Act (SEPA), seeks to clarify congressional intent concerning the federal regulation of pesticides and codify longstanding interpretation of regulatory statutes after a 2009 court ruling imposed an additional layer of needless red tape on pesticide applicators.  The bill is also cosponsored by Idaho Senator Jim Risch.  

For more than 30 years, the EPA has implemented a comprehensive and rigorous regulatory structure for pesticide applications under what is commonly known as FIFRA, or the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.   FIFRA governs the sale, distribution and use of pesticides, with the goal of protecting human health and the environment.  The statute requires pesticides to be evaluated (undergoing more than 100 tests) and registered with EPA, and for users to comply with agency-approved, uniform labeling standards. Unfortunately, despite this federal regulatory framework already in place, a 2009 court decision forced EPA to begin requiring Clean Water Act (CWA) permits for certain applications of pesticides in or near water.  This duplicative regulatory requirement went into effect in 2011. 

“For too long, a variety of stakeholders in Idaho and across the nation have been subjected to unnecessary and duplicative federal regulations that add compliance costs and increase the threat of litigation,” said Crapo.  “SEPA will restore the proper regulatory regime for the use of pesticides Congress intended and provide much needed regulatory relief for our farmers, irrigators, pest control authorities, forest managers and others.” 

"Idaho businesses, farmers, irrigation districts, and many more are being disproportionately impacted by these redundant EPA and other federal regulations” said Risch. “This legislation would take another step to reduce red tape and bureaucracy.”

SEPA clarifies that CWA permits are not required for pesticide applications in or near water.  The bill also requires EPA to report back to Congress on whether the FIFRA process can be improved to better protect human health and the environment.

As a result of this dual regulation, EPA has estimated an additional 365,000 pesticide users—including farmers, ranchers, state agencies, cities, counties, mosquito control districts, water districts, pesticide applicators and forest managers that perform 5.6 million pesticide applications annually—were  required to obtain CWA permits.  This is nearly double the number of entities previously subjected to permitting requirements, costing more than $50 million a year. 

In addition to Sens. Crapo, Risch, Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana), Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota), Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) and John Thune (R-South Dakota) joined in introducing the measure.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Just in





House Passes Resolution to Halt BLM Planning Rule

Washington—The House on Tuesday approved a Farm Bureau-supported resolution (H.J. Res. 44) to stop an Obama administration rule that would weaken the influence of local and regional officials on Bureau of Land Management decisions.

Dubbed “Planning 2.0,” the rule incorporates numerous Obama-era presidential and secretarial orders along with internal agency guidance and policy documents.

“The rule demonstrated a clear overreach by the BLM, in spite of the agency’s claim that the ‘primary goal of the proposed rulemaking process is to improve the agency’s ability to respond to environmental, economic and social changes in a timely manner,’” the American Farm Bureau Federation and 12 Western state Farm Bureaus wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

According to the groups, under the pretext of “climate change” and “landscape-scale” management, the rule will lock local and state officials out of BLM’s decision-making process, ultimately allowing “implementation of unilateral management schemes, mitigation, adaptive management and other internal agency pronouncements.”

In addition, they wrote, Planning 2.0 flies in the face of the Federal Land Policy Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976, in which Congress recognized the importance of the public domain to the future of Western states. Through defined multiple-use principles, Congress mandated that these public lands be used to meet the country’s need for domestic sources of food, fiber, energy, timber and more.

FLPMA also recognizes state and local governments as cooperative agencies.

However, under Planning 2.0, BLM must work with cooperating agencies only “as feasible and appropriate given their interests, scope of expertise and the constraints of their resources.” (Sec. 1610.3-1)

“This language clearly devalues local input. In addition, it subjects local recommendations to bureaucratic scrutiny and bias, not congressional intent,” the Farm Bureaus wrote.

The groups also took issue with how Planning 2.0 was put in place.

“BLM did not fully evaluate the impacts on consumers, public lands-dependent ranching families, energy, mining, recreation and rural communities across the American West. Additionally, new definitions and requirements created by the rule exceed statutory authorities and multiple-use mandates established by FLPMA and the National Environmental Policy Act,” they noted.

A similar resolution has been introduced in the Senate.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Just in


House Committee Approves Regulatory Transparency Bill

Washington—The House Government Reform and Oversight Committee on Tuesday passed Farm Bureau-supported legislation that would ensure both the public and Congress have increased access to federal agency communications beyond those published in the Federal Register.

The Regulatory Integrity Act of 2017 would require federal regulatory agencies to maintain written, electronic and social media information on pending regulatory actions. The bill would require federal agencies to maintain all public communications associated with guidance, policy statements, directives, rule making and adjudications for a period of no less than 5 years.


The measure also incorporates language that would prohibit agencies from advocating on behalf of their own proposed rules. The language comes from an amendment offered by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) that was included in the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017 (H.R. 5), which was passed by the House earlier this year. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

2017 IFBF Legislative and Commodity Conference

Strolling Buffet draws full house at IFBF Legislative Conference

Boise—The buffet tables were stacked with roast beef, ham at Boise’s Riverside Hotel as more than 200 sat down to dinner. 

The Idaho Farm Bureau’s ‘strolling buffet’ is an annual event where farmers get to dine with  lawmakers from their districts.

“There’s no better way to talk with our lawmakers,” said Idaho Farm Bureau President  Bryan Searle of Shelley. “A phone call or letter is good, but dinner is better. Our Lawmakers like the event because they get to visit with people from back home. This is a fun night but its also grass root politics at its best.”

Theres no speeches at the strolling buffet, no podiums, just a handshake and a smile at the door from Farm Bureau President Searle and Vice President Mark Trupp. The buffet is a unique because of the fun, social nature but also because there’s a concerted effort to leave pressure politics at the Statehouse.

Each table was marked by Legislative Districts. Bureau members visit the buffet table and then sit at their 'district' table and have the opportunity to break bread with their representatives. Lawmakers in turn get caught up on the news from home and issues on constituent’s minds.

“We’re a grassroots organization and this is a grassroots get together, there’s nothing like it in Idaho. Our lawmakers get to bounce ideas off our members and our members can ask lawmakers anything they want, it works and we’ve been at it a long time,” added Searle.

Dinner conversations were lively, with issues ranging from big game depredation to infrastructure funding.


The buffet  dinner was a huge success drawing even more lawmakers than last year, all in all 57 Lawmakers and 20 guests were among the estimated 200 attending.  Over a hundred farmers attended with all 44 counties represented.

Just in



CRAPO, MCCASKILL INTRODUCE BILL TO PROVIDE REGULATORY RELIEF TO FARMERS, WATER USERS
Senators say duplicative EPA regulations on pesticides prove costly and burdensome, yet provide no additional environmental protections

Washington – Idaho Senator Mike Crapo and Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill led a bipartisan group of senators in introducing legislation that would eliminate a costly and redundant U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation affecting pesticide users.  S. 340, the Sensible Environmental Protection Act (SEPA), seeks to clarify congressional intent concerning the federal regulation of pesticides and codify longstanding interpretation of regulatory statutes after a 2009 court ruling imposed an additional layer of needless red tape on pesticide applicators.  

For more than 30 years, the EPA has implemented a comprehensive and rigorous regulatory structure for pesticide applications under what is commonly known as FIFRA, or the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.   FIFRA governs the sale, distribution and use of pesticides, with the goal of protecting human health and the environment.  The statute requires pesticides to be evaluated (undergoing more than 100 tests) and registered with EPA, and for users to comply with agency-approved, uniform labeling standards. Unfortunately, despite this federal regulatory framework already in place, a 2009 court decision forced EPA to begin requiring Clean Water Act (CWA) permits for certain applications of pesticides in or near water.  This duplicative regulatory requirement went into effect in 2011. 

“For too long, a variety of stakeholders in Idaho and across the nation have been subjected to unnecessary and duplicative federal regulations that add compliance costs and increase the threat of litigation,” said Crapo.  “SEPA will restore the proper regulatory regime for the use of pesticides Congress intended and provide much needed regulatory relief for our farmers, irrigators, pest control authorities, forest managers and others.” 

“If there’s one thing that drives people nuts about government, it’s unnecessary, duplicative regulation,” said McCaskill.  “Rules of the road are a good idea to keep Missouri’s communities healthy and safe—but I think Missouri’s producers will tell you that one set of rules is enough.”

SEPA clarifies that CWA permits are not required for pesticide applications in or near water.  The bill also requires EPA to report back to Congress on whether the FIFRA process can be improved to better protect human health and the environment.
As a result of this dual regulation, EPA has estimated an additional 365,000 pesticide users—including farmers, ranchers, state agencies, cities, counties, mosquito control districts, water districts, pesticide applicators and forest managers that perform 5.6 million pesticide applications annually—were  required to obtain CWA permits.  This is nearly double the number of entities previously subjected to permitting requirements, costing more than $50 million a year. 

Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana), Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota), Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) and John Thune (R-South Dakota) joined Crapo and McCaskill in introducing the measure.

Monday, February 13, 2017

FFA Fundraiser



Nampa--Since 2011 Idaho FFA has raised over $250-thousand dollars ( mostly for college scholarships) through the annual Tractor Raffle promotion.  For $10.00 people can by a ticket for a the chance to win a restored tractor. This years tractor is a Allis-Chalmers 5050 with a bucket and scraper blade included.   FFA members from three different Treasure Valley chapters were busy last week at the Ag Forum in Nampa selling tickets for a chance to win the tractor. To donate contact your local FFA member.

Just in from Washington



AFBF Supports BLM Planning 2.0 Disapproval Resolution Passage


Washington—The American Farm Bureau Federation is calling on the U.S. Senate to follow the House’s lead in passing a disapproval resolution regarding the Bureau of Land Management’s Planning 2.0 rule.

This week the House passed a resolution against a Bureau of Land Management rule pushed through in the final weeks of the Obama administration. AFBF congressional relations director Ryan Yates says the rule—known as Planning 2.0—would negatively impact federal land-use planning processes.

“Unfortunately, while the BLM suggested that they were looking to find a way to expand the ability for the public and local governments and affected users to better weigh in and comment on land management decisions, the rule did the exact opposite,” said Yates.

Yates says there were several problems with rule that prompted the House to act.

“There was broad consensus in the debate that the process for developing the rule was flawed, fundamentally the provisions within the rule were flawed and outside of the scope of law, and ultimately passed a bipartisan resolution of disapproval,” explained Yates.

The Senate must pass its own disapproval resolution before the regulation can be rescinded. Yates says the bipartisan vote in the House could lead to a timely vote in the Senate, but farmers and ranchers need to let their senators know how the rule will hurt them.

“Members from the United States Senate need to hear from their constituents that this BLM rule is flawed and needs to be disapproved, so we’ll be reaching out to our friends in the Senate and urging a yes vote on that resolution of disapproval,” said Yates.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Beef night at the Steelheads


Beef Night on the Ice
Boise -- The Idaho Beef Council has teamed up with the Idaho Steelheads, the Idaho Foodbank and Agri-Beef Co. to bring you Beef Night at the Steelheads this Saturday, February 11th
Beef Night on the Ice includes fun contests, beefy giveaways, and half-off hamburgers and hot dogs all night long. 
In addition to the fun activities, Idaho’s beef industry and Agri Beef Co. will be celebrating the millionth serving of beef through the Beef Counts program. Beef Counts is a first of its kind program that gives hungry Idahoans access to high-quality, nutritious beef through the Idaho Foodbank. For each individual donation, Agri Beef provides a 50 percent match. For this game only, $1 from each ticket sold will be donated to beef counts. Industry partners include the Idaho Beef Council, the Idaho Cattle Association, the Idaho Cattlewomen’s Association and Agri-Beef Company.
In addition to the millionth serving celebration, spectators attending the hockey game will have the opportunity to join in a one-night only Beef Counts fundraiser where the winner will take home a Traeger grill and a year’s supply of beef. Raffle tickets will be available for purchase on the main concourse before and throughout the game until the beginning of the third period. 

Tickets are still available to this one-of-a-kind game. Visit http://www.idahosteelheads.com/ for tickets. Don’t miss the tastiest and most-fun game of the season. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Just in



‘FB Member Benefit Ambassadors’ Share Experiences on Social Media

Washington--A select group of American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers members who use Cat equipment on their farms and ranches will serve as “FB Member Benefit Ambassadors” in the coming year. The Farm Bureau members will share their positive experiences using Cat brand products and services on social media.
Ambassadors for 2017 – the inaugural year of the program – are Miles and Sarah Kuschel of Minnesota and Jonathan Dinsmore of Arizona.
The Kuschels (Rocking K Ranch) raise beef cattle and hay. The Dinsmores (Dismore Farms) grow produce including lettuce and broccoli, as well as alfalfa hay and Durum wheat for pasta.  
Follow the hashtags #CatAgriculture and #FBPays on social media to learn more about farm and ranch life with the Kuschels and Dinsmores.   
Eligible Farm Bureau members in participating states save up to $2,500 when buying or leasing qualifying Cat wheel loaders, skid steers, backhoes, excavators and more.
The YF&R program includes men and women between the ages of 18 and 35. The program’s goals are to help younger Farm Bureau members learn more about agriculture, network with other farmers and realize their full potential as leaders in agriculture and Farm Bureau.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Just in


American Farm Bureau Supports SCOTUS nominee

Washington—The American Farm Bureau welcomed the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump and is calling on Congress to confirm the nomination. AFBF Senior Counsel for Public Policy Danielle Quist says Gorsuch’s approach to law will benefit farmers and ranchers.

“He looks very closely at what the words of the Constitution or federal statutes and regulations, what they actually say, in a very plain-meaning, ordinary type of way, and that’s how he interprets the law. That’s a breath of fresh air on the federal bench and very much in line with Justice Scalia’s approach to legal problems as well,” said Quist.

Quist says Gorsuch’s record shows a healthy skepticism of the complex and burdensome regulations that farmers and ranchers deal with.

“He’s not quick to defer to how the government interprets the laws they’re supposed to execute. He looks closely at the laws--what does Congress say?--and he interprets those laws, rather than deferring to what federal departments and agencies believe the interpretation should be. And that’s the way it should be, that’s what our courts are supposed to do, interpret the laws as written,” said Quist.

She says Congress needs to confirm Gorsuch to the Supreme Court quickly.

“There’s not been a full court now for over a year and there’s been many cases that have not been taken by the Supreme Court. We have some very important cases coming up, including the question on jurisdiction under the Waters of the U.S. rule and we need to get someone into the Supreme Court quickly,” said Quist.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Just in


New Bill Would Help Rein in Health Insurance Costs
  
Washington—A recently introduced bill to help lower health insurance costs for small business owners has the backing of farmers and ranchers. Offered by Reps. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) and Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.), the legislation (H.R. 246) would repeal the annual fee on health insurance providers enacted as part of Affordable Care Act.

“The bill addresses one of the major concerns that farmers and ranchers have related to health insurance – cost. The health insurance tax (HIT) has increased health insurance costs for farmers, ranchers and other small businesses by imposing a levy on the net premiums of health insurance companies, which is passed on to consumers. During 2014, $8 billion of excise taxes were levied, and $11 billion were collected in 2015 and 2016 each,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a letter to House members urging them to support the bill.

While a one-year moratorium on the tax is in effect for 2017, the HIT, which increases year-over-year, will be back in 2018. “Providing one year of relief from the HIT was a welcome and critical first step, but Americans need the certainty of a full repeal,” Duvall said.

AFBF is encouraging farmers and ranchers to ask their representatives to support H.R. 246. Send an email message from the FB Advocacy site.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Snowpack above normal


 IDAHO’S WATER SUPPLY OUTLOOK ON TRACK  

BOISE – The Natural Resources Conservation Service just released the second water supply outlook report for the 2016 water year. Precipitation since the water year started on October 1, 2016, varies across the state with the majority of the watershed basins at 96 to 170% of normal.

 “In January, the Salmon River was the dividing track for the jet stream and storm systems that brought well below-normal precipitation to the north and up to twice normal January amounts south of the river,” said Ron Abramovich, Water Supply Specialist with the Idaho Natural Resources Conservation Service.  

The highest snowpack in Idaho can currently be found in the Bear River and Owyhee Basins where it is 170% of median. The lowest snowpacks are between 65 and 70% of median in the Panhandle Region basins. Elsewhere in the state, snowpacks vary with the elevation, so individuals concerned with particular areas should look at the specific data from those individual sites.  

Based on Idaho’s Surface Water Supply Index, water supply shortages are not expected.  However, due to the variable conditions across Idaho this year, water users north of the Salmon River may wish to consider streamflow forecasts with drier outcomes, while their peers south of the Salmon should consider using the wetter forecasts if the current weather patterns continue.  

“We’re nowhere near the end of the game,” Abramovich said. “However, things are looking good -- with more storms forecast for early February. Let’s just hope the low evaluation snow melts gradually.”   For information on specific basins, streams, and reservoirs, please view the full report online at February Water Supply Outlook Report.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Just in


No surprise, snowpacks above normal

Boise - The Boise Basin snowpack is more than 120 percent of normal according to the latest numbers released by the NRCS.

"It's been weeks since the last major storm but we're back in the wet track now so storms are moving in today, as we see snow falling." said Ron Abramovich, Water Supply Specialist, USDA.

But Northern Idaho’s snowpacks are below average.
"They really need snowpack in Northern Idaho where some sites are pushing record low numbers in the Panhandle at 63 percent of average," said Abramovich.

Southern Idaho snowpacks can be handled by the reservoir system. But this year, there's so much valley snow that Payette and Weiser face serious flooding.

“The snows going to melt fast in Weiser because the town sits at 2,100 feet, Boise is at 2,800 feet. So there's a lot of valley floor in that 2,100 foot elevation zone and when when it warms up it could go fast.”

NRCS scientists like Abramovich hope cold temperatures will transition into a gradual meltoff so valley rivers can handle melting snow. Weiser has more than two feet of snow with a water content of 9 inches.

Just in




One of 150 structures that have collapsed in Washington county.  Mathews Grain on Commercial  St. lost an out-building to heavy snowfall. Steve Ritter photo

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

AFBF Supports SCOTUS nomination

Confirm Judge Gorsuch, American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall Says

WASHINGTON, D.C.– The following may be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall:
“Judge Neil Gorsuch was nominated last night to the Supreme Court. If confirmed, he will assume the seat last occupied by Justice Antonin Scalia. He is a worthy successor. The American Farm Bureau Federation calls for his swift confirmation by the Senate.
“Like Scalia, Judge Gorsuch does the job he was appointed to do. He respects the law and the Constitution as written. We are encouraged by his past positions that courts should not blindly defer to regulating agencies, but should perform their constitutional role of interpreting the laws that Congress writes. That point alone is critical for many of the legal issues faced by farmers and ranchers today.  
“Gorsuch has expressed an appreciation for the environment and is a conservationist – a philosophy shared by America’s farmers and ranchers who serve as caretakers for our lands.  
“Judge Gorsuch’s qualifications are beyond question. In addition to a law degree from Harvard, he also earned a doctorate from Oxford University on a Marshall Scholarship. He clerked for two Supreme Court Justices – Byron White and Anthony Kennedy – and was confirmed by a unanimous Senate for the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
“Judge Gorsuch was confirmed for the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals without a single dissenting vote 10 years ago. Everything we know about him tells us he deserves to be confirmed by a similar margin today. Any Senator voting against a legal scholar like Gorsuch will have to produce a serious justification for a no vote. America’s farmers and ranchers will be watching closely.” 

Just in from Idaho Fish and Game


Deep snow, harsh winter prompt Fish and Game emergency feeding

Boise--This winter’s cold temperatures and deep snow at low elevations has prompted Idaho Fish and Game to implement emergency big game feeding at nearly 100 locations across southern Idaho. Winter conditions in the Panhandle, Clearwater and Salmon areas are normal and emergency feeding is not necessary there.  
Here are some details why we’re feeding, how we’re protecting public safety, and measures taken to prevent and mitigate damage to private lands from big game. 
  • Emergency feeding has several goals, including helping some animals get through winter, particularly mule deer, and keeping wildlife away from agriculture operations, highways and populated areas where they can be hazards or nuisances. Fish and Game has in several cases successfully herded large elk herds away from agricultural lands and highways into suitable winter range. 
     
  • Fish and Game is expecting to spend $625,000 to feed big game this winter. The department spent $387,000 in 2008; the last big year for winter feeding. Accounting data shows this winter will be the most spent since at least 2003 (records beyond that are difficult to obtain).
     
  • The department has closed many of its wildlife management areas to public access to protect wintering wildlife and is asking the public to avoid areas where big game animals are congregating. Our goal is to keep herds in those protected areas. 
     
  • Fish and Game is currently monitoring over 1,000 radio-collared deer and elk, including adults, calves and fawns. Game managers have real-time data on the survival of those animals, which provides valuable information about the larger populations.
     
  • Wildlife managers are most concerned about mule deer herds because southern Idaho has record accumulations of snow at low elevations and persistent cold temperatures where deer winter. Deep, crusty snow and frigid temperatures makes it difficult for deer to feed on natural forage and also taxes their limited fat reserves. 
     
  • Mule deer fawns have the most difficulty surviving winter because they’re the smallest animals in the herd and carry the least amount of fat. The primary determinate of winter survival is fawn weight coming into winter. Winter feeding has a very limited effect on fawn survival, and being the smallest, they often have difficulty competing for feed.
     
  • Even in severe winters, statewide doe survival typically exceeds 90 percent, however, some herds may have more animals succumb to winter kill. Older, post-breeding age does are the adults most likely to die during winter, but the majority of breeding does are expected to survive. 
     
  • Elk are hardier than deer and less prone to winter kill, however, we are feeding them in many locations to keep large herds away from private lands, particularly agriculture lands, and also away from highways. 
     
  • Fish and Game is working with private land owners to help mitigate and compensate for losses from wintering wildlife. In 2016, Fish and Game paid to construct about 100 enclosures to protect haystacks from big game. Those efforts appear to be paying off. The department has also distributed thousands of panels and rolls of temporary fencing to land owners to keep deer, elk and antelope out of hay stacks. 

Ranchers moving cattle

Murphy--The last vestige of winter is leaving SW Idaho behind. Ranchers are moving cattle, some to market the rest to the spring range to ...